As you may know, we do our best to build out our monthly topics based on our guest discussions each month. Last month, we were honored to have Dr. Aisha Rios join us. She shared her experiences as a practitioner and spoke about abolition within evaluation. This was an excellent foundation for the next three months as we’ll be joined by the team from BECOME to sink ourselves into culturally responsive evaluation –and more importantly ask ourselves — what does it mean to be a culturally responsive evaluator in this time of sociopolitical upheaval and collective trauma? This month, the BECOME team will generously provide us with an overview of how they approach the practice and an introduction into culture.
Reflecting on this month’s focus brought me to this broad reflection question: What does culture mean to you within the context of your work?
To me (Deven), culture is another layer within a system that contributes to how I make sense of the work around me and really, how I engage with it. But as I think of it outside of myself, culture is really my call for being self-aware. We must understand that through cultural norms and traditions, comes different ways of being and knowing — many of which I might not be able to understand but I am still able to appreciate and respect. Culture, as I think of it, supersedes our concepts of statistical significance and even conversations about reliability and validity. It’s the contextual factor that pushes us to think outside of our boxes and be more human. Though we often like to think of it as a choice, culture is influencing our work and really, every area of our lives whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. By becoming more aware of it, we can intentionally engage with it.
I hope you’ll reflect with us on this question and then join us for the podcast later in the month where we will talk with Dr. Dominica McBride, founder and CEO of BECOME, about culture and practice. We would LOVE to hear your thoughts. Leave them here on the blog or tweet at us!