Community Power Mapping

The following workshop outline was developed originally for a workshop presented at Shed X 2018, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has been later adapted for audiences in Detroit and Toronto. Feel free to share and adapt, while maintaining credit where credit is due ❤


Created and facilitated by Darian Razdar ( /

Part 1 (20 minutes) : Opening

  1. Introduction to the workshop & the space
  2. Land acknowledgement
  3. Why are we here? : addressing personal and community stake
  4. Group agreements & access needs

Part 2 (2 hours) : Mapping in Small Groups

    1. Cognitive mapping: draw on your collective knowledge to create a map of an area with which your group members are familiar
    2. Choose a social issue, cause, or struggle (real or imagined) that is relevant to the area you mapped — answer who, what, when, why, and how of the issue/cause/struggle
    3. Locate the following types of spaces on your map
      1. Assets
        1. Something/somewhere that has value for your community and co-conspirators
      2. Hegemonic places
        1. Hegemony = dominance of one group over others. Where is power concentrated? Where are resources hoarded?
      3. Insurgent places
        1. Insurgence = act of rising in revolt. Where are the hotbeds of social struggle? What spaces are often used by social movements & community organizers? What places are itching to be transformed
      4. Breathe. Look at your map. You did *that*. You did THAT. Amazing! Take a sec to be proud of how much we already know about the world around us & how much we know together.
    4. Strategize!
      1. Targets: Identify symbolic places (among the 3 types of places from earlier) to disrupt, resist, rebel, protest, demand, expose, commune, gather, heal, party, and organize.
      2. Tactics: Choose a couple targets. What tactics do these targets call for? Think at the intersection of what the space means, its formal qualities, and the cause you’re working toward.
    5. Share

Part 3 (20 minutes) : Wrapping Up

  1. Debrief:
    1. Are any of the tactics you heard doable today? If so, WOW! Let’s do it. If not, what more information is needed, what more organizing must be done?
    2. What will you take away from this workshop?

In September 2020, I remounted the workshop digitally with Bricks & Glitter, specifically focused on defunding police in Toronto. The resulting map can be viewed here.

By Darian Razdar

Writer, researcher, and artist with an activist bent.

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