What is Our-Resource?
Our-Resource is a comprehensive online space for us to exchange ideas around resourcing and sustaining feminist movements. Our-Resource hosts a range of material around the theme of ‘Autonomous Resourcing’.
What is Autonomous Resourcing?
‘Autonomous Resourcing’ is one of the transformative ways in which movements are mobilizing financial, human, and material resources. This is an organizing tool that many feminist communities use that directly supports our work.
For generations of feminist movements, activists have been collecting and using resources from our immediate environments: ourselves, our communities, our allies. That’s why we see Autonomous Resourcing as a long-established form of sustaining our movements, and not just an ‘emerging trend’.
This resourcing may complement funding from institutions, income generation efforts, or other forms of financing, but autonomous resources are distinct in three important ways, which act as guiding principles:
- there are no external expectations or requirements;
- freedom to self-determine and organize; and the action is in itself movement-building; and,
- ideally sustains long-term relationships.
Different feminist collectives and communities around the world have generated a wealth of ideas and experience around this practice over the years.
Can you give me an example?
Different forms of activities and fundraising, in all forms and shapes, can be considered Autonomous Resourcing – from public events like fundraising parties and alternative pageantry or a feminist fashion show, membership fees from networks or giving circles made up of individual donors that build transformative long-term connections, online fundraisers mobilizing the power of our networks in the digital space, building feminist cooperatives and businesses to both disrupt markets and generate revenues, etc.
Communities and movements across different geographies and political contexts have come up with a host of unique, innovative, vibrant ideas and methods to organize resources for ourselves.
Is Autonomous Resourcing another kind of funding/fundraising activity?
All around the world, activists are often concerned about where to get resources to fund their work. We see resourcing as meaning much more than fundraising and funding. Space, knowledge, experience, information, trust and networks all are our valuable resources, and sharing them is our way of showing up for each other.
We hold physical spaces together to provide safe space for our communities to find shelter mentally and physically. We build non-physical spaces of solidarity through collectives such as mutual aid groups, networks and self-help groups. We exchange knowledge about our realities with allies. We offer our passions, talents, skills and services in areas such as creative arts to the movements we’re a part of. We reach out for help and offer help across borders and movements through mutual aid built on trust and solidarity. All these actions are part of Autonomous Resourcing.
How do I know if what I’m doing is Autonomous Resourcing?
If you are trying to build resources for your work using the principles and methods elaborated on above, you are an Autonomous Resourcing practitioner! Often, Autonomous Resourcing is used in conjunction with other means of fundraising and movement building, so it may be a part of your overall strategy and approach.
Autonomy is one of the central guiding principles of Autonomous Resourcing – so each collective has the freedom to independently arrive at their own set of considerations, philosophy and methodology, based on their context, constraints and opportunities.
What are some of the debates within Autonomous Resourcing?
That’s a great question! Within the burgeoning Autonomous Resourcing community of practice, we’ve had open and transparent discussions about all aspects of the process. For example, some activists have pointed out the challenges of putting in labour and time to create infrastructure and mobilize the necessary resources to sustain our movements. We must be transparent around privilege and different levels of access and power within our movements and communities.
Given that feminist movements are still significantly under-resourced and access to funding remains a serious challenge, many groups and collectives have turned to autonomous resourcing as a way not just to resource their work, but also as a statement of their political independence. While the scale may not be the same as institutional funding, Autonomous Resourcing practitioners are concerned not just about amounts, but about the transformative effects of resources and resource mobilization for the community.
Despite an increase in the interest of institutional donors to fund feminist movements, we would like to emphasize that Autonomous Resourcing is a practice by and for feminist movements; and it should not be used as a conditionality for groups to receive funding.
Who made this site?
This site was made by a group of activists working with feminist collectives and communities around the world, with support from AWID, a global feminist movement-support organization.
Who has contributed to this site?
Our-Resource has many different contributors from across the globe – feminists, writers, activists, researchers, educators, organizers from the US to India to The Tonga to New Zealand. You can meet them here.
(Note: Each article follows the English Language convention of the region it originated from.)
Why this site?
This site was conceptualised with feminist activists, as our ‘virtual home’ for all-things-autonomous-resourcing: it exists to frame, name, claim, and amplify these feminist alternatives around resourcing, so that we continue learning from each other.
How can I best use it?
This site has a set of stories and practices detailing the organizing happening in AR around the world – you could read and watch through them, and reach out to these activists if they happen to be in/near the area you’re based in.
You could add your own individual/movement/community’s work to the map that we’re building.
You could join our mailing list to receive updates from us about work in the field of AR!