We are a Vienna based collective. We can also come to other places, and we also work with online formats. In our core-team we are trans, inter, queer and female people. For projects, we work with mixed and diverse teams.
For us, awareness means attentiveness and consciousness with regard to dealing with each other and avoiding discrimination, assault, and (sexualized) violence. This includes awareness in dealing with social power relations and our own position in them.
Discrimination and violence are not detached individual cases, but take place in a structural, social context. Awareness is an approach that emerged out of the feminist and queer movement in 2007. The debates and practices of the second women’s movement of the 1970s were an important starting point. In addition, the approaches and practices of the Transformative Justice and Community Accountability movements from the USA have influenced awareness work in German-speaking countries.
Awareness focuses on the well-being of the person affected by discriminatory, abusive, or transgressive behavior. This is accompanied by standing in solidarity on site of the affected person, if the affected person wants it, in order not to leave the affected person alone with the consequences of discrimination and (sexualized) violence. The approach is intersectional and takes into account the possibility of multiple forms of being affected. Support also includes the creation of protective spaces so that those affected do not have to withdraw from spaces/structures, but rather regain the ability to act and further threats and unwanted encounters can be excluded. Awareness work also has a preventive effect and is offered in some communities together with reflective and transformative work that includes working with those who are discriminating or acting violent – in the sense of community accountability. Awareness work offers different approaches and possibilities and requires profound knowledge and experience, well-founded practice, and accordingly trained teams. In any case, awareness work is guided by principles such as consensus and the needs of the persons seeking support and establishes solidarity-based action on their behalf.
Violence encompasses many forms in a wide range. In our work, we are committed to combating violence and, together with those affected, we create possibilities for action and strategies to act against violence. It is important to understand the levels of violence involved. These act differently in individual and interpersonal contexts, in institutional and state forms, and in structural and discriminatory forms. More on this can be found in the brochure Giving Support. Action Strategies in Dealing with Violence and Discrimination (see links on page https://awa-stern.info/grundsatz/) to read!
The goal of our work is to make what we offer not to be needed anymore. We work for a society in which an attentive solidary contact between all people becomes practice. In which people have the tools and space to make decisions and deal with conflicts in a mindful and non-violent way. We think that a way to achieve this is possible through empowerment and emancipatory work.