Resisting Calling-Out Culture: “Leaning in” with respect and dignity by Vikki Reynolds

In this presentation, Vikki discusses strategies from activist movements to resist calling-out culture, where we cut off, exile and attack fellow workers, and instead find ways to offer critique which is different from attack. Structuring safety and creating cultures of critique requires that we create relationships of respect and dignity as a frame for our solidarity. We then acknowledge the ethics of the other and “Lean In” to offer a critique that brings us all more in line with our collective ethics for justice-doing in community work. The heart ache, betrayals and hardship caused by attack of other workers in our movements is the stuff that drives workers from the work, and activists from movements. In building solidarity and respectful practices of collective care, that embrace critique, we can hold each other accountable to our collective desire for a more just society. We know from multiple activist teachings that we need to enact the very ethics in practice with each other that we hope to bring to the people that we serve.



Vikki Reynolds PhD RCC is an activist/therapist who works to bridge the worlds of social justice activism with community work & therapy. Vikki is a white settler of Irish, Newfoundland and English folks, and a heterosexual woman with cisgender privilege. Her experience includes supervision and therapy with peers and other workers responding to the opioid epidemic/poisonings, refugees and survivors of torture, sexualized violence counsellors, mental health and substance misuse counsellors, housing and shelter workers, activists and working alongside gender and sexually diverse communities. Vikki is an Adjunct Professor and has written and presented internationally on the subjects of ‘Witnessing Resistance’ to oppression/trauma, ally work, justice-doing, a supervision of solidarity, ethics, and innovative group work. Vikki’s articles and keynotes are available free on her website: 

Further reading:

Reynolds, V. (2013). “Leaning in” as imperfect allies in community work. Narrative and Conflict: Explorations in theory and practice, 1(1), 53-75.

Reynolds, V. (2010). Fluid and Imperfect Ally Positioning: Some Gifts of Queer TheoryContext. October 2010, Association for Family and Systemic Therapy, UK, 13-17

Reynolds, V. (2011). The role of allies in anti-violence work. Ending Violence Association of BC Newsletter. (2) 1-4

Reynolds (2014) Centering ethics in therapeutic supervision: Fostering cultures of critique and structuring safetyThe International Journal of Narrative Therapy and Community Work. No. 1, 1-13.

Published on 27 April 2018. 
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