equitable and accessible value exchanges

My work centres indigenous Afrikan knowledge and practices. Along my research, unlearning and relearning path I have encountered systems of life that assign value differently, and begun to rethink the economic system within which we live – capitalism, money, notions of wealth, etc. I now question the lopsided way in which we value and don’t value people, things, interactions, our bodies, Earth, ancestral spirits, etc. in the Western paradigm many of us have grown up in and/or live in. In indigenous Afrikan lifeways, relationships and personhood are highly valued, and the source of what makes one human, as opposed to the size of one’s bank account or car.

As a decolonising practice and a practice of regenerative living I disrupt Western paradigm value ascriptions by making an effort to make my work as widely accessible as possible. I also include consideration of the ways in which wealth can be redistributed to repair harm and enable all to thrive.

For dance classes, facilitation services, writing and other offerings, for example, I offer a sliding scale system of value exchange, payment plans where appropriate, pay what you decide (PWYD) sessions, barters, and free website/blog posts (like this one). These various financial accessibility methods take into account varying socio-economic rank that we have, and which enable or disable us to participate.

WHY A SLIDING SCALE/FINANCIAL ACCESSIBILITY PATHWAYS/METHODS?

  • I believe that the work I offer to the world [link] is not a luxury but a necessity. It is medicine to rehumanise and reconnect that which the Western paradigm world we live in has separated. It is a medicine that all people deserve access to.
  • In order to do this healing work in the world, I too deserve to thrive in the present. This enables me to to resource the preparation for my offerings, to show up to the work without resource anxiety in my fullness in a sustainable way, and to support my communities too. Creating from a space of abundance and not scarcity is healing for us all. I too am in “the muddy ground we stand in while we stargaze
  • I want to disrupt our practices around what we value and what we don’t, and how we choose to invest our resources – our time, attention, practice, conversation, energy, bodies, and yes, money. This is an invitation to engage and rethink
  • Part of my activist practice is to rebuild community, and this means rebuilding other kinds of relationships based on trust and honesty. I offer a sliding scale and trust that you will self assess in an honest way and ground your decision in your broader resources rather than either scarcity, or a generosity that could cause you hardship. Being honest with yourself and your financial situation when engaging with sliding scale practices grows strong and sustainable communities.
  • Money is a tricky thing to discuss beyond our social conditioning to get more of it. I want to play with our discomfort with discussing money, and disrupt the power that money as a relationship overlords over other kinds of relationships
  • Throughout my training and life, I have benefitted from sliding scale costs, scholarships, work-trades, and concessionary rates for classes, workshops, conferences and other things that I could not afford at full price. Offering various ways of ensuring economic accessibility is one of the ways I am paying it forward, and comes from a place of knowing what it is to not live with high economic rank, yet deeply valuing the truly valuable things in life
  • Finally, aiming for economic accessibility is a practice of economic justice for me, and a practice of regenerative life that I invite you into

Here’s How It Works

Sliding Scale: A sliding scale offers a range of price points to allow differently resourced people to participate. On my sliding scale, close to top prices represent my calculation of what is a reciprocal value exchange for my offerings, and what I need to be sustainable and free from resource anxiety in order to show up fully to this work and my communities. Lower costs represent a contribution from a low-income individual who would like to participate but for whom higher costs represent a sacrifice or a hardship* [for a discussion of hardship vs sacrifice see this post]. Higher costs represent a contribution from a comfortable-income individual, and one which supports our community and my being able to offer lower costs through redistributing wealth.

*I know that my lower cost contributions are still out of reach for some individuals and if this is true for you, do contact me to work out an alternative. For some of my offerings there are limited built in 30% and 60% spots available.

Finally, where you are on this sliding scale can shift from low to high and vice versa at different points depending on your circumstances at any given moment, and that is alright.

Payment Plans: Instalment payment plan arrangements for programmes that span a period of time, e.g. dance series, are available to enable spread out payments that merge with your life and budget. For the upcoming African Goddesses Dance Series in Westlands for example, a 4-part payment plan is available.

Barter: CAVEAT: The sliding scale still relies on money as a unit. While we live in a system in which money is a form of powerful resource, I am interested in creating and re-imagining alternative relationships [see this article on barter for example] outside of or beyond those created by money. Where they make sense, barter exchanges, in-kind contributions, and other value exchanges are possible. Contact me if you would like to engage through these ways.

Pay What You Decide: Finally, I offer some of my offerings through Pay What You Decide (PWYD) arrangements such as my regular PWYD dance workshops in various locations. These encourage you to rethink what has value and decide how much value participating in one of my offerings has for you, as well as how much value you are able to put back into the community at that particular time.

In engaging with this value exchange system honestly you are participating in re-imagining the ways we can all be in community together for regenerated life.

For more resources on sliding scales and accessible financial methods see the following blogposts: corpusritual.com, rwalves.com, embracingequity.org, wortsandcunning.com, ridefreefearlessmoney.com