In Articles, Mixed-Media

by Sapphire Woods

When Sarena, Trish and I met together, we identified our goal as wanting to share between ourselves what access or help we could offer one another based on the resources and connections we were already affiliated with. This co-sharing strategy we named as cross-pollination. Cross-pollination paints the picture of a bee moving from plant to plant or seeds blowing in the wind, sowing themselves in fertile soil. This idea of cross-pollinating resources, information, and platform elevates and centres the work and needs of those who are marginalized from various intersections. Cross-pollination between Sarena, Trish and myself very much aimed to bridge institutional, economic, and informational access across socio-economic gaps. In order to  cross-pollinate, we identified key questions to strategize and equitably distribute our skill and access-share.


These questions are a starting point in transparency, clarity, and consent for all parties sitting down at the table. What is often seen under learned colonizer-capitalist behaviours is that one party has a need, and another party is baited into providing services and knowledge without receiving adequate or useful access or services in return. Often, the more marginalized parties do not even know what to ask for in return for their services. To remedy falling into this violent pattern, cross-pollination requires all parties to place their intersections, their resources, skills, and knowledge, and access on the table to figure out if the trade will enrich all parties in appropriate ways.

This practice is reflected below with a brief snapshot of where Sarena, Trish, and my access could possibly intersect, and if any of our skills could be shared in order to provide equitable access to an other.

This limited snapshot captures the very broad strokes and spans of our sills, our community involvement, and the intersecting communities we engage with. It is evident that our interests, passion, and activity is steeped in our passion to educate, share stories, and elevate the voices and concerns of our community members.

While all this is all well-intentioned, it is critical that we do not stop at asking ourselves the suggestions around who benefits, and is the benefit sustainable to those it effects?

Further, are the benefits giving long-term access to our communities? Will the benefits of our cross-pollination move outside of academic institutions and pass knowledge and resources to our communities in ways that are accessible and useful to our communities outside of academic institutions? Will our cross-pollination create not only a platform for our community’s voices, but create long-standing autonomous streamlines into jobs and positions of power compensation, and influence? Cross-pollination is critical and equitable engagement with our individual communities and the communities we aim to collaborate with.

From our simple conversation, it is easy to see that resource sharing is easy, but cross-pollination requires constant evaluation around privilege and sustainable access. As folks hire, network, hire, facilitate, and educate one another, it is imperative to ask whether we are simply continuing in the legacy of colonizing and capitalizing on information, knowledge, and resources under the neo-liberal guise of “inclusion” and “diversity”. Cross-pollination offers a way to critically analyze how individuals, groups, and organizations can equitably and sustainably share, grow, and value resources and knowledge.

– Sapphire Woods

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Read part 2

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  • John Hannah

    Well said Sapphire. I agree – “…imperative to ask…” and also to know that the answers are not easy – they require conversation.

    Thanks for a great piece.Reference

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