From the point of view of the Walk Together Design, the key to collaboration is the principle of Two Way. In other words, meaningful collaboration is unlikely unless participants share their cultural perspectives without judgement. As somebody once said, “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.” Two Way does not happen if one of the participants in a collaboration is convinced of the superiority of his or her own culture, and isn’t interested in the values, beliefs and ways of knowing and doing of the other.
The value of Learning by Doing in a community led action program is that there is no expectation that people will come up with answers: if they did, those answers would be framed within the assumptions of one or other of the cultures in the interaction. This Design seeks to explore new ways, and develop an intercultural response – how do we agree on something that is useful and meaningful to culturally different participants in relation to a particular issue? This is the principle of Two Way.
A way to think about this is using the idea of “three worlds”. One world is the Indigenous world, and another is the western orientated non-Indigenous world. For people to talk to each other two way, they need to go together to a third “between” world, which is neither Indigenous nor western, but where both cultures are equally valid and accepted.
Walking in “a between world” means to step outside our own world when it’s needed, and but go back to what we know when we have finished.