A term often used by facilitators that refers to hosting a gathering that is intended to enable participants to explore a topic or issue together in a way that requires them to be fully present, open, and nonjudgmental to what arises in the space. This approach typically involves actively listening to the lived experiences of others while also reflecting on their own. In practical terms, holding space might look like a less rigid, more responsive agenda, and more opportunities for participants to express their thoughts and feelings or even sit quietly and reflect together on the topic. Holding space can be important for building deeper relationships and validating emotional experiences, and requires clear expectations about confidentiality and unharmful behavior to support the vulnerability that often emerges.
Citation: Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement. (2021) CSCCE Glossary: Inclusive Language in Community Building. Woodley, Pratt, Bakker, Bertipaglia, Dow, El Zein, Kuwana, Lower, Roca, and Santistevan doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5718783