Fumble Forward is a framework for approaching the most awkward and challenging moment of a delicate, charged, tense, or harmful conversation. That most difficult moment is brought forward as a springboard for healing and understanding. When misunderstanding, emotionality, and resentment begin to fester, and most people crave avoidance, Fumble Forward aims to redirect mounting negativity into breakthrough moments through intellectual humility and the building of mutuality.
Fumble Forward is shared in an interactive workshop that is an expression of theory in action: Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory, participatory research, Intersectionality, diplomacy, and applied ethics offered in shared practice and communal exchange. Moving beyond theoretical exchange, Associate Professor Donna Mejia facilitates conversations to launch honest pluralism off the printed page for participants. Her 35+ years of anti-bias and anti-racism efforts as an international artist, scholar, and performer provide the foundation for an informed and broad vantage point. With humor and candor, Donna provides accessible information on centering intellectual humility, deconstructing ethnocentric assumptions, formulating effective questions, and curating cultures of repair for those inevitable moments when missteps occur.
Mejia is a contributor to the best-selling pedagogy anthology and communication series curated by James Lang and edited by Jessamyn Neuhaus for University of West Virginia Press, Picture a Professor: Interrupting Biases about Faculty and Increasing Student Learning(to read more about Fumble Forward, please see Donna Mejia's writing, chapter 13 of this important book, about bias in educational and learning spaces). Fumble Forward has been featured on NPR, several podcasts, and in over 50 local and international organizational presentations within the last year.
Participants in Fumble Forward workshops are warmly invited to bring their voices, lived experiences, and questions to a space for brave conversation. Fumble Forward aims for participants to leave with significant and specific diplomacy and communication skills for the hardest parts of communication. In all sincerity, we also aim for participants to be refreshed to the singular and unique perspectives each of us brings to problem-solving and social innovation. Our world is relentlessly complicated, and a toolkit for encountering the unknown or unfamiliar isn't a bad thing to have.
In Spring 2022, we received a grant from the CU Boulder Office of Outreach and Engagement to customize and adapt the Fumble Forward framework to several community partners including Colorado K-12 educators and students, Denver 7 Television (ABC affiliate) employees, the National 2022 Conference of Victim Assistance Workers, The Denver Art Museum, and international participants in the Dalai Lama Fellows Program. Thanks for this generous grant and ongoing support from the Crown Institute, Fumble Forward will be provided at no-cost to organizations until June 2023.