When thinking about risk assessment at the level of movement organising, it means expanding the scope of consideration to also include shared spaces, processes, resources or activities that are helmed collectively – formally or informally.

Movements are larger than an organisation, and made up of relationships of shared political commitment and action between different actors. Movement actors can be comprised of individuals, organisations, collectives, community members or groups, and bring different knowledge, skills, contexts and priorities into a movement. How movement actors organise themselves, figure out roles and areas of responsibilities and come to agreements are important dimensions of movement organising, where risk assessment can also play a part in surfacing potential points of stress.

Risk assessment from a movement perspective

It's often easier to identify movements from hindsight, as they grow organically through time and in response to concerns of specific contexts and moments. Sometimes, we think of movements as protests, since that is often the site where many movements are visible and grow. But not all movements end (or begin) in protest. For example, many LGBTIQ++ movements in places where visibility carries a high cost organise and take action in less visible ways, such as creating closed community spaces online, where individuals can convene, converse, provide support and strategise for different kinds of interventions.

A movement is made up of many different moments or stages, such as community outreach, building evidence, deepening understanding, consensus building, taking action, holding space for collective care, distribution of resources and so on.

Each of these moments or stages can be specific times in which collective risk assessment can be undertaken by those who are holding space or process. It might be useful to think about movement security as having the conditions in which the many stages or components of movement work can take place and thrive.

Layers of risk

One way to begin the process of risk assessment from the perspective of movements is to unpack the different layers that need consideration. There are three components that interplay with each other.

1. Relationships and protocols
2. Spaces and infrastructure
3. Data and information

The next sections describe what each layer is about, and some of the components within them, including questions for discussion that can help to unpack, analyse and understand the risks, towards coming up with a plan.

Continue to this material's next page (Layers of Risk (1) & (2))