Your Own Owl Parliament
Before the first folding session
Find 2-4 people to join you in the local Parliament of Owls.
Each one agrees to be available to other people in the organization to take their counts.
Each shares his/her count with the other members.
The convener should find an easy way to track counts, by individual (which should be anonymous, but with enough detail that you’ll be able to report, for instance, how many people reporting experienced between 10 and 20 incidents of sexual harassment in their lifetimes)
You’re ready to start folding owls.
The first folding session
Gather your Owl Parliament.
Invite others to attend, just to see what it’s about and fold an owl or two.
Buy some stick-on eyes and origami paper for the owls and the beaks. Practice folding. (See More Information below for links for folding instructions and materials.)
You’ll likely find, as we did, that some of those gathered to fold will, quite naturally, tell some of their stories. That’s wonderful, but not required. Others will find that folding in groups or on one’s own supports reflection.
Some people may be uncomfortable, initially, with folding owls. Invite them to participate by adding eyes or beaks to the owls others have folded. This is also a great way for young children to participate.
At any point, if you have questions or run into challenges, contact email@example.com for support or advice. If you like, we’ll do our best to find someone who can visit with you for the first or second folding session to share our experiences and help you get started.
Congratulations! Please be in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org We can share guidance on collecting counts, recruiting more folders, and creating an installation to display all the owls you’ve folded.
Over the next 10 months to two years, we hope to inspire more organizations to do their own Origami Owls against Sexual Harassment project, with each staying in touch with us and each other.
Then we plan to find a larger space to exhibit the thousands of owls all together, visceral testimony to the presence of sexual harassment.
About these instructions
At St. Mark’s, we found these elements helpful:
- Each person reporting defines “sexual harassment” for herself or himself. (A few people asked before reporting. All who asked seemed to get comfortable quickly with this response.)
- Although people are welcome to tell their story as they provide a count, it’s optional, and we didn’t request or suggest it.
- Folding in public helped recruit new participants and spread the energy.
- Men are welcome to report their counts as well. Four men did, at St. Mark’s.
Modify this approach to fit your situation.