Interviewer: Marcela Torres Molano
Language of interview: Spanish
Country of practice: Colombia and Italy
Profession: Political scientist, and Colombian Truth Commission facilitator
Jorge Jiménez is a political scientist and caseworker of the Colombian Truth Commission (for the Italian node). He has worked as a restorative justice facilitator in Colombia and Italy, focusing on the collection of testimonies of survivors, the recognition of exile, and the development of peace building exercises through pedagogical approaches to listening, and artistic mechanisms. During our interview, Jiménez provides several examples of spaces used for restorative work in rural, urban and digital environments, including public school classrooms, NGO spaces in deprived areas, and private and public spaces in traditional Italian plazas.
Among other topics, Jiménez describes an ideal space for restorative practises. He focuses on the importance of flexibility of the spatial configuration that allows intimate relations with survivors, open communication between participants, and avoidance of vertical relations. According to Jiménez, it is vital to consider what physical sensations are provided by the space, as well as to acknowledge that participants might not be able to get intimate, even if the space allows it. Moreover, it is essential to ensure privacy and safety, to avoid exposure of survivors to anyone outside of the restorative process, and any type of physical interruption during the encounters.
Further, he shares a metaphorical idea of restorative spaces represented as an uterus; dark, cosy rooms, ideal for fostering trust. He explains the importance of having a break room apart from the main activity room, for people who might need a pause from the ongoing process. Jiménez focuses on the importance of the metaphorical idea of seating in front of the fire, as a central element that creates a trust network, and allows people to connect with each other and stay present. According to Jiménez, people tend to be disconnected in formal and institutional spaces. For this reason, designing for comfort and enabling a controlled set of conditions, such as temperature and lighting, are important to make participants feel comfortable at all times.