a serene forest with dappled sunlight.

Multiple-eyed Seeing Intercultural Collaboration (MeSIC) framework

This framework is the result of a Participatory Action Research (PAR) undertaken by the NCPR during 2023. Two focus groups explored different models, theories and experiences to design, from a multiple-eyed seeing approach,  the framework that will guide the research and knowledge mobilization across a 3-Prong Approach Psychedelic-assisted Therapy Learning System (3P-PaT LS) that considers research, education and service delivery. One group focused on the design of a ‘Relational and Ancestral Leadership’ model able to hold the adequate structure for intercultural collaboration in research and knowledge sharing.  The other group worked on ‘Research and Ethics’, and designed an Indigenous centered research methodological framework to support in the stewardship of intercultural collaboration between Indigenous partners and other cultures in the 3P-PaT LS research activities. 

Relational Leadership Model

The relational leadership framework that the NCPR adopts for intercultural research was developed through focus-groups where participants shared their recommendations. During 6 meetings, we focused the discussion on the qualities that the NCPR leadership model must have in order to sustain multiple cultural paradigms in collaborative research. Also, the meetings were focused on identifying areas of participation and stewardship for intercultural relations, decision making principles, stakeholders engagement, leadership roles and other processes required to sustain a framework in the academic environment.

Figure 1. Relational Leadership Model

Figure 2. Roles, competencies and principles

Relational Leadership roles and competencies

Leadership Roles

Wisdom Council: Formed in relation with local Original Peoples. The council will be formed by Elders and knowledge keepers from the host nation and other nations, and those partners who collaborate closely with the 3P-PaT LS. Also, there will be a member of each Institution supporting the 3P-PaT LS (VIU and RTT). The council, through meetings, will be in charge of providing guidance in the direction of intercultural partnerships and activities across the 3P-PaT LS: . Will provide advice when creating plans or solving challenges. The council will also observe the ethical behavior of the organization in their relation with other stakeholders, Indigenous communities and with the land.  Some members of the council will also provide advice on Indigenous methodologies and frameworks that can be useful to better manage intercultural collaboration across the 3P-PaT LS.

Inner Circle will be formed by

  • Memory Holder: This role is the one in charge of the designing systems, developing processes and maintaining them accessible and available to pass on to future generations of leaders

  • Collaboration enabler: This role will be in charge of leading the research collaborations that the NCPR will carry out. This position will be the bridge to the Listeners Community, enabling all the aspects required to open ‘Third Spaces for Intercultural collaboration’

  • Reciprocity Steward: this role will be in charge of the design, development and management of the reciprocity program for collaborations at the NCPR

  • Integrity Keeper: Ensures that the core values and principles of the project are upheld in all activities and decisions, maintaining transparency and honesty in the project's operations

Listeners community

All of these roles are ‘Third Space’ holders, each one is in charge of a specific aspect. These individuals could be interns, volunteers, or individuals interested in understanding the NCPR intercultural collaboration methodologies and participating in Psychedelic Research and interested in the NCPR reciprocity program. 

  • Learner: an individual who actively participates in the research and inquiry process doing it from a humility, learning standpoint

  • Seer: Oversees the project's spiritual and ancestral aspects. Collaborates with the community spiritual leaders who authentically represent their culture

  • Includer: Will actively seek to provide a safe and inclusive environment that includes and involves others, ensuring that everyone feels valued, respected, and a part of the group or activity

  • Cultural Steward: committed to preserving, maintaining, and promoting the ceremonies of the culture at the center of the research. This role often involves safeguarding cultural traditions, practices, knowledge, and values

  • Storyteller: listening to what happens during the research process and as a result of it, the storyteller will record, translate and share the knowledge ceremony stories and the research findings

  • Custodian: Oversees that all the policies, contracts, agreements, and protocols required by the host nation and host research group are followed

  • Messenger: listens and communicates, opens communication channels, promotes non-violent communication, in general, oversees that the communication is balanced and flows smoothly

Reciprocity Program

The concept of reciprocity is tied closely to the project's leadership model, with an emphasis on shared responsibilities and mutual support. The program builds around mutual exchange, collaboration, and shared benefit. This can involve every member of the team contributing their skills, knowledge, or resources, and in return, receiving something of equal value. This could be knowledge, experience, credit, or other tangible or intangible benefits. 

The group acknowledges the need to respect and honor each participant's time, investment, and energy. This respect for reciprocity extends to not only financial compensation but also acknowledging the challenges that the participants might be facing in their personal and professional lives. The aim would be to create a balance, where no one's contribution is taken for granted and everyone's work is recognized and rewarded in some way.

The program is currently in its early stages, with team members volunteering their time and expertise. As funding and interest in the project grow, the team expects to provide more structured support to participants. The reciprocity program is seen as a necessary element to ensure fairness, especially when larger amounts of money or resources are involved. The team is considering different ways to implement this, such as through assigned roles or through mutual agreements with external research teams. 


Wisdom Council

  • Nominate a Wisdom Council.

  •  Establish regular meetings for the Wisdom Council to ensure ongoing direction, vision, and advice for the project

  • Develop a clear communication plan to facilitate meaningful interactions between Wisdom Council members and the project team

  • The memory holder must document the insights and recommendations provided by the Wisdom Council to ensure transparency and continuity in decision-making

Inner Circle

  • Nominate who will cover the roles and contact them to explain

  • Define clear responsibilities and expectations for each role within the Inner Circle

  • Encourage cross-functional collaboration and open communication among Inner Circle members

Memory Holder

  • Refine and finalize the descriptions of each role, including their responsibilities, expectations, and potential benefits. Use literature to support proposals

  • Develop training programs to equip individuals in each role with the necessary skills, knowledge, and cultural understanding

  • Co-create, together with other members of inner circle an onboarding process for new participants in order to provide them with tools to understand what we do at the NCPR

Reciprocity Steward

  • Establish a comprehensive plan for the Reciprocity Program that outlines the types of contributions expected from team members and the benefits they will receive

  • Regularly review and update the Reciprocity Program to ensure its alignment with the evolving needs of the team and project

  • Explore opportunities to collaborate with external partners and research teams to expand the scope of the Reciprocity Program

  • Explore opportunities to secure funding for the project to support the expansion and sustainability of the roles and the Reciprocity Program

Collaborations enabler

  • Collaborate with Indigenous Elders on council to ensure accurate and respectful representation of cultural practices

  • Develop guidelines and protocols for safeguarding and sharing cultural knowledge in a way that respects cultural sensitivity

  • Document the cultural stewardship efforts and their impact on the project's cultural preservation goals

  • Create channels for open and transparent communication within the project team, Wisdom Council, and Listeners Community

  • Establish a process for addressing conflicts or misunderstandings in a constructive manner

  • Engage with the Listeners Community and external partners to foster collaboration, knowledge exchange, and meaningful participation

Listeners Community

  • Develop a structured onboarding process for individuals taking on roles within the Listeners Community

  • Create a training program to form listeners

  • Offer ongoing training and learning opportunities to enhance the skills and contributions of Listeners Community participants

Reciprocity Program

  • Clearly define the expectations and benefits of participating in the Reciprocity Program for all team members

  • Create specific programs to start working

  • Develop a system for tracking and acknowledging contributions made through the Reciprocity Program, whether they are tangible or intangible


The team focused on developing and implementing a unique leadership framework grounded on the principles of relationality, guardianship, and cultural safety. The framework intends to foster a learning environment where the leader's role shifts according to the demands of each project, thereby ensuring a more inclusive and dynamic leadership structure. The new model has been positively received due to its congruence with the Seed Group needs and its clear delineation of decision-making responsibilities. The leadership framework emphasizes the importance of patience, respect for cultural nuances, and matching the pace of the communities the team collaborates with. 

The project's discussions highlighted the importance of cultural sensitivity, ethical practices, and inclusive leadership in research collaborations. The Relational and Ancestral Leadership model aims to provide a framework that respects diverse knowledge systems, prioritizes relationships, and fosters collaboration. The identified roles and principles can guide researchers, facilitators, and organizations toward more respectful and harmonious intercultural collaborations in the academic environment.


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