Welcome to the second season of Leaving decoloniality. 

This podcast is a journey through experiences of decolonality mainly focused on the aid sector, and open to all those policy actors and practitioners looking for inspiration and company in their decolonial practice.

It was November 2023 when I started drafting this script, and I decided to begin this adventure sharing an anecdote from last spring.

I was at that time in Florence, Italy during my sabbatical spent at the European University Institute.

I was working on the first season of this podcast, which at the time I was convinced would be the only season.

And I asked for the advice of a journalist friend, Ani Hovanissian, because I know she’s implacable.

Ani, an experienced journalist, and a fine observer, read a script and asked me sharply: But why are you giving all this information about you and the background of this research?

At the end of the day, what matters is the knowledge you are sharing.

Who cares about you, your incertitude, and your fears?

Who cares if you wrote this script in a beautiful library in Italy or in a shared room in


We were waiting for the bus that would bring us home from university. And our conversation was continuously interrupted by the noise of the traffic. In that situation, I did not manage to organize a clear answer for my friend Ani. I stuttered something about the fact that I believe that the process is as relevant as the result, and that sharing about the process of my research, was to me as important as sharing my findings.

If I could go back to that day, I would tell my friend Ani, that I believe in what the feminist Donna Haraway beautifully summarized as “all knowledge is situated”. With Haraway, and many others, I am convinced that there is no such thing as a universal truth or knowledge. And I also think that what we say will depend on who we are. Finally, I believe that also the impact of what we will say will depend on who we are and who we are perceived to be. For this reason and against the advice of my friend Ani, whom I hope will forgive me, I decided to start the second season positioning myself and sharing in the words of Walter Mignolo, my locus of enunciation.

My name is Carla Vitantonio.

I am an independent researcher and a humanitarian and development worker. I’m also a perceived white, queer woman coming from a subaltern culture in the so-called North of the world. I consider myself a person living with a disability, I’m a migrant, and in this moment, I’m talking from Cuba. Where I live and work, holding an Italian passport.

From this position, I am talking, and everything I will share through this podcast is the harvest of my personal research and experience. I created and produced this podcast without any external material support, meaning nobody paid me.

But I was lucky enough to meet a few people who, each one  in their own marvelous way, gave me hope, strength, inspiration, and methods.

Claudio Radaelli has kept an open door for me, even from afar, and does not show any fear in front of my frequent methodological crisis.

Nazanin Zadeh-Cummings, has accompanied me throughout the process with her suggestions and encouragement. Moreover, she has always been convinced that this podcast would work.

Joshua Hallwright has ensured the partnership with the Centre for Humanitarian Leadership and, besides, keeps sharing with me his knowledge and advice.

Matilde Dani appeared one day and asked if I needed help. I always need help. And I too often feel lonely. It is thanks to Matilde that the resources section of this podcast has improved.

Thank you Matilde, Josh, Nazanin and Claudio, for supporting me in this time.

Before diving into the topic of the second season, let’s do a short recap of what I shared through the first season of Living decoloniality. I explored the meaning of coloniality, following the framework theorized by the Peruvian scholar Anibal Quijano, and by many after him.
According to this framework, during the colonial time , occupiers imposed not only their rules on the occupied, but their social norms and structures, their way to intend and categorize knowledge, the human being, and the world. They brought and imposed their way to see and live the world, trying, often violently, to cancel every possible alternative.
With the struggle for freedom and decolonization, most of the land was liberated, but that way of seeing the world and living into it, resisted. This is coloniality, and we witness it everyday in our private and public life.
After clarifying  my framework of reference, I brought through interviews, experiences of people mainly working in the aid sector, who were recognizing forms of coloniality in their work, and proposing practices, alternatives to change this. I called these, practices of decoloniality. 

I also said that I don’t believe in concepts that are very popular in our sector nowadays,  like replication and scaling-up, concepts that might be excellent when applied to market economy, but can’t be effective when applied to human dynamics, which are enormously diverse and very much context specific. For this reason, I suggested to apply, when listening to Living Decoloniality, extrapolation. Extrapolation is a way to proceed that was first theorized by Eugene Bardach in 2004. In his words “Extrapolating from the experience of others is like searching for interesting ideas about successful mechanisms that might be adapted” in our own context.Also for this season, therefore, I suggest that, while listening, you let the experience bring you somewhere else. 

Be inspired. 

Forget about replication. 

And if you really feel that some of the things I am sharing with you can be useful for your decolonial turn, write to me, and we will see together how to extrapolate.

And now that all the background information is shared, let’s move forward and talk about what I will try to do in this second season. Following the many comments I received (and by the way, many thanks to all those who took the time to write), I will focus on three aspects of coloniality that, according to me, are widespread in our sector.

The first is coloniality of being: how we consider human beings positioned on a fictitious hierarchy among them, and in relation to the world that surrounds them.

The second is coloniality of knowledge: the way we consider certain knowledge as valuable, or not.

The third is coloniality of gender: how one specific way to see and live gender norms and relations has been imposed over others.

While I was working on this second season, my life changed dramatically. I had spent one year on sabbatical, dedicating most of my time to study and research. In July, I went back to my life as a humanitarian professional, and I returned to Cuba, where I have other priorities, and the only time I find to study is the early morning, before starting my working day, when everything around me is silent and it seems that I am the only person awake in the whole city.

And as all knowledge is situated, this second season will also be impacted by the fact that while I work on it I am not sitting in a magnificent villa on the hills around Florence, surrounded by scholars and their books, but I am in Havana, in the place where everyday I work with people and communities that suffer the outcome of multiple forms of colonialism, and the coloniality of their own system.

I realized for example, that my sources of inspiration had changed: I was not limiting myself to examples from my own sector. On the contrary, the more I am involved into what I am doing, the more I look for inspiration outside.

So, I went back to extrapolation.

Extrapolation does not need to be limited to experiences matured in the same context, or sector. We can extrapolate from practices that take place in situations that are very different from ours, as long as those key mechanisms we are observing are the same.
For this reason, in this second season I decided to explore interesting practices of decoloniality, that could be related to the aid sector, even though they might not be developed by aid professionals.
I hope you’ll find them as enriching as I did.

Enjoy the listening.