Last week I was back working with Friends of the Earth, helping them take forward the vast quantities of ideas that came out of their recent staff away days. 10 staff members spent 4 hours painstakingly sifting through a mound of flipchart paper and video footage to distill the collective wisdom of the staff into […]
I’ve just received the evaluations from a ‘strategy day’ I facilitated for the staff and management committee of Labour Behind the Label back in mid February. LBL is a small but impressive campaign for the rights of workers in the garment industry around the world. They’re the UK platform of the international Clean Clothes Campaign. […]
Facilitating for full participation can be tricky. Usually we’re using techniques that break large groups down to allow quieter voices and less confident people be heard. It’s a generally accepted rule of thumb that to achieve full participation in large groups we avoid full group sessions. Smaller group sizes lend themselves to creating safer spaces […]
The problem seemed to be that as facilitators we’d taken on all of the explicit facilitation roles ourselves. Potentially we’d disempowered others, leaving them feeling “I’ll never be able to facilitate like that, so why bother trying”.
For any facilitator committed to participation, it’s a real challenge. I didn’t enjoy the interaction at the time but it’s proved very thought-provoking.
We ran our first co-facilitated Rhizome workshop last week for (mostly) Bike It workers at Sustrans. The venue was friendly and by the docks in Bristol – the International YHA. The food was wholesome and veggie/vegan. Lots of natural light, access to AV equipment, if you need it; and there are flat walls you can […]
For us the key message is that people need to be involved in their own learning. As facilitators we need to bite the bullet and accept that it takes more time, but participation gets better results….
We facilitators can be as guilty as anyone of stereotyping people as ‘difficult’. We write them off and try to either ignore them or marginalise them so they cause as little disruption as possible. But if we take the time to think about what’s going on then we can see that the problem often lies with us, or with the group as a whole.