We currently have eight co-operative members based in various locations across the UK. Between us (plus a little train travel) we cover the length and breadth of this island, from south west England to north east Scotland. We are experienced facilitators, trainers, and mediators, and are skilled in organisational development and working with conflict, with almost 200 years experience in this work between us.
We work with a variety of approaches including Community Development, community organising, civic mediation, Training for Change’s Direct Education, Freirian experiential and participative learning, Popular Education, Reflect Action, the Work that Reconnects, and World Work/Process Work. We also use a range of methods and tools including Appreciative Enquiry, consensus, Crowd Wise, Open Space, Theatre of the Oppressed, World Café, and more.
We have designed, facilitated and trained in a wide-range of subjects and contexts, between us working in the campaigning, Community Development, health and social care and peacebuilding sectors, and on issues as diverse as disarmament, economics, the environment, safeguarding and social justice.
Here are a few words about each of us that may touch on some of our ‘added value’:
Abdul is a mediator and facilitator with over nine years experience in facilitating complex multi-party, multi-issue dialogue processes within and between local authorities, the third sector and communities. He has worked across England and more recently in Scotland using civic mediation processes to build understanding and relationships across communities where racial and cultural tensions are evident. He has experience of international conflicts, working with survivors of the Tsunami Disaster in Sri Lanka, and with marginalised Roma communities in Slovenia. Abdul is a qualified trainer in civic mediation and peace-building methodologies.
Adam is a trainer and facilitator, with over 25 years of experience in grassroots campaigning and group-work, as well as in the statutory, voluntary and community sectors. He’s an experienced Community Development worker and since 2012 has been learning Process Work to better work with conflict and facilitate large groups. He has often worked with marginalised and threatened communities, and continues to be involved in co-ops, action groups and campaigns. Adam’s excited by work with a starting point of social justice and a people-focused value‑base.
Adam enjoys using a variety of participative methodologies including World Work, direct education and Reflect Action. He’s supported people to ‘be in it for the long-haul’, as a qualified mentor and through steering sustainable activism projects such as Sustaining Resistance.
“I’m passionate about learning and love cross-fertilising approaches and methods. I look forwards to the next time I can co-facilitate 600 people under pressure in a marquee, making consensual decisions despite not knowing each other.”
Emily is a psychotherapist and facilitator with a passion for diversity, conflict and eco-psychology. She is a Diploma-holder in Process Work – a radical method for working creatively and sustainably with change in which problems and disturbances, when approached with curiosity and awareness, become the seeds of solutions and new growth. Emily has worked as a counsellor and diversity trainer specialising in sexual and gender minority issues. She’s also involved with the Transition Towns movement and is co-creator of the Footpaths carbon reduction project.
“My personal eco-mission is to support environmental activists to get more effective at what they do and to promote the understanding of environmental issues as systemic issues involving community, conflict and the psyche. I’m excited to be part of Rhizome where I’m looking forward to exchanging ideas and experience with a diverse group of top-notch facilitators.”
Gill is an experienced facilitator, trainer and manager who has worked in the co-operative, voluntary and public sectors. Having always been interested in growing organisational capability and sustainability, Gill has developed a broad range of skills that improve governance and effectiveness, encourage diversity, and develop consensus. She aims to build confidence and resilience, and challenge self-limiting attitudes and behaviour through individual and team coaching, training, facilitation and conflict resolution.
“I joined Rhizome to collaborate and develop my skills in a co-op of diverse and talented people who have the vision, skills and commitment to work together with a broad range of activists and organisations. I like work that effectively supports radical change to achieve social justice and makes it possible for people to enjoy working well together.”
Kat is a facilitator and trainer with a background in campaigning, community organising and advocacy. She has been working in the not-for-profit sector since 2004 and is passionate about supporting people to take action for social change. She worked on disarmament issues for several years, undertaking numerous different roles ranging from organising and participating in high level meetings with decision-makers to supporting grassroots activists in their campaigning against new nuclear weapons. She believes in people and in the power of collective organising and is committed to creating meaningful change through dialogue, action, creativity and perseverance! Kat is as comfortable working with large NGOs as she is with small grassroots groups and has helped numerous organisations and individuals to enhance their impact, work together more effectively, develop their values and practice, and do some of the deeper more personal work that makes working in groups both successful and enjoyable.
“For several years now, I’ve admired Rhizome’s work from afar and so was thrilled to be joining such an experienced and committed team of facilitators. It’s the first time I’ve been part of a workers’ co-op so I’m enjoying rolling my sleeves up and getting stuck into this important work.”
Maria has been working in voluntary and community settings since 1992. Having spent some time being a full time students’ union and then trade union activist, she became involved in demos around Reclaim the Streets and anti-globalisation actions such as the G8. Meanwhile she developed a career in information, advice, training and policy work.
She has done much of her work in community settings, in activist groups, and with local community centres. The issues she faced everyday around involvement, empowerment and voice, as well as the difficulties of enabling people to get involved in activities led her to complete an MA in Political Activism and New Social Movements. Experiences abroad and working in communities here in the UK have led her to adopt reflect-action approaches to working in groups.
“As I have become better known in the sector, I have been asked to become more and more ‘mainstream’ in my approach. Rhizome gives me an opportunity to use my skills in a way that is more meaningful in terms of social change.”
Matthew is an activist-trainer and facilitator who has worked within the social and environmental movement for over 20 years. In that time he’s co-founded a number of co-operatives including Seeds for Change Oxford, and worked a capacity builder, both paid and voluntary, with Greenpeace and People & Planet. As a consultant he’s helped several large NGO’s better connect with their grassroots. Somewhere along the way he became passionate about consensus. Matthew’s worked on many of the major grassroots campaigns that have taken place here in the UK over that time.
“I’ve seen community groups, co-ops and campaigning NGOs reinvent the wheel more times than I care to remember. Rhizome is one way of making that process obsolete, or at least a little quicker, so that groups and organisations can concentrate on the change they seek to make.
For me, Rhizome is an attempt to bring it all together – a high quality resource to support the passionate people out there making change, right livelihood for the Rhizome facilitators, and enough time left over to get down to the allotment”
Perry is a facilitator, but also a designer of participatory processes, many intended to minimise the need for facilitation. Two are for deliberation: Democs/Decide conversation kits and Open Up argument maps. The one that has brought him into contact with Rhizome is Crowd Wise, an approach to consensus decision-making that combines deliberation with a form of voting called consensus voting. Until 2011, Perry was head of the Democracy and Participation programme at nef (the new economics foundation). He is now a Fellow of nef. He is a founder of Talk Shop.
“My fellow coop members possess a great deal of wisdom. I often feel that while I might be adding a spoonful, I’m receiving a bucketful.”