Hosting Conversations about Questions that Matter
the link to Open Space on Civic Action is not active/available. I woudl be very interested in it. Any way of receiving or viewing it? Thanks!
Well, no less than two weeks or so after posting this, my daily schedule dramatically changed and took away pretty much all of what little free time I had to work on this project. My hope that I will, by this summer, have at least one local town engaging in a World Cafe has greatly diminished.
Despite this setback, there is some hope on the near horizon. A local town, which also seemed to be the most fruitful area to pitch a Cafe, has stirred up some energy between the local Unitarian church and some members of a Transition Town initiative that has begun to form in this county. Recently they held a "re-skilling" workshop at the church and the turn out was great- both young and old, straight-laced and dread-locked people attended. For a first time, it was a complete success. This group is planning another event similar to this one, with series of workshops and presentations, and not only did one of the organizers comment to me that a World Cafe would have been perfect at the end of the last one, but that they'd like to end the next event with one! Also, it very likely that I will be allowed to give a presentation which will be focused on some of these transformational group processes such as the World Cafe, Dynamic Facilitation, Citizen's Consensus Councils!
I will keep updated posts coming as new events present themselves.
Hi, Jarett. I highly recommend you download Everyday Democracy's guidebook "Organizing Community-Wide Dialogue for Action and Change." It's a comprehensive guide to help people develop a community-wide study circle program from start to finish -- and I think MANY of the tips and tools in this 157-page document are relevant and useful for your work, even though the guide focuses on a different form of dialogue. The tools in this doc could end up saving you A LOT of time, and helping you think through what's involved in running a community-wide program.
Just as an example, here are some of the sample docs in the guide that you can modify for your own needs:
1. Invitation to Coalition-Building Meeting
2. Agenda for Coalition-Building Meeting (Annotated)
3. Sign-up Sheet for Sponsors/Coalition Members
4. Press Release
5. Public Service Announcement
6. Media Advisory
8. Talking Points on Education – Student Achievement
9. Participant Questionnaire
10. Report on Program Implementation
11. Report on Program Outcomes
12. Form for Participant Registration
13. Agenda for Action Forum (Annotated)
14. Invitation to Potential Facilitators
15. Form for Facilitator Registration
The doc can be downloaded at http://www.everyday-democracy.org/en/Resource.39.aspx (though you have to register on the EvDem site).
Also, feel free to be in touch down the road if NCDD can be of assistance by helping locate facilitators in the area, or helping publicize your work to the broader dialogue & deliberation community. Good luck with this great project!
Director, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD.org)
Jarrett - keep this fire burning! I took a personal initiative too. I deliberately started small with leaders of 5 ecological organizations whom I personally knew and they suggested 3 others whom I did not know but also invited.
I visited each personally with my Idea which was to begin a process for collaboration among these disparate (and sometimes antagonistic) groups. I did so out of my growing sense of urgency about our times. When I was sure I had the agreement of the majority of them to attend some thing I would host, I carefully crafted the Invitation. iIt included the request that they arrive having pondered the following Question: What do you think is the most important Question of our times for our local community when it comes to sustainability/relilience? I assured them that this was an informal, exploratory conversation.
I used practices of Circle and Appreciative Inquiry. The process was highly based on asking powerful questions and remaining positive.In one and a half hours, this small group of non-profit and voluntary sector leaders got a demonstration of these practices, went deepeer than they may have ever gone in talking to each other before and agreed that they wanted this 'exploration' to continue with more leaders. I'm in the process of designing the next session. It will likely begin with a World Cafe (again, an opportunity to demonstrate/experience that process) using the Important Questions generated at the 1st session.
Hope this helps you in some way. Good luck!