Building Bridges from the AMED/IAF Facilitation Workshop on 23 March 2012

Here's a glimpse - thanks to Richard Chapman - of who was there on Friday.  Great contributions from everyone.  And let's not forget absent friends.  This first post-workshop bridge is a link between the AMED and IAF Europe websites, which you'll find here.  What bridges are you dreaming of?

Just to provide a foundation, here's a copy of the 'programme' that framed our conversations.


Let's use this space to keep our conversations going, and post any other images you might have.  What thoughts do you have for building or re-building bridges through facilitation?  This space is open to anyone.  You can start your own topic or thread. 

Next year in Marienbad?

Best wishes.  Bob and Rosemary

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I find myself day dreaming about being an accompanist, as Vicky described in her session. What's the minimum we can do, to help?  

I've blogged briefly about it here:

Penny, I also found the concept quite powerful. There is something about an active, aware and empathic presence that can be very powerful. The idea of 'bearing witness' and listening is part of this and may be especially significant in difficult situations.

Also I took away  the idea of facilitators creating 'clean spaces' - brings to mind options for creating 'third spaces' or 'transformative spaces' in the midst of conflict. 

Many thanks all for a great day and I look forward to future conversations, rich and inspiring! 

Hello Everyone! Here's an email I just sent to Bob, and he suggested I share here. I'm suggesting a tweak to the programme format for a future occasion. It was such a rich and stimulating day – and yet, I was reflecting on how it might have met even more needs for me, increasing and enriching my own learning and practice. – Elizabeth

Dear Bob,

Thanks to you and Rosemary for such a stimulating day last Friday. 

I was reflecting on the schedule for the day afterwards, and had an idea I'd like to share with you for future things. In the morning, I really loved the half-hour slots, and the precision and room for interaction that it gave. And the brief overview of various approaches I found affirming and encouraging in my own work and practice.

In the afternoon, I was less stimulated by the format, perhaps because it was 'more of the same', and I like variety.  But mainly, I think, I would have enjoyed more actual new learning - new things to pop into my own took-kit and reflect on, and use with groups myself. Your session was a real treat in this respect, because it opened up a new way to do things. And I'd have loved longer at it.  I think that Jeremy's session might also have opened up new learning in this direction, but his bare half hour didn't really give him or us time to feel into the core of what he was doing, so that I'd feel able to go away and make it mine and use it.  The last session may have provided ideas for someone not used to working with cards and images, of course – it just so happened it is very familiar to me.

So on reflection, what would be perfect for me at least, would have to have a way of learning more skills I could actually take away and use.

For example, perhaps 6 offerings from different facilitators who would be each introducing a particular facilitation process. With the large group then splitting into 3 groups, we'd have had time to choose two different sessions, and to learn two different, new approaches or ideas to offer to groups. If each person did a two minute intro, we could all choose something new we'd like to learn.

This sharing of skills – with so many in the room – is something I regretted not having had more of on the day. I'd like my own learning to increase more by contact with so many skilled folk around me.

I wonder how this lands with you? I'd be curious to hear, if you have time and inclination. And please feel free to share this email with others, if you think this idea worth considering.

I very much enjoyed meeting you, and again, thank you for a lovely day - in a great venue (something no-one mentioned, surprisingly!)

Warm wishes,


Thank you for persevering, Elizabeth

Well - there's a challenge for us.  Good to think and do something about it.  What do others thinK

Best wishes.  Bob

One of the questions that has been sitting with me is - how do we expand the  use and knowledge of facilitation so that it becomes a 'required life skill', so to speak, in all kinds of settings. Schools, hospitals, the corporate world, for example. Sometimes it seems that facilitators are mostly speaking to ourselves, even though we can see the tremendous value facilitation knowledge and skills can bring to so many settings.

I am fascinated, for example, that a good part of the Occupy work seems to be about showing people how they can facilitate meetings back in their home communities - even though much of the media focus was on the encampments. I have this feeling we are at a tipping point - that facilitation is like an underground river that has been shaping and creating change 'under the radar' for several decades and now is beginning to rise up 'above the radar'.

I hope that as these changes become more and more visible, people who aren't familiar with facilitation will begin to ask 'how do you do that' and want to learn for themselves. I think we can enhance this effect by reaching out more widely to share examples of what facilitative skills can do in everyday life. One idea that was raised at the workshop was using this format for a 'facilitation sampler' - a kind of 'roadshow' that we could take to event planners' meetings, corporate gatherings, etc.

Another idea I've been reflecting on is finding a way to share great examples of how facilitation has improved health care and education, as two key examples - through a website, possibly, or You Tube. A webinar that used a TED Talks format highlighting successful examples of facilitated change in a particular area of  life - a variant of our Friday format, perhaps - is something we could share widely with people in those areas of endeavour who may not know much about facilitation. It seems to me that there are some very rich possibilities here, both for expanding public knowledge of facilitation and creating work for facilitators as a consequence.

I'd be delighted to hear from others on this.

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