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As a Regional Programme Manager I get to contribute to a number of events covering a wide variety of different topics. When you run an RSA event, you are sometimes unsure of what the feedback will be, but after the recent facilitation workshop that we run in Bristol a key piece of feedback was how hot and sweaty it had been – not a common occurrence in Bristol! Luckily, we received more than just that, as can be seen from the graphic below:

wordleThe workshop was part of a series that the RSA have delivered across the UK, working in partnership with ICA (Institute of Cultural Affairs).  The Bristol workshop took place in conjunction with Coexist, as we were hosted at their headquarters in Stokes Croft, Bristol.

We were training Fellows and others in some of the key techniques that the ICA employ in facilitating.  Over the past year, the Fellowship department of the RSA have been working with ICA to develop resources to support Fellow led ventures and ideas through the use of facilitation methodology.  The current series of workshops have been a way to extend this knowledge further into the Fellowship, so that the skills can of use more widely.

Since the training I have facilitated two sessions with our team around income generation and marketing. The first one I used the consensus method, the second a focused conversation. Both were really successful. Doing it in practice really helped to embed the learning and enable me to fully appreciate the process

The ICA trainer, Ann Lukens, who I worked with to run this workshop, has used these methods to work through conflict in the Middle East.  She led the training in two key methods – focused conversation and consensus workshops.

We worked through the heat and were refreshed by lunch and an opportunity to get to know one another more informally.  In the afternoon, Ann led the consensus workshop method through focusing on the question, “What are the key issues that face Bristol and the South West communities?”.  This created a fascinating discussion and came up with some really interesting groupings around food, generational segmentation and housing.  I hope to be able to feed some of these discussions into potential projects that could be initiated by the Fellowship in the West and South West.

— Lou Matter (@LouMatter) July 8, 2013

 The training was aimed at giving Fellows the opportunity to learn some new methods of facilitation and a chance to meet one another, therefore I was pleased to receive this feedback from one attendee “Since the training I have facilitated two sessions with our team around income generation and marketing. The first one I used the consensus method, the second a focused conversation. Both were really successful. Doing it in practice really helped to embed the learning and enable me to fully appreciate the process"

These workshops have shown how integral it is for the RSA to work in partnership with other organisations and emphasise how partnerships are a key way in which the RSA can -

  • Provide new engagement opportunities for Fellows
  • Help further the charitable objectives of our partner organisations and so in turn further the charitable objectives of the RSA
  • Raise our profile within new communities of individuals committed to positive social change, and recruit new Fellows from amongst these leaders and thinkers
  • Contribute to the growing sense that the RSA Fellowship is made up of people with the inclination and the tools to intervene when solutions are needed.

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If you are interested in learning more about the RSA’s work on facilitation or would like to explore opportunities for making use of it in your area, please contact the Regional Programme Manager for your area.


 

Lou Matter is the Programme Manager for West and South West. You can follow her @loumatter

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