Training and new toys

Last week I went on a Technologies of Participation (ToP) training course in Manchester with theInstitute of Cultural Affairs. I have been on quite a bit of facilitation training over the years, but I do love to be able to get new ideas and meet new people, and being a participant for a change is always quite refreshing!

The course trainer was really engaging and had lots of interesting ideas and anecdotes. He took us through the Art of Focused Conversation and the Consensus Method and we got lots of opportunities to practise them both. The only downside I suppose is that there were only 4 participants, which was a shame, but didn’t make it difficult to learn the techniques. In fact it was in a way a good way to think about how to deal with small groups. I often find dealing with very small groups much harder than dealing with very big ones as the energy can get really low if you don’t have the right mix of people.

I already have ideas on how I am going to integrate both the methods we learnt into some up coming workshops and am quite excited about doing so! For me the trick to adding new methods to my repertoire is to try to use them as quickly as possible after learning them, otherwise I find I like the techniques but they never come to life and don’t get used. It’s always easy to fall back on tried and tested methods, which of course are so important. But I really like the challenge of integrating the new stuff into my plans even when it doesn’t come as naturally at first.

Of course, part of the fun of facilitation (aside from learning the actual methods), is getting new equipment. I now have a Stickywall which I am very keen to start using. I have used these before but never actually got round to buying one myself. But when faced with the opportunity to get one, I decided it would be rude not to. So, I am now the proud owner of a 3metre purple (I do love purple!) Stickywall which is awaiting its first spraymount coat. I’ll be using it in a couple of weeks so will let you know how I get on.

Interesting links

As I peruse the interweb for all the exciting things that I can find I always come across interesting websites, resources, ideas, thoughts, comments……..and I do like to share what I find. So here are some of the links that I like:

Since facilitation is often a little hard to understand straight away, I am always looking for places where it is well explained. These two links are both I think quite good explanations.


Welcome to the bloggy bit, home to my musings, and ramblings and links to other interesting things I come across. I love my work and the opportunities it gives me to bump into some amazing people doing some incredible things.  And I love sharing, it’s what makes the world such an interesting place, so watch this space!


It’s such a funny word, but you can be quite creative with it. I often think that when I hear a word, and play around with it a bit it helps develop my own understanding of what it is. I quite like the idea of facilitation being made up of building blocks, each one coloured and attractive and together making an impression. They can be moved around and used to make a whole lot of different things. The letters eventually need to be in the right order to make the word, but the process of moving them around and seeing the different structures we can make, develops and generates new ideas. Which is sort of what facilitation should be!