It was very interesting to learn and understand the Methods of Participatory Design Lab, the Open Space, and the World Café methods. Those processes involved working together in small groups and discussing on how to set up and run each participant’s project, contributing to each other, and learning new things. The whole experience made me realise how important it is to come together and work as a team.
The course was beyond inspiring and the bonds that were made amongst participants will create networks of support and grow many collaborative projects. We were being taught methods of participatory design. I have already used it to strengthen a funding application. The methods went beyond problem solving to create heart felt tangible outcomes where every voice had a place. I enjoyed looking at new theories, because as a busy CEO allocating the time to do this type of work is not always possible, so for me it was a treat. I was able to employ my active listening skills to find out more about the roles of others within the group, as well as share about myself and my work. I began to see a new role emerging of mentoring others in the sector, which for some reason is sadly missing.
My initial interpretation of the course title was solely focused on the practical. I signed up thinking that I would be given access to a step-by-step approach to host, which I could easily apply to future workshops, the course offered so much more than just that.
Each day the 20+ members convened to undertake a range of activities under the guidance of our Greek facilitator Dr. Markos Perrakis, supported by the UK lead, Michael Hamilton. Each day the rooms were be filled with passion and wisdom and for the most part, there was an absence of explicit ego and hierarchy. The days were filled with exploration of ideas, sharing, challenging, phrasing, and rephrasing. Of exploring and experimenting, of disagreeing without disappearing.
We are delighted to have designed and secured support for an exciting new programme at this crucial time when many or our communities are facing some of their biggest challenges. We are looking for either experienced or emerging BME leaders from across the UK who want to embark on a journey of capability and capacity building through creative and collaborative learning opportunities.
I have attended previous trainings with another organisation, but I felt this one impacted my life professionally and personally. I met change makers that are doing great things for their communities and this empowered me to do more. It was powerful to be in a place where everyone is doing their best to tackle different issues that we encounter in this world. That gives so much energy and fuel and increases the fire within me to keep working with young people and communities.
The course revealed how hosting is a fluid process that we all participate in, whether that is individually or within a group setting. As human beings we each play hosts to our own thoughts and feelings, as social beings we are also hosts to the different relationships we are part of – what kind of host do you want to be? This is an important question to ask not only with regards to facilitating community engagement but also with regards to cultivating a relationship with self.
I recently went to Athens to participate in Appreciative learning training programme. I met some amazing people, who are involved in some incredible work. As a recent graduate, I feel like this training has helped me to gain clarity about what I would like to do in the future and has given me the confidence and skills to develop my own project.
What helped the process even more was being around leaders who shared my experience of challenges and barriers, despite working on projects that were completely different to mine. Although our interest and specialisms differed, we shared the willingness to find solutions and talk though them, in addition to being opened enough to tease out these challenges among a group of strangers, who each provided a different perspective and insight gathered through some of the Methods of Participatory Design, some of which include, The Circle Way, Appreciative Inquiry and Open Space Technology.
I felt truly honoured to engage in the process with you all as well as getting to know some of you more as well as meeting new fellows. Big up Markos for your skilled leadership of the work and Chrisoula for your sensitive facilitation.