Forum mechanics

March 6, 2010 at 1:17 pm 1 comment

I think that I could have done with a short training course to understand how this event is meant to be working. It is called a forum, not a conference so that was a first clue. Now that I’m here I think that I can see that most of the personnel of the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF) is here and sees this as a necessary step in working out their future directions. Thus this is not a question of just a meeting of themed talks. ALF wants to learn from this event.

Thus each day starts with a plenary which ends with audience questions. The next stage is the workshops held under 5 themes, Education and Youth, Cultural Productions, Peace and Co-existence, Cities and Migration, Religion and Spirituality. Key questions for all of these workshops have been prepared and the speakers are chosen to help us to think about these questions. The final stage are parallel sessions, one strand describing projects, most of them funded by ALF, and the other concentrating on best practices.

Slotted in among these main parts of the forum is an intercultural fair which is more or less a poster session for the ALF projects and some cultural activities, videos, photo exhibitions and so on. Is this an efficient way of collating feedback? Each session is documented so there will be a mass of paperwork to follow up on after the event.

Those with an interest in large group dynamics may suggest that more interaction is needed but I witnessed yesterday that simply the suggestion that the audience should discuss a topic in small groups caused a large percentage of the audience to get up and walk out!  This was the session on social media and its role in promoting intercultural dialogue so getting the audience to talk to each other was entirely justified and contributed immediately to a blog post on the blog specially created for the forum.

So while many would advocate a more participative approach, it would seem that the participants are not ready for this.

Anne Fox

http://www.absolutely-intercultural.com http://eduspaces.net/annef/weblog

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Inter-cultural dialogue VS Our reality A Dialogue-breaker

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Stephen Spillane  |  March 6, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Excellent post Anne! You are so right. I suppose no one knew what to expect from this forum/conference but as it was NGO organised and having done ALF training I envisioned more participation!

    I was surprised people walked out as this event is about Dialogue, and yet here was people walking out on that opportunity.

    I immensely enjoyed that workshop and met some really cool people through the small groups we split into! Lets try and change this mindset in future!

    Reply

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