New Rhizome mediation guides

A little late for Christmas, here’s a gift from us to you. We’ve been busy over December and early January working with Stig – our designer of choice – on a range of  guides to all aspects of mediation. The first few are on our Resources page already. More to follow in the next week.

We hope they provide useful additional support to the mediation training that we offer. As always your comments and feedback would be very much appreciated. Contact us, or better still leave a comment on the blog

In the range are:

  • What is mediation
  • The Stages of Mediation
  • The Principles of Mediation
  • A State of Mind for Mediation
  • Active Listening in Mediation
  • Mediation Competencies
  • Mediation Reading List

We’ll also be overhauling our facilitation materials and adding a new Guide to Consensus Decision-Making. If there are other resources you’d find useful and that you think we can provide, tell us so.



Chris Corrigan’s life’s learning…

We’ve mentioned and linked to Chris Corrigan from time to time on this blog. He’s just uploaded a page he’s entitled A collection of Life’s Lessons with over 80 links:

For a while thought, I have kept a set of writings apart from this blog, titled “A Collection of Life’s Lessons.”  I’ve just spent the morning updating that list, and if you’d like to read the book that I’ll never write, go on over to that page and start reading about everything I’ve learned in 43 years, and all the best stuff I have documented in 10 years of blogging.

Sections include:

  • Lessons about working with groups
  • Lessons about working in organisations
  • Lessons about working in communities
  • Lessons about learning
  • Lessons from indigenous North America and beyond
  • Lessons about life, the universe and everything

Let us know what you find in the collection – where it takes you, what you learn, how it changes your practice. We’ll try to do the same.

Facilitating occupation

In another recent post Chris Corrigan (see our previous post) has also collated a few links to support Occupy protests in facilitation.

Plan to Win have done the same in their #Occupy 101 post, with some specific tools for general assemblies of the kind being used at Occupy Wall Street.

The resources include a fantastic 8 minute video about consensus at Occupy Wall Street, which gives a passionate introduction to the process. I’m sure it’s not all perfect there (where is it?) but it’s a great reminder of the energy and joy that consensus can bring to a movement. I’ve embedded it below. Watch it!. 8 minutes well spent. But that’s not an excuse for not visiting Plan to Win’s site. The other resources are well worth checking out.

In the spirit of signposting resources, here are more links taken from our resources page (many more where these came from). All of these sites have invaluable materials on them on topics like facilitation, but also nonviolent action and strategy:

And of course there’s our own materials.

History of nonviolent action

Thanks to Plan to Win for bringing together three essential tools for anyone involved or interested in nonviolent action in one place.

They include the very recent Global Nonviolent Action Database which pulls together case studies of nonviolent action from around the world and from different historical periods in enough detail that we can learn useful lessons for our own campaigns and struggles:

UK Case studies

It can seem hard to find decent case studies (which is why the database is so welcome). For UK activists even recent history gets forgotten. If you fancy a meander through recent UK activist history here’s some possibilities:

Spokescouncils – blockades and briefings

I’ll be at the Stop New Nuclear blockade of Hinkley, site of the first proposed new nuclear power station, this weekend. My main role is as part of the facilitation team facilitating spokescouncil meetings at the camp and on the action itself.

graphic: anticopyright

For the uninitiated a spokescouncil is a method of making decisions by consensus within a large groups made up of separate, but co-operating, affinity groups. It allows groups to retain their autonomy whilst working together towards effective decisions. The basic mechanism is that each group speaks through a spoke, a single person empowered by their affinity group to take on that role. Sometimes the rest of the group are present behind their spoke. Sometimes just the spokes meet. Sometimes spokes huddle and consult their groups mid-meeting. Sometimes they’re mandated to decide on behalf of their group.

In preparation for the blockade I jotted down a few notes to support affinity groups in using the spokescouncil method most effectively. This will go to all groups taking part. There’s so much that could be said, but in 2 sides of A5 your options are limited. Anyway, I’ve taken out Hinkley specific stuff and put the short guide up on our resources page. I hope it’s useful for anyone organising an action camp and contemplating using spokescouncils. As always, if you can improve on it, please do, and send us your revised versions so we can upload those.

Facilitation – moments of clarity

Thanks once again to Dwight Towers for the lead to Chris Corrigan’s Facilitation Resources (which he in turn got from Johnnie Moore). A long and detailed list of approaches, specific tools and more. I haven’t found time to dig around in it just yet, but suspect I’ll be mining it for goodies for a while to come.

Dwight also flagged up Chris’s post The art of giving instructions: 7 practices for facilitators which is well worth a read, and on which I feel there’s more to be said if time allows….

Strategy resources – useful tools and techniques

As promised at the start of our strategy conversation, here are some links for further reading and tools and techniques:

Readers of our blog may be familiar with story based strategy as told by smartMeme, particularly their Re:Imagining Change publication. They also have downloadable worksheets for the various  strategy steps, also on their resources page.

smartMeme also recommend Beyond The Choir’s Tactic Star as a tool for ensuring that tactics are well thought out

Turning The Tide’s training manual which includes the common strategy tools:

Training for Change have a host of innovative approaches including two we’ve specifically mentioned in recent posts:

The Change Agency also have a useful website. There are many overlaps with Turning The Tide and Training for Change, but some useful additions too, such as:

  • Cutting the issue – a tool to help groups decide where, on a massive issue, they can make a real difference

We need to mention Chris Rose’s Campaign Strategy website (and e-newsletter). In a recent newsletter Chris outlines 8 basic questions activists can ask to help them plan and act more strategically

Zhaba facilitators’ collective have a range of tools on their website including a variation of F analysis, Royen’s Mill, and a tool for creating a communication-based campaign

New Tactics InterTactica blog by Phillipe Duhamel, whilst focused on nonviolent struggle, has quite a few posts on the strategy of the nonviolent struggle

Mindtools also have a whole host of free resources on their site – many of which are commonly used in strategic planning. You may want to start in the project management and problem solving pages

Want to read more? Try our follow up post with more resources