From the Archive: a 2001 online Focused Conversation on ICA:UK values

ICA:UK AGM, December 2000 at Wick Court Centre

This piece ‘From the Archive’ is reprinted from ICA:UK Network News #15, November 2001 (p18). Around 30 ICA:UK members participated in this early application of the ToP Focused Conversation method to the emerging practice of online facilitation.

The conversation took place asynchronously over several weeks in November 2001. Also reprinted below are the questions used and a summary of responses. Members attending the annual Network Gathering in Ludlow in December 2001 drew on these responses to articulate a values statement that was approved by the ICA:UK Board in January 2002. That statement has stood the test of time, and remains current today – see About ICA:UK.

The new 2020 ICA:UK Online Focused Conversation Series offers a series of taster sessions led by different ToP facilitation trainers, examining and exploring different topics and also demonstrating the application of the ToP Focused Conversation Method online. See my own May session Taking your event online: what could possibly go wrong?, and register now for my June session How engaging can your online session be?

ICA’s Focused Conversation method began life as the Artform Method of the Ecumenical Institute in the 1960s. Historical documents are now available in the Facilitation Methods Collection of the ICA Social Research Center, newly unveiled this week by the ICA USA Global Archives project.

See also the importance of values in facilitation – #IAFpodcast FS7.


On-line conversation: ICA:UK values

Duncan Holmes in Toronto & Martin Gilbraith in Manchester

As a member of ICA:UK, you are being invited to participate in an online participatory process to discuss the values ICA:UK needs to hold as it moves into the future. This discussion has been initiated by the Board of ICA:UK. We will be using the ToP-on-line tools developed by ICA Canada. This will be an opportunity to explore these tools as well as discuss an important topic. We hope the on-line tools will promote discussion between members during times when we are not meeting face to face.

Duncan Holmes of ICA Associates Inc. in Canada is facilitating the online process. ICA Associates Inc. has a suite of tools to use. The process we will be using this time, asks you to go to the ToP-on-line web site and answer the questions that are there. You can go to the site as often as you want. You can add answers any time you want – either because you have thought of new ideas or you want to respond to something that has been said by another person.

Context for the Discussion

ICA:UK was incorporated last year. As ICA:UK becomes an employer and prepares itself for further growth and development, there has been a concern expressed on a number of occasions that we articulate what values we hold as ICA:UK, in order that these may guide our growth and development and so we may be careful to stay true to them.

In deciding to become an employer, the Board expressed a concern that new employees recruited from beyond the membership be expected to share and adhere to ICA:UK’s values. At the recent ToP programme strategic planning event, ToP Associates identified an ‘ethic of participation’ as distinguishing ICA:UK from other proponents of participatory methods, but felt that this was poorly understood or appreciated within ICA:UK, and especially among clients & partners. On both occasions it was felt that ICA:UK has values that are distinctive and important, and that it is time to articulate them for our own benefit, and for that of ICA:UK and its development.

The rational aim of this discussion is to elicit perspectives of ICA:UK network members on what values they discern and appreciate in ICA and its work; ultimately, to articulate a values statement to guide ICA:UK’s organizational & programme development, and against which to be held accountable. In participating in this conversation you may find yourself considering your relationship to ICA and to each other at a deeper level than programme or even policy. We hope to plumb the depths of what ICA means to members and what it stands for.


What values do we hold as ICA:UK?

Summary of responses, November 23rd 2001

1. What first attracted you to become involved with ICA or to become re-involved if your interest lapsed?

Most members were first attracted to ICA by the opportunity to volunteer overseas in a grassroots community development project. Others were attracted by the participatory facilitation skills or referred by someone they knew well. Members stayed involved because of the emphasis on Civil Society, Participatory Values and the global mission and spirit dimension of ICA. The quality of the training, the opportunity to stay connected with like minded people, and the opportunity to learn about life are also contributing factors to members continued involvement.

2. What have been some most meaningful events or experiences for you, in your involvement with ICA?

The most meaningful events and experiences have been Volunteer Training events and the international volunteer experience; visiting other ICAs and attending global ICA events that broadened one’s understanding of ICA; taking facilitation courses and being able to immediately use the tools; being part of an ICA training team; being welcomed at other ICA UK network events and being involved in a network/team of people who are making a difference in many different ways. Members also appreciated events that have grounded their understanding of ICA and its role.

3. When have you felt ICA addressing something of great importance to you? Describe it briefly.

Members felt ICA was addressing something of real importance during programmes that challenged their life direction or reminded them that they individually and collectively could make a difference; during ICA training and facilitated events where people realize the value of their own wisdom and potential; and when talking about real life issues and the ICA approach to those issues.

4. When have you discerned a fundamental characteristic of ICA that distinguishes it from other organizations or networks that you have known?

The fundamental characteristic of ICA that distinguishes it from other organizations or networks are: the consistent focus on Process and Participation; ICA’s focus on the personal responsibility and the development of the individual; and the belief that each individual has a valid contribution to make. There is a movemental feel to the organization. The values and beliefs are aligned in every aspect of the organization. The spirit dimension and understanding allows the organization to focus on asking the right questions and not just on having the right answers

5. When have you felt a fundamental tension or mismatch between you & ICA?

A fundamental tension or mismatch was felt between the members & ICA around ICA’s language, the cost of the VFC; and when we spend time on policies and procedures. There is also a tension when we consider working in areas that appear to be in conflict with our values and when I feel out of alignment with the values I know ICA holds. As a new person on the journey of development, a member experienced tension.

6. What is there fundamental about ICA that it is important not to lose?

As ICA UK goes forward it is important not to lose the fundamentals of: Value based methods and approaches that provide people with effective ways of working together; individual and personal responsibility within the larger collective whole; recognition of the uniqueness of each individual; maintaining a global & historic perspective as a context for our actions at the local and international level; the valuing of individual and organizational honesty and trust;the engagement of the spirit dimension in life; and the sense of belonging to a team.

7. What are other key words or phrases that describe the uniqueness of ICA:UK and you would like to see included in a statement of values?

Other key words and phrases to describe the uniqueness of ICA:UK are: Participation Concerned with the human factor in development Local and international network Addressing the spirit of people Learning, sharing, questioning A commitment to tackling injustice and inequality in a way that values and welcomes diversity The individual and collective responsibility, within the group and in life.


See also about me, how I work, who I work with and recommendations & case studies, and please contact me about how we might work together. Please do not delay before contacting me – the earlier I hear from you, the more chance that I will be able to help and the more helpful I may be able to be.

Register now on Eventbrite also for my regularly scheduled ToP facilitation training courses in London and Brussels, and now also online.

News from the IAF Europe team, April 2009

Martin facilitating our team discussions in Manchester, November 2008This piece ‘from the archive’ was first published in the IAF Europe newsletter, April 2009. An archive of 43 monthly issues from 2010-2013 may now be found online at IAFThe photo by editor Rosemary Cairns shows me facilitating the first meeting of the new IAF Europe team in Manchester in November 2008. For details of the IAF Europe MENA region and its 18 chapters today, see IAF EMENA.


At the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) Europe 2008 conference in Groningen in October, Rosemary Cairns, Gary Purser and I were appointed to form a new leadership team for the IAF Europe region. Soon after the conference the three of us met in Manchester, in November, to plan our work for 2009.

We published profiles of the three of us in the IAF newsletter in November, and a brief report of that planning meeting in the December issue. We felt that now would be a good time to report to you in some more depth on the plans we made then and how they are progressing, and to share an overview of the financial position of the region.

The following is drawn from a more comprehensive 5‐page report drafted for the IAF global Board meeting to be held prior to the IAF North America conference in Vancouver this month. The full report can be found with this article on our online Forum at www. iaf‐europe. eu, under ‘News from the European team’.

Do please share any queries or feedback, either on the Forum or directly with any of us – and do please let us know if you are interested to get involved in this work, whether at the regional level or locally in your area. There is much to do, and we rely largely on volunteers from among the membership to do it. We are grateful to all those of you who have contributed, and are contributing, to the life of the Association.

Communications & publicity

This is Rosemary’s area of responsibility. In this area, we planned to establish a monthly IAF newsletter and an active IAF Europe website, make use of social networking sites and other collaborative e‐technologies to promote IAF and enable networking among members and other facilitators, and encourage and enable the use of more languages within the IAF region.

This is the 6th issue of the new newsletter. The new regional website is live at www. iaf‐europe. eu, and includes a Forum with a ‘language café’ and events notice board, back issues of the newsletter to download, and links to & from other IAF sites. Rosemary has posted messages and links on various Facebook and YouTube pages, and uses Google Docs to distribute the newsletter.

Professional development

This is Gary’s area of responsibility, and includes the annual conference and Certified Professional Facilitator (CPF) programme. In this area, we planned to ensure an annual IAF European conference to deliver satisfaction to members and income to the region, to make 12 conference scholarships available in 2009, and to support and promote two CPF assessment events in the region.

Oxford was selected as the location for the 2009 conference from among three contenders, a local conference team has been established, and contracts have been signed with Keble College Oxford as the conference venue and Entendu as the conference management company. The conference was launched in February, and open for early‐bird registrations at www. iaf‐europeconference. org.

Early promotion has led to five conference sponsors being secured already, and delegate bookings are ahead of the last two years’ conferences by around 12 weeks. A good number of applications have been received for conference & pre‐conference sessions, and the draft programme is almost ready to publish. We have committed to provide a minimum of 5 scholarships from our reserves, and more depending on conference income.

One CPF event was held in Switzerland in December, two events in Dutch are scheduled for the Netherlands and a pre‐conference event is scheduled for September.

Organisational growth

This is also Gary’s area of responsibility, but Rosemary has agreed to cover for Gary temporarily to allow him to focus on getting the conference underway. In this area, we planned to ensure effective management of memberships (new, renewing & expiring members and promotion of membership), to achieve a total of 500 members and 12 chapters or affiliates in Europe in 2009, including expanded membership in Eastern Europe.

We have established regular and systematic communications to welcome new and returning members, and to follow up with expiring members to encourage them to renew or learn why they will not. New chapters in Germany & Serbia have been approved by the Board, and we are following up interest in possible new chapters in Ireland, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, Turkey and the UK.

Total membership in Europe has varied since November between a high of around 360 and a low of around 320, with an underlying trend of decline if anything. Growing the membership remains a key strategic priority for the region, and for IAF globally, for the year. We are hopeful that the conference will better attract new and returning members once the programme is published shortly, and that new partnerships with facilitation training providers offering 1‐year student‐rate memberships will also attract new members.

Governance & support systems

This is Martin’s area of responsibility. Within this area, we planned to participate fully in the global IAF Board, publish a brief 2008 annual report and finance report, establish formal and transparent governance links between IAF Europe and IAF globally, hold monthly team conference calls and another face‐to‐face team meeting, achieve a closing reserve balance of €40k, and each spend on average a day per month on IAF business.

I have participated in two global Board conference calls and almost daily in ongoing electronic discussions, and shall be attending the 1‐ day face‐to‐face Board meeting in Vancouver in April and the 2‐day meeting in Cape Town in October.

In the detailed report on the IAF Europe Forum, you will find our financial report for 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. The paperwork is underway to have the three of us appointed as Board members of the region’s Netherlands‐ registered foundation ‘IAF Europe Stichting’, along with existing Board member Maureen Jenkins and in place of Jim Campbell. Maureen and Gary Austin, authorised signatories on IAF’s Netherlands and UK (Euro & Sterling) bank accounts respectively, have agreed to continue for the time being in those roles and provide us with regular consolidated financial reports.

We have established a team Yahoo group and a routine of monthly internal team reports and conference calls, and plan a second face‐toface team meeting in Oxford, with the conference team, in June.

We are finding our plan to each spend on average one day per month on IAF work somewhat naive – one day per week (or more) would be closer to reality!

Finances

In terms of the financial report, there is as established policy that a share of members’ dues are paid by the globe to the regions and that in return a share of regional conference surpluses are paid by the regions to the globe, however this has not yet been implemented.

For the time being, IAF Europe’s primary source of income is the annual conference, and the main expenses (beyond the conference itself) are member services and communications. Our present reserve balance is largely the product of the lucrative 2006 conference in Stockholm. The 2007 conference in Edinburgh earned a small surplus with 182 delegates (just received, after a delay caused by the hiatus in the regional team), and the 2008 conference in Groningen made a small loss with just 109 delegates.

Given that we have only a minimal reserve after two poor years for conference income, and given the current economic climate as well, we have taken a prudent approach to budgeting for 2009. The projection shown allows just a skeleton expense budget, and assumes the conference just breaks even, in order to indicate what conference loss we could afford to sustain within our existing reserves.

The 2009 conference budget breaks even on 160 delegates with no sponsors, and would take around 250 delegates and €10k of sponsorship income to enable us to achieve our ambition of a closing reserve balance of €40k – so please help us to rebuild a reserve that will allow a more ambitious plan for member services in the region next year, by booking to attend the Oxford conference yourself and by helping to promoting it to potential delegates and sponsors!

From Bromley to Stockholm – the IAF Europe MENA facilitation conference

This piece ‘from the archive’ was first published in ICA:UK Network News #5, January 1998.  Join me and around 200 others from across the region and beyond at the 2015 IAF Europe EMENA conference, 16-18 October in Stockholm, #IAFEMENA15.


IAF EMENA Stockholm 2015

Sixty-seven participants attended this, the 3rd IAF Europe conference at a beautiful conference centre set in its own grounds in Bromley, Kent, on the weekend of November 1-2 [1997].  Participants came from as far afield as South Africa, Kenya, Israel and the USA as well as from a number of European countries.  Many came directly from the European Facilitators’ Network (EFUG) meeting hosted by BT in the City of London on the Friday, and three went on to attend the ICA:UK Group Facilitation Methods course in London on the Monday and Tuesday.

Although the majority came from a private sector background there were a number from the voluntary sector too.  Some came with a wealth of experience of a variety of facilitation approaches, others were relative novices.  Many were full-time facilitators, either employed as such by a large company or working independently on a consultancy basis.  Other ICA:UK members participating were Alan Berresford and Ann Lukens, and ICA colleagues from Belgium and the Netherlands also attended.

Sessions, presented by participants themselves, explored such issues as client-centred consulting, gender roles in facilitation, the 7 learning intelligences, celebrating cultural diversity, participatory approaches in rehabilitation of the blind and a facilitation perspective on educational change. Other sessions presented particular methodologies or facilitation approaches such as GroupSystems facilitation software, Future Search, thinking with hexagons and – the Technology of Participation (ToP) Consensus Workshop Method.

With the help of Dick Alton of ICA International, I took on the task of demonstrating the ToP Workshop method to a group of 25 or so, looking at “what are the essential “do’s and don’ts” of effective facilitation.  Given that we had only an hour to demonstrate and discuss the method, and given that many of the experienced facilitators in the group were more interested in taking the method apart as we went along than experiencing it as a participant first, I think the session went remarkably well!

A Quaker Congo partnership, for peace and development in Eastern DRC

This piece ‘from the archive’ was first published in the June 2008 newsletter of the Manchester & Warrington Area Quaker Meeting. I had just returned from a partnership project visit to Eastern DRC on behalf of Cambridge and Manchester Quakers – see also Building Links with Congo YM in The Friend.

I subsequently joined the committee of Quaker Congo Partnership, which is now an independent UK charity (see QCP March 2015 newsletter), and still working in partnership with local Quakers and others for peace and development in Eastern DRC.


Students of the Friends Peace Centre literacy class, UviraI was born and brought up a Quaker, in Edinburgh and Cambridge, and transferred my membership to Mount Street meeting when I moved to Manchester in 1995. Although I have seldom attended meeting since my teenage years in the early 1980s, I didn’t want to let my membership lapse, so I am grateful to have been accepted by the meeting as a non-attender all these years.

What finally prompted me to show my face among Friends again was my recent trip to visit Quakers in Eastern Congo (DRC) in February, on behalf of Cambridgeshire Area Meeting.  My mother Janet Gilbraith is active in their “Congo Group”, through which the meeting has been supporting the work of Congo Yearly Meeting (CEEACO, the Community of Evangelical Churches of Friends in the Congo) for several years.

On the strength of my many years of experience working in international development, including some experience of Africa, and in spite of my rather limited recent involvement with Friends, I was regarded as a suitable companion to Hazel Shellens of Huntingdon Local Meeting for a one week visit.  Our aims were to demonstrate to Congo Friends that Friends here are alongside them, and to assess how best we might be able to help them in the future, both financially and otherwise.

Manchester Friends may remember Mkoko Boseka of CEEACO from his several weeks in Manchester last summer, after attending the Friends World Triennial in Dublin.  He had spent time with Cambridge Friends on the same visit.  After learning that Manchester Friends also had a connection with Mkoko and CEEACO, and a wider interest in the Congo as well, I made myself known and invited Manchester Friends to also take advantage of the trip to develop their links with CEEACO as well.

CEEACO’s Trauma Clinic and Peace Garden is to be built on the lake shore at Abeka - there is already a sign at the main roadI shall not describe our trip here in any detail, or what we saw and learned of CEEACO.  Some of you may have attended the slide show I presented at Mount Street in March, and whether you did or not, you can view it yourself online – 89 photos with captions, plus links to video clips and other sites. To do so, point your browser at http://www.flickr.com/photos/24338406@N05 or go to www.flickr.com and search for “CEEACO2008” (in “People”).  A few of the photos are reprinted here, and I would be happy to deliver the slideshow in person again for other groups – please get in touch to let me know.

Also, I shall not explain here in any detail what I have learned about the country and the region – except that it has suffered as many as 5.4 million deaths in the recent wars since 1996, although these barely registered in the media or public consciousness in the West; and an unparalleled history of brutal exploitation of its people and its wealth of natural resources by outside forces, both during and since Colonial times.  Since I first began to read, feeling quite ignorant of the country and the region, to help me decide whether to take up the opportunity of visiting the Congo, I became quite obsessed and read over a dozen books in a few months – not to mention a number of reports and other publications on the invaluable online resource Relief Web.  For those who are interested in finding out more, I have listed the books that I found helpful.

I shall say here, however, that we were very well looked after, the trip went smoothly, and it served our aims well – and I returned inspired by the people I had met and by what I had seen and learned, and enthused to encourage Manchester and other Friends to join with Cambridge Area Meeting in expanding and extending their support to CEEACO.  I was happy to be able to deliver greetings, as well as a laptop computer for use at the Friends Peace Centre in Uvira, from Manchester Area Meeting – and also to deliver greetings and thanks from CEEACO to Manchester AM in return.

Hazel with members of the Women's Yearly meeting, in front of the Abeka field cultivated by widows as an income generating activityBased on what we saw and learned, and on the clear requests and priorities of Congo Friends, Hazel and I have recommended to Cambridge AM the outline of a 3-year partnership agreement with CEEACO for ongoing support for their work in Abeka  – in particular the community hospital, the Trauma Clinic Peace Garden project, and a women’s revolving loan fund.  This would entail a commitment to substantially increased financial support to CEEACO, while still sufficiently modest to be within their and our capacity to manage it effectively.  We have included in our recommendation that we take advantage of the opportunity for experienced local support and monitoring by CAPI, a Kenya-based international NGO with long experience of working with CEEACO on behalf of Quaker Service Norway.

We hope that Cambridge AM will decide to commit to financing at least part of the budget from existing funds, but additional contributions from Manchester and/or other meetings, and additional fundraising, will certainly be needed.

The intent is to provide a framework within which British Friends may commit their support collectively, in such a way that CEEACO can plan ahead and develop an effective and focused single working partnership, rather than dealing with a variety of disparate small-scale contributions.  However we have already heard from Friends as far afield as New Zealand that they may wish to contribute their support as well, so we hope we may make room for all!

CEEACO are also keen to host volunteers with appropriate skills and experience, to support them there in practical ways, so we will also be looking at ways that we can support that.

Martin with the Abeka tree planting teamManchester AM has since nominated Margaret Gregory, Elizabeth Coleman, Chris Green, Jaques Kanda and myself to form a Manchester “Congo Group”.  We will be meeting in June for the first time, to consider how we might best support Manchester Friends in acting on their concern for the Congo – and, in particular, to respond to the invitation from Cambridge Friends to join them in their proposed partnership with CEEACO.

If you are interested in finding out more, or getting involved, please do get in touch with me, or with any of us.  Please also make a regular donation toward Manchester AM’s new Congo fund, by means of the annual schedule, or by contacting the Treasurer. Please also come along to the annual garden party at Sale Local Meeting on Saturday June 21st, where I and others of the new Congo group will be there to bring a Congo theme to the event, and to provide opportunities for Friends to find out more and lend their support!

Team-building and planning with EMERGE Manchester

This piece ‘from the archive’ was first published in ICA:UK Network News #5, January 1998. It was one of my first client contracts as a freelancer and ICA:UK Associate (the first time, before I was an ICA:UK employee).

It was early days also for Emerge,then just newly registered as a company and with an all-volunteer team. EMERGE now provides a full range of waste, recycling and confidential shredding services to businesses and schools, and promotes sustainable resource management by offering advice, information and educational services within the wider community.


Emerge

Emerge (East Manchester Environment and Resources Group) is a local community-based initiative operating in Manchester since early 1996 and involving a pilot door-to-door recycling scheme and a complementary arts and education programme.  Through a referral from Manchester LETS, I was invited to help facilitate a team-building and planning weekend for around 20 Emerge volunteers and associates, November 21-23.  The fee was negotiated in sterling and Bobbins (local currency).

In a couple of preparatory meetings in Manchester we agreed a schedule for the weekend that included a number of sessions to be facilitated by me using ToP methods, and sessions led by other guest speakers and facilitators, with me co-ordinating the overall event.  When the weekend came, we all descended by minibus on the venue, Stanford Hall Co-operative College near Loughborough – a beautiful stately home with woods and a lake, kindly donated by the Co-operative Bank and well worth returning to for future ICA events!

The weekend opened with introductions, a review of the group’s anticipations and the schedule for the weekend, and then a Wall of Wonder looking at key events of the period 1982-2007 at the levels of the world, the community recycling movement and the individual.  The “Evolution of Consciousness’, as the group titled this journey, progressed through periods of Consumerism, Realisation and Action to culminate in Sustainability by 2007 – an optimistic start to the weekend!

Saturday morning’s presentations from Urban Mines and the Community Recycling Network were followed in the afternoon by an outdoor team-building exercise.  Modifying the indoor Tower Game I learned in ICA Egypt’s annual International Development Practitioner’s  Exchange Programme, I had three teams gather organic matter from the nearby woods and each build a tower to be judged on the basis of height, strength and beauty.  The teams took their tasks quite seriously and produced some fantastic structures, and seemed to have lots of fun in the process.

Although participants were all involved in some way or another in the daily work of Emerge, many had not met or worked much together, so this was an important part of the weekend.  This was followed by a presentation from Emerge’s Arts & Education team and, after dinner, by a pub quiz.

Sunday was given over entirely to a six-month planning session using the ToP Action Planning method, the project being defined as – “a demonstration community recycling project, including education and awareness raising, to impact Greater Manchester’s waste disposal policy toward ‘Reduce Reuse Recycle’”.  Although the session took half as long again as I had anticipated, finally finishing around 4pm, the group’s energy was sustained throughout and they came away committed to a six month calendar of tasks assigned to new work teams and including regular follow-up sessions – and a long-term Participatory Strategic Planning to look at the next 3-5 years.

Matthew Adams of Emerge writes:

“Our first excursion as a group was a resounding success.  All in all we came away feeling more positive, more organised, with a better idea of where we are heading, and with realistic targets that can be achieved. Oh, and it was a good laugh as well!  Thanks to all those who helped out, including Martin from ICA – lets hope we can keep the momentum up, and see a cleaner brighter future around the corner”

Four members of Emerge subsequently attended the January Group Facilitation Methods course in Manchester.

Now we are global: ICAI facilitates interchange in Brussels

This piece ‘from the archive’ was first written for Network Exchange, newsletter of ICA International, in September 1998 when I had first joined the ICAI Board.  ICAI is now registered in Canada and it’s newsletter is Winds and Waves, but ICA Belgium is still going strong and I continue to visit Brussels – this week for client meetings, and next month to deliver ToP Group Facilitation Methods and Action Plannning training.  Click on the photos to enlarge them, and see who you can recognise!

ICAI 1998 General AssemblyPatrick Mbullu and I represented ICA:UK at the General Assembly of ICA International in August. As Vice Presidents elect, Mangla Gavai of ICA India, Edward Mutiso of ICA Kenya and I also worked in advance with Dick Alton of ICAI to design and facilitate the event.

The 45 delegates represented 23 member ICAs and ICAI. Day 1 was devoted to continental and global reporting and interchange. Days 2 & 3 looked at the global work of ICA including global conferences and networking, and ICAI finances, secretariat, Executive Committee elections and new membership applications. Days 4 & 5 looked at local work of member ICAs, particularly in terms of developing standards for institutional structure and strengthening, for new and existing ICAs. As a whole group we took a Brussels ‘pub crawl’ one night, and we celebrated the acceptance of five new member ICAs in a closing ceremony.

ICAI General Assembly 1998The occasion also provided opportunity for much bilateral interchange among participants between sessions – in my case, related to discussing potential volunteer placements and funding partnerships, but also social.

Minutes of the General Assembly

The Institute of Cultural Affairs International held its General Assembly at its headquarters at rue Amédée Lynen 8, 1210 Bruxelles, from 24 through 28 August 1998.

Members present were: ICA Australia, ICA Belgium, ICA Benin, ICA Bosnia i Herzegovina, ICA Canada, ICA Côte d’Ivoire, ICA Egypt, ICA Germany, ICA Ghana, ICA Guatemala, ICA Hong Kong, ICA India, ICA Japan, ICA Kenya, ICA Nepal, ICA Netherlands, ICA Spain, ICA Tanzania, ICA Uganda, ICA United Kingdom, ICA United States and ICA Zambia.

ICAI General Assembly 1998The Board of Directors elected Donald Elliott, USA, as President; Ruth Lukona, Zambia, as Secretary; Myriam Balbela, Venezuela, as Treasurer; Mangla Gavai, India, Edward Mutiso, Kenya, and Martin Gilbraith, United Kingdom, as Vice Presidents.

ICAI General Assembly 1998The General Assembly voted unanimously to change Article 12 of the statutes to read: “The Institute is administered by a Board of Directors comprised of two to fifty members. One member at least of the Board of Directors must be of Belgian nationality.”

The Assembly unanimously accepted ICA Ghana, ICA Nepal, ICA Tanzania and ICA Uganda as statutory members; and ICA Benin as an Associate Member.

The Assembly unanimously approved the financial accounts for the year 1997 and the budgets for the year 1999.

ICAI General Assembly 1998The General Assembly approved plans for ICAI to sponsor a Global Conference in the USA during the year 2000.

The General Assembly set the date for its next meeting in the year 2002.

Participants’ highlights

“Exchange! Honestly, I felt that’s the value ICA should keep! It’s good to be a part of Global Society, community… We thought we were forgotten, it’s nice to be back…” – Nejira Nalic, ICA:BiH

“We really have so much in common re mission & concerns & care even in the midst of our enriching differences. Face to face connection is invaluable. ICA is ready to really release & enlarge its global impact.” – Kathleen Joyce, ICA:USA

“A new knowledge. It was like an “intensive” training which I had expected since I came in contact with ICAI.” – Tatwa Timsina, ICA Nepal

“At this moment in history, this is readiness for reconciliation, rebuilding, and community within and beyond ICA.” – Wayne Ellsworth, ICA Japan

“Desire to reorganise and build our international image.” – Lambert Okrah, ICA Ghana

“Re-emerging global strategies especially in the Americas” – Ray Caruso, ICA:USA

“With all the wonderful diversity it encompasses, we are closer to a common understanding that will facilitate learning.” – Hala El Kholy, ICA MENA

“The people are open to new ideas and to support and welcome newcomers. There’s a lot of willingness and motivation and also possibilities to make things happen and a lot of experience in different fields.” – Adinda de Vries, ICA Netherlands

“Such kind of conference, meeting are important for us, because we learn at anytime – we share ideas, strategies. So a report in French might be appreciated.” – Koffi Nestor Amoin, ICA Côte d’Ivoire

“This is the first Global assembly of the ICA I have been privileged to attend. We used to say we were global when we saw westerners all over the world. Now we are global!” – Julie Miesen, ICA Australia

“I felt power in the room and lots of commitment. In a way I felt that all this globally/widely spread force can make a difference in world development & become more transparent in world development & recognised by other people. Global advocacy campaign?” – Slavica Bradvic, ICA:BiH

Facilitation case study: Building a future together – broadening ownership in corporate planning

This piece ‘from the archive‘ is the story of a 12 month programme of facilitation training and capacity building support with a cadre of 80 managers, engaging over 1,000 stakeholders in developing a new 5-year corporate plan for Bron Afon Community Housing in South Wales. I led the contracting and co-design process and managed the project for ICA:UK as Chief Executive, and I supported ICA:UK colleagues Jonathan Dudding and Ann Lukens in delivering the programme.

The article was authored by Jonathan and Ann, and is posted here with their permission. It was first published by AMED in a special edition of its journal e-O&P, in a partnership I brokered for IAF to mark the 2011 IAF Europe conference in Istanbul. Extracts are reprinted below, and to read the full article please click on the image or go to Building a future together – broadening ownership in corporate planning.

A Visioning workshop, with over 80 people working individually, together and at tables, supported by Bron Afon facilitators

How do you develop a new plan for organisational growth and success and, at the same time, design a process which provides the opportunity for full involvement of the organisation’s members, staff, and partners? This article describes how we worked with a housing organisation on their year-long journey as they sought to develop a new corporate plan, build up an internal team of facilitators, and strengthen the members’ ownership of their future direction.

Involving all staff and client members in full corporate planning processes may seem to stretch the ‘need for consultation’ to its limits. However, in 2010, a community based housing organisation in Wales that is widely recognised for its community engagement strategy did exactly that. Bron Afon Community Housing wanted a corporate plan that was developed with maximum community, member and staff involvement; that enhanced the organisation’s capacity continually to design and facilitate participatory events; and that broke down the barriers between departments to provide more cohesive and integrated services to tenants. This is the story of how we co-designed and facilitated that project.

Penny Jeffreys, Bron Afon Learning and Development Manager, wrote:

“One of our aims in undertaking the project was to build capacity which we could use in the future and this has already been a proven positive outcome: the facilitation skills and techniques learnt and developed during the project have already been used in a number of other areas in the organisation. For example a workshop was held to identify and prioritise the support needs of our tenants to inform the future direction of this service using the trained facilitators and the process learnt which yielded really useful and comprehensive results.”

Shelley Hier, one of the Community support team facilitators,
said:

“The process came at just the right time – we had a year’s worth of data and using what we had learned, we were able to make sense of it all with our members group – coming up with an outcome that was clear, concise and (in the end) easy. The members really felt they owned it and in fact they said  it was the best thing we‘ve ever done at Bron Afon. They could see actions and ways forward – the result of us having better processes and understanding how to apply them in different situations.”

Jonathan Dudding is Director of International Programmes at ICA:UK. Jonathan has an MSc in Social Development Planning and Management from the University of Wales (Swansea) and a background in international development work in India, Zambia and Kenya. Jonathan specialises in the Technology of Participation, facilitating and training both in the UK and internationally; working with local partners to bring about change in Africa; and researching and developing new approaches to participation and partnership.

Ann Lukens, GroupWorks, is a facilitator, mediator, conflict practitioner and trainer. She has an MSc in Conflict Resolution and Mediation from Birkbeck (London), and has worked with and facilitated groups of all shapes and sizes to find ways to meet their needs and move forward in both exciting and difficult times. She has experience in Solutions Focus coaching and training, trains Mediators, Conflict Practitioners, and Facilitators and uses ICA ToP methods as a cornerstone of that work.