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FacilitationCamp: how was it? IAF Article

Previously published at DecisionLab, and an edited version of this article appeared in the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) Europe October 2010 Newsletter. To refer to the event details, follow up and full links, go here

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FacilitationCamp London, August 2010 – How Was it?

This summer saw the first ever FacilitationCamp; while there have probably been plenty of gatherings for facilitators over the years, this is an attempt at following the highly successful BarCamp model, a phenomenon which has spread around the world in a few years, based on the Open Space Technology and ‘Un-conference’ style. With the movement having inspired several offshoots such as EcoCamp, PresentationCamp and CrisisCamp – a new international wiki based platform for collaboration between IT geeks, volunteers and international disaster relief efforts following earthquakes, floods and so on – a few imaginators in Britain decided to host a space devoted to bringing together a diverse range of participants from very different fields and interests, to share and learn together.

The emphasis is very much on co-learning, co-creation, participation; I like to think that together we started the process of fostering an open source ‘Faciliversity’. Potentially a supportive network for trying out new tools. A space to play. Not that resources aren’t already out there, but one of the motivations of the organisers was that this can often be lonely work, especially for those not working in companies or embedded in peer communities of practice, a supportive environment. The question then arises, ‘who cares for the carers?’

FacilitationCamp is an attempt to nurture a supportive community. When many of us have been confronted by blank looks and ‘Facili…what?’ while trying to explain to others what we do, here is a community of people who understand the same language and share the same interests; no matter whether we work in corporate environments, with disabled children, in community arts projects, as sustainability activists or nurturing new start up businesses for social benefit.

To really emphasise creativity and potential, the event was held over two days in a recently derelict old warehouse, reclaimed and transformed by the local community. As well as having a lot of fun, and leaving a few people pondering some profound insights and reflecting on new learning, one of the embryonic projects that popped out was a collaborative recipe book created by participants, featuring their simple overview of favourite tools and social impact stories that others can learn from. Some of us see these skills and techniques as vital ingredients in facilitating the large scale environmental, social and economic change that is urgently needed. Others will see them as just great tips to use in our jobs. Just tricks that work.

FacilitationCamp was organised and hosted by DecisionLab , who host the regular Facilitative Leadership Programme, and London Creative Labs http://londoncreativelabs.com/what-we-do/ who created Social Start Up Labs.

Martin Grimshaw, co-creator, organiser, host
There’s Better Ways Of Working


Twitter @ThrivingPlanet

http://barcamp.org/FacilitationCamp (follow link to ‘What Happened?’ and related pages if you want to go deeper, including video and session outputs)

To find a CrisisCamp near you, go here http://crisiscommons.org/crisiscamps/