To collage or to kill?

This is not really about a workshop.

But you can picture the workshop. Lots of stickies. Personal thoughts and views. Lots of them. Scattered and stuck. On background paper.  On personal resilience.

And now the delegates are gathered round ready for the facilitator to help them make
collective sense of their collected individual contributions. This is how workshops run, aren’t they?

Not this time. No effort to group the stickies into themes. No lumping upwards. No attempt to simplify. No handy take-away model.

Instead, an invitation to read out loud the words of others; an invitation to scan the written fragments and make silent, personal sense; an invitation to allow insightful associations to form.

Sure, repeatable processes and simplification are good things. In context.

We just need to be mindful that we are not killing the things we seek; that we are not losing the richness and vitality of people’s lived experience; that we are not sleep-walking into unhelpful habits.

If a simple model is what you need, then group and theme away. If instead you need a portal into a more reflective and creative space then consider playing the collage game. And of course you can use both. And other approaches.

Just be clear about what you really need and be awake when you consider how you might go about getting it. Otherwise you could kill it.

Dave Stewart

The Fresh Air Learning Company