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Marginalization Insights from the Roughs' Post-Conf Training

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Joined: 20 Jan 2004
Posts: 30
Location: Brattleboro, VT

PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 7:41 pm?? ?Post subject: Marginalization Insights from the Roughs' Post-Conf Training Reply with quote

Dynamic Facilitation Session: Large Group
NCDD ?– November 2004 ?– Denver

The participants at the all-day post-conference workshop ?“Introduction to Dynamic Facilitation, Choice-creating and the Wisdom Council?” chose the topic of ?“marginalization?” for a short demo facilitated by Jim Rough. A number of participants in the group asked that these notes be shared with the NCDD organizing team.

After 35 minutes of the dynamic facilitation process on the topic of marginalization, they reached this Conclusion:

Use the quality of the dialogue experience to address the issue of marginalization. Assure that any diversity conversation is held in the spirit of dialogue as a whole group.
1. Engage in outreach to get diverse folk to attend, like Native Americans.
2. Take steps ahead of time to set the stage that it is primarily the responsibility of the individual. Do this with both participants and leaders.
3. Deal with the ?“optics?” of the situation?… the public relations of how things are seen. Legislate the visible.
4. Organize responsibly?… apply sensitivity to the structure of things.

Below are the Notes of the participants?’ comments as they evolved to the conclusion. The notes were recorded on four different charts.

Problem Statements
1. How to avoid the presumption that ?“we?” are all the same.
2. How to avoid the ?“enforcement modality!?”
3. How to avoid the ?“extension?” of the dominant group in the unconscious way they talk ?… even when talking about the problem by ordinary folk?
4. How to transcend ?“my experience is the experience of everyone?” mentality?
5. How to structure the diversity issue, handling it in a positive way.

1. Swallow it and try to ignore it.
2. Invite people who use dialogue in a different way, like Native Americans.
3. Organizers make some decisions that impose sameness.
4. Organizers be sensitive ?… ask the panel as a collective decision.
5. Arranging ahead of time that there is a presumption here that we are all interested and open and appreciating differences, but that the primary responsibility is on the individual to being pejorative.
6. Establish a mechanism to peel away the assumptions. Have a conversation, and make it explicit that these things are at play.
7. Hold a substantive dialogue in the large group ?… (can?’t read)
8. Leaders get coaching ahead of time re: what it?’s like to be someone different. Use stories in that process.
9. Use the quality of the dialogue experience and assume that any diversity conversation is held in dialogue! Center of things.

1. I felt the presumption that everyone had the same beliefs!
?– ie. age, conservativism
2. Sometimes the leaders were not writing when a woman spoke.
3. Women would adjust for people, moving their chairs, but the group didn?’t?
4. In the panel all the men stood up but the women sat down.
5. The organizers had told the panelists, ?“Do what you want?” and that?’s how it happened.
6. Glenna G. stood up.
7. In a sample of 5 or 6 this can be pure chance.
8. The selection of speakers was an issue for some.
9. Marginalization is so embedded in our society
10. Canada has an official languages act.
11. I don?’t want to be a ?“person of color?” or even an ?“African American?” ?… I want to be an American.
12. Many people didn?’t feel this issue at all in their three days here.
13. More real things happen from stories.
14. This is a topic which is appropriate at all conferences. In this conference this topic is especially valued.
15. This conference elicits more feelings and heart

1. Do we want the organizers to set themselves above the individual?
2. I find this (diversity issue) profoundly petty, but I recognize that others feel differently, and the presumption is that I don?’t ?‘get?’ it.
3. If someone wanted to derail this conference, they would choose the diversity issue (happened in the past with the Green Party).
4. Assure that diversity conversations don?’t get petty!

Later, after breaking into small groups, people practiced Dynamic Facilitation and were coached. One of the groups took up this issue again and moved it forward:

Dynamic Facilitation Session: Small Group
NCDD - November 2004 - Denver

Participants of the session broke into small groups to practice Dynamic Facilitation for the first time. One of the groups decided to continue the conversation of marginalization, which had begun with the large group earlier in the demo. Members of the group took turns facilitating for about an hour and arrived at the following conclusion.

At each NCDD workshop there should be in the room both a content presenter and a person skilled in the dialogue process. In this way, diversity issues would have the opportunity not only to be included in the overall process but also to enhance the experience for the participants and presenters.

Below are the Notes of the comments as the group moved to their conclusion. The notes were recorded on four different charts as follows.

Problem Statements
1. How can dialogue be valued as a form of activism without being hijacked by social activist agendas?
2. How do we mix different levels of skill?
3. How to protect the dialogue process from activist urge?
4. How to handle a situation when one individual says minorities are being discounted?
5. How can real stuff be incorporated into a conference on dialogue without people feeling marginalized?
6. How to facilitate the ability of the dialogue and deliberation conference/community to incorporate real stuff?
7. How does DD conference choose presenters who use dialogue process?
8. Is there a need to differentiate and agree upon between classical dialogue and other non-dialogue perspectives that might still enrich it?

1. Social issues do not need to detract from process.
2. Listening process can be part of solution.
3. Dialogue should be recognized as central to the conference.
4. Keep the dialogue process central and keep the activist urge as part of the process.
5. Use the dynamic facilitation process.
6. Use an observation, reflection, and time out and ask for other input in regards to minorities.
7. Continue the process: acknowledge and observe and control
8. Ask the person for a solution and insert it into the dialogue.
9. Roles: Facilitator separate from Presenter
Facilitator = process; Presenter = pay attention to content
10. Frame how important the process is for the group to go further.
11. Create the safe place where the safety can emerge.
12. Bring up possibilities; identity triggers, i.e. Quaker; give permission
13. Be transparent and be clear.
14. Engage from an ?“I?” place and ask the group to listen.
15. Walk-the-talk. Have presenters from the dialogue community.
16. Use fishbowl as a tool in a plenary.
17. Have the facilitator frame without value, inclusive of consideration of group.
18. Facilitator make proposal and allow for alternative proposals but get group sense.
19. World Café as one way to surface the issue of ?“real stuff?” and how to facilitate that in dialogue.
20. Ability to read body language is important.
21. Revisit and expand the 2 person role idea to have workshop be led by a person skilled in the dialogue process and a content presenter.

Note: A person skilled in dialogue would have to elicit specific qualities, some of which are referred to in Solution Statements 12, 13, 14, 17 and 20.

1. We experienced a workshop presentation presented as dialogue but actually an activist stand. Do we pursue social justice?
2. There was a push for lesbian issues.
3. There are different ideas of what derailment is.
4. There is real stuff in energy - urge to solve; real dialogue emerges.
5. Real stuff didn?’t get dealt with as part of the ?“meat?” of the conference.
6. Dialogue community not developed enough to include real stuff.

1. How does personal issue become part of conference?
2. Some conversations should not be central.
3. Don?’t want social issues to be lost.
4. Facilitator may be clear about the roles but participants may not be.
5. We stifle the urge to purge because it can be interpreted as an act to take over the dialogue.
6. Presenters may not all be dialogue process experts.
7. Would we want presenters to be dialogue experts?


Here are some additional notes from Jean Rough about the small-group Dynamic Facilitation that was just described:

If I were to attempt to summarize the small group, I would say that they started with the recognition that diversity issues emerged in the midst of some presentations. When this occurred, it was as if there were two separate happenings: a presentation and a diversity issue. They realized that a process for bringing these two together is important and was often missing. A solution could be to have presenters be better prepared in the use of dialogue and facilitation, perhaps even "trained" the day before the conference so that inclusive conversation was central throughout the conference.

Early on in the DF process, a participant suggested that the roles of presenter and facilitator could be separate (Solution 9), actually two different people. There was not much of a response in the group to this solution so they moved on with more ideas on how to have diversity issues and presentations co-exist. Near the end of their session, the participant with Solution 9 repeated his thought about having each workshop be led by a skilled in dialogue and a content presenter. This time the group went "yes." And they quickly realized that they had already defined several of the necessary facilitation skills and marked the most important ones. (In the attachment, I mention which ones they are.)

As the group processed their experience, they saw that each of their comments was like a piece in a puzzle. When Solution 9 appeared, it was another piece of the puzzle but not yet linked to the other pieces. It sat alone and therefore didn't "click." So they added more pieces. Near the end of their time, Solution 9 re-appeared again as Solution 20. This time it linked with the other pieces and its "fit" became the missing piece for all to see the "picture" that emerged. Not only did they say "yes," but they also wanted to share their picture/insight with you and the NCDD team.

Note: A description of Dynamic Facilitation can be found at Details about the Wisdom Council are posted at
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