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The International School of Ignorance ?

An ongoing experiment in dialogue meeting design

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A series of seven experimental meetings have been held at various locations -- partially inspired by the following criteria.

Most participants have been busy individuals with strong views and commitments -- and a wide range of interests. The need of each to 'do' and to 'accomplish' something in a meeting (especially where there are strong preferences on meeting organization) introduces a special tension in an agenda-less, leader-less situation where each is co-responsible and none wish any particular view to dominate.

There is no particular process or mode of facilitation. Most participants are only convinced of the merits of such a gathering by word-of-mouth discussion with others whose views or qualities they respect.

Your decision on whether it is appropriate for you to participate can therefore really only be made intuitively. There are absolutely no guarantees on the value of the experience to you or on the final composition of the gathering.

The urgencies have not gone away either, so the indulgence of meeting will continue to be challenged.

At this point in time the next meeting has not yet been planned. If you have any feedback to offer, notably to refine the 'design' suggested by the following criteria, this would be much appreciated.

The challenge is to describe the event in ways which will encourage some to participate and will discourage others for whom there are many more appropriate gatherings. Part of the challenge lies in reflecting on the design of a gathering that might offer new opportunities -- whether or not it actually takes place.

For one tentative summary, see Anthony Blake (A Self-Organizing Group in Dialogue (1994). Also Visual Minutes by Tim Casswell (Reduced version of colour flipcharts as PDFs: Wales, 1993 session, 9mb; Scotland, 1994 session, 6mb). See also an expanded variant of this document.

Why attend?

Why avoid attending?

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