IIMG_3191nvolve and King’s College London co-hosted a gathering of facilitators on Friday 22 July. Involve proposed the gathering to explore whether there was a role for individuals and organisations with facilitation, conflict resolution and engagement skills in supporting communities in the UK to find a way through the challenges posed by the EU-referendum result.

This post is the second in a series of immediate reflections from Involve staff who were present at the event. Read Simon’s blog here. If you were present and would like to add your own reflections, please do contact me at sophie@involve.org.uk.

  1. I was struck by how much interest there was in the event. Our initial google form had over 270 respondents and to get more than 60 people to give up a full day at very short notice during holiday season is no mean feat. The majority of people came from outside of our own networks and there was a real range of experience in the room. It seemed that what had most motivated people to attend was the chance to pull our collective minds together and start addressing some of the issues beginning to be felt post-referendum. I found this encouraging and feel this echoes a wider trend: in a short space of time many people have gone from looking for leadership at the political level to thinking about what they can do themselves.
  2. A number of people said the day was like group therapy. I agree, many of the discussions and conversations were opportunities for people to share and reflect on their emotions, responses, reactions and thoughts post-referendum. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been having these conversations for the past month – with colleagues, friends, family and strangers in the pub. I’ve appreciated each of these conversations but realise that, while it’s tempting to look for answers inside yourself or by examining the bigger picture, that is not always the most helpful way to move things forward.
  3. Finally, I wonder what would people from communities where the majority of people voted to leave the EU think about the workshop? Would they recognise their situation in our combined presumptions and analysis? It struck me that we need to be careful not to speak on other people’s behalf and the obvious next step is to get out into communities and hear how they conceive the issues.  

Image credit: Involve