The central challenge of ART workshopping: Only connect!



Our second workshop – within the ARTist workshopping series – formed around Ruth. We listened as Ruth explained her brief** for upcoming work with actors in the financial world. Her intention is to support them in embracing a regenerative action oriented approach in their day to day. She plans to start with a kick off experiential workshop in which will convene a group of regenerativity champions – in the park beside their office. Senior Executives will also join. She wondered what insights her ART peers could offer from their own experience with similar.

The central challenge: Only connect!

Our plenary debrief was a lot about linking and making sound connections among and between the separate elements that most need to be joined up.  How might Ruth help to connect the dots:  

  • Between the participants and the natural world and wider institutional systems?
  • Between the participants’ “inner” selves (their values, their love of nature etc) and the work they do under their job title?
  • Between senior executives/decision makers and regular participants?

Many of the suggestions land in one of three spaces for Action Research for Transformations as follows:

Relational (concerns the human-centered nature of the work)

  • Come with (or locate) an object from nature to build something together, e.g., an artefact of culture and nature…connecting the world in the office with nature and their head, heart and gut (will).
  • Invite participants to tell a story about their past and where are they now vis a vis concern for nature and regeneration What is their vision of the future?
  • Encourage people to pair up with a “buddy” before or during and or after the workshop
  • Invite them to share a part of themselves that they haven’t done before….

Conceptual (concerns framing and reframing key matters at hand)

  • Name/bring attention to the wider systems within which people are living/working.
  • Inspire/provide the participants with some concrete stories, tools and examples of possible actions…
  • Support participants in tapping into the energy of a being a ESG champion…ask, what can we make/create together?
  • Expand their identity construction (not just being an office person)…

Experimental (moving to action)

  • Ask how to build a bridge from the workshop experience to the daily practice in their organization?
  • What kind of actions could they take in their own department?
  • Ask the senior decision makers to present their actions to be taken – as role models.

Toward a next cycle of Action Research Transformations…

Making the case for further/future action research, means this workshop becomes the explicit start of something more. A key question is, if Action Research for Transformation happens as  personal, interpersonal and impersonal (institutional) transformations, how will you find evidence that’s happening? Consider:

  • Data collection –  early and often – is super important, e.g., 
  • Ask/survey the participants (also individually) about how they frame the issue (before the workshop starts) and also ask them afterwards about their “outcome” of the workshop.
  • Make a little video with all the participants in the beginning for contrast at the end of the workshop/future workshops.

Other video snippets:

Ruth expressed her gratitude and highlighted what immediately landed:

Ruth’s case – video snippet-  is password protected for AR+ members: