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Session Overview
Session
Advantages and challenges of facilitation of TD research for urban projects
Time:
Tuesday, 10/Sep/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Location: Europa
Conference Centre Wallenberg

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Presentations

Advantages and challenges of facilitation of TD research for urban projects

Kerstin Hemström1, Henrietta Palmer1, Siri Kjellberg2, Maria Helena Guimarães4, Roderick Lawrence3, Pia Andersson5

1Chalmers University of Technology; 2Lunds University; 3University of Geneva & td-net, Swiss Academies of Sciences, Switzerland; 4Landscape, Biodiversity and Socio-Ecological Systems (LABS); ICAAM, Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas Universidade de Évora; 5Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Chair:

Roderick Lawrence, University of Geneva & td-net, Swiss Academies of Sciences, Switzerland.

Speakers:

Pia Andersson, Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Maria Helena Guimarães, Landscape, Biodiversity and Socio-Ecological Systems (LABS); ICAAM, Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas Universidade de Évora

Discussant:

Siri Kjellberg, Department of Human Geography, Lund University, Sweden.

Framing the Workshop

Facilitation is increasingly becoming recognized as necessary, especially in processes of co-produced TD research, as a means of integrating process design and methods to generate research outputs more reflective of our complex reality. There is no ideal or universal method for cross-fertilizing different worlds of knowing. Specific methods developed in one setting cannot merely be replicated and transferred to other research teams and contexts, in which the social composition and conditions for change are different. We acknowledge that tools and methods exist. However, they should be adapted to become suitable to the situation or problem addressed, and the specific characteristics of its context, including the group of participants in the research project.

In a recent TD-workshop (March 2019) performed as a collaboration between Cost Action INTREPID and the Urban Futures Open Research School (at Mistra Urban Futures Gothenburg Platform), skills and capacities of a facilitator for TD research were identified as follows: perspective awareness, capacity to link to daily life, conflict management, resource negotiation capacity, agility and creativity, capacity to ‘connect the dots’, etc. Building on this experience, we now invite participants to this workshop at the 2019 International Transdisciplinarity Conference to explore the role of facilitation and facilitation skills in transdisciplinary research for sustainable urban development. The idea of this workshop is to identify the advantages and challenges of explicit facilitation in transdisciplinary and participatory/community research based on experiences of transdisciplinary researchers who are trained in facilitation.

Navigating complexity in group collaborations – the roles of methods and facilitation

Pia Andersson, Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

There is great potential in approaches that function to facilitate the development and integration of complex knowledge. This talk will delineate some of my conclusions from facilitating group collaborations since 2006. My main aim has been to nurture and scaffold the joint complexity awareness and stakeholder awareness of participants engaged in collaborations of societal concern. In the process of knowledge development, both between stakeholders and within stakeholders, I have found that a facilitator can act as a support in phases where issues require understanding divergences and conflicts. This occurs while and by linking more perspectives about the issue and drawing on the whole group’s understanding, even when the information appears contradictory or vague. By tracking the dialectics of the process and encouraging ways to link, and hence integrate information, I have continuously found more complex action-logics emerge in groups. Conclusively, I will discuss the practical implications and challenges of this kind of facilitative approach.

Facilitating dialogue in research – the role of a transdisciplinary facilitator researcher

Mª Helena Guimarães, Landscape Dynamics and Social Processes Group, Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas (ICAAM), University of Evora, Portugal.

This talk will summarize my research trajectory and explain when and why skilled facilitation became a defining skill in my academic career. The objective of summarizing this trajectory is to explain the advantages of skilled facilitation and how this competence can be an added value in research that focuses on social-ecological systems, changes, transitions, and sustainability. Sustainability as a research topic, or as societal challenge, implies provoking changes and dealing with transitions while being part of these change processes. In addition, the complexity of social-ecological systems is immense and the knowledge regarding their function is not enough to tackle the challenges humankind is facing. From my perspective, I will explain what is skilled facilitation (including the principals that guide my conduct), and I will explain how I organized a dialogue process and provide some examples of the methods and tools used (e.g. Q methodology, conceptual modelling, territory game, ice-breaking activities). Hence, I aim to contribute to a fundamental question in research about sustainability: How to organize collaboration, and how to promote active listening and responsibility.

Programme

Welcome & Introduction to Workshop

Framing & Purpose (cf. Thomas Jordan’s paper)

Introductions of all participants

Chair: Roderick Lawrence, Swiss Academies of Arts & Sciences, & University of Geneva, Switzerland.

Navigating complexity in group collaborations – the roles of methods and facilitation

Pia Andersson, Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Questions of clarification

Facilitating dialogue in research – the role of a transdisciplinary facilitator researcher

Maria Helena Guimarães, Instituto de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais Mediterrânicas (ICAAM), University of Evora, Portugal.

Questions of clarification

Sharing experiences between participants

Synthesis of presentations and experiences:

Is there a common-ground?

Discussant: Siri Kjellberg, Department of Human geography, Lund University, Sweden.

Close of Workshop, Next Steps.

Roderick Lawrence.

Key Reference:

Jordan, T. (2014) Deliberative Methods for Complex Issues: A typology of functions that may need scaffolding, Group Facilitation: A Research and Applications Journal, No. 13: pp.50-71

We recommend that the advantages of facilitation can be discussed using Thomas Jordan’s published article as guidance. In that article, Thomas proposed that the advantages of facilitation (not specifically with respect to urban projects) can be discussed according to 6 key issues:

1. Enabling attention support and group focusing (4 subcomponents).

2. Enhancing communication and interpersonal relationships (4 subcomponents).

3. Expressing personal attitudes, feelings and promoting group engagement (5 subcomponents).

4. Improving awareness and understanding while creating common-ground (6 subcomponents).

5. Promoting personal empowerment and mobilizing creativity (3 subcomponents)

6. Coordinating decision-making and implementation of desired outcomes (2 subcomponents).

7. Confronting Challenges

We recommend this frame because it focuses specifically on active facilitation processes rather than passive facilitation (such as the organization of spaces for group discussions); even though we realize passive factors are also important they will not be the main concern of this workshop. We have added a 7th topic in order to share experiences of how to confront challenges of facilitation.

Hemström-Advantages and challenges of facilitation of TD research-230.docx


 
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