- The Unconference is a unique and transformative gathering, bringing together like-minded people around large scale conversations that matter!
- Unconference “Agitators” provide the space and experience to support the emergence of social innovation and transformation
- Unconferences have been held:
- Locally-based (one-day format Big Convos) across Australia
- Nationally as theme specific annual Gatherings
- Internationally as Unconference-inspired events in multiple countries
What is it?
The Unconference is an alternative to the traditional conference. It is a self- organising gathering, based around your theme/topic/issue, where participants draw on the available collective wisdom to discuss challenges and share successes in a strengths-focused environment to discover powerful action!
A Core Team hosts the gathering based on a flexible, underpinning framework. Participants develop the agenda and share open discussions. ‘Key Agitators’ actively join conversations and share their wisdom.
Who is it for?
Anyone & Everyone!
An Unconference is for community members of all ages and abilities, formal and informal leaders and dynamic, creative thinkers from across the street and across the world – it’s for those who seek to excel, innovate and lead change in any sector!
Who runs it?
An Unconference is hosted, geographically, by a service, agency, organisation or department, which has noticed an emerging topic/issue in their field and has ‘called’ the gathering. A Core Team of skilled Unconference practitioners & Key Agitators build the capacity of the local host by co-designing and co-facilitating the gathering.
What’s in it for me?
By engaging in conversations that matter at an Unconference, participants will gain a range of new skills, connections and ideas through:
- Practically applying a range of inclusive, contemporary models of practice
- Discovering a network of like-minded people
- Increasing personal skill development, tools & techniques, in:
- Community work and facilitation
- Self-reliance and empowerment
- Developing and maintaining collaborative partnerships
- Exploring opportunities in social innovation and enterprise
- Developing participatory action plans
What will I learn?
The Unconference provides a unique and transformative space and brings together like- minded people around conversations that matter! Unconference Key Agitators, who are well versed in contemporary community building, hosting and facilitation frameworks, provide the space and experience to support the emergence of social innovation and transformation using some, or all, of the practices listed below, as the frameworks of discovery.
What’s the process?
An Unconference format is ‘lightly-held’ to address the emerging intent of the participants. There is a range of underpinning frameworks, which support the overall process, although, according to the skills and wisdom of the members of the Core Team, the shape could change.
Circle Practice is the basic form underlining all other forms of participatory process. In every type of organization or group, we meet in circles (even if they are around a boardroom table) to plan for the future, handle crisis, and listen to each other. Meeting in circle can be especially helpful when getting to know each other and the issue at hand, or as a means for deep reflection or consensus making.
Open Space Technology is a powerful tool for engaging large groups of people in discussions to explore particular questions or issues. It can be used with groups from anything between 10 and 1,000 people. Convened around a calling question, the space is opened for anyone to pose a session topic. Over the course of the meeting, people are free to choose which session(s) they most want to attend, bringing maximum enthusiasm and commitment for conversation and action. Personal buy-in and committed action can be achieved in a remarkably short time.
World Café is a facilitated dialogue process for anywhere from 10 to 1000 people and imitates a café setting where small groups (4-6 people per group) are in conversation about an issue to find out what a community is thinking and feeling about a topic.
Theory U is a framework (or way) to understand and design social change. It’s an approach that focuses as much on the inner condition of participants as the outer work of changing systems and culture. Theory U can be useful for building community, finding fresh solutions and redesigning service approaches.
Sourced from: http://www.artofhosting.org/what-is-aoh/methods
Dee Brooks, Director of the Jeder Institute, is a passionate community engagement and development trainer who also provides professional facilitation and keynote addresses for conferences, forums and events. She is a co-facilitator of the ABCD Asia Pacific Network, Faculty & Board Member of the ABCD Institute based at DePaul University, Chicago, an Art of Hosting trained facilitator, a founding co-creator of The Unconference, a Flow Game Host and a DRUMBEAT Facilitator.
Michaela Kennedy, Director of the Jeder Institute, is a skilled facilitator and trainer of Person Centred Practices, Participatory Leadership and partnership Building. She has worked in the disability sector in NSW (Australia) for over 20 years, has presented at many State and National Conferences and facilitated projects and training for government and non-government organisations. Michaela is an Art of Hosting trained facilitator, a founding co-creator of The Unconference, and a Flow Game Host.
Michelle Dunscombe from the Jeder Institute and MAD Consulting is an enthusiastic community development practitioner, facilitator and trainer. She is passionate about strengthening regional and rural communities and is a Fairley Fellow (’13), a co-facilitator of the ABCD Asia Pacific Network. Michelle utilises participatory leadership practices to support community led initiatives including facilitation of community and kitchen table conversations.
Bron Dyason, Collective Member of the Jeder Institute has facilitated and supported community change from the ground up, and with Art of Hosting and Harvesting training, as well as Graphic Recording & Facilitation; she can creatively transform any would-be boring conversation or meeting into an interactive, engaging session that will involve everyone. A long time Youth Development Advocate, Bron’s interests lie with graphic facilitation methods, working creatively with young people and creating change in communities.