Thanks Juan Luis for breaking the silence, due, no doubt, to the occasional technical wobble that sometimes affects our LISTSERVE, which, otherwise, is so ably served by BOISE STATE.

As we were preparing another tender for the Scottish government, I would like to share the portion that describes Open Space as a methodology:

Open Space is a large group process devised in 1985 by Harrison Owen and currently used in 122 countries. It is a bottom-up process during which participants organize their own agenda around issues of concern to them. Other people volunteer to work in breakout groups on the issues raised. Actions from each group are presented to everyone who then vote on priorities, creating an agreed list of priority actions deemed important on the day. Open Space provides easy access and total involvement of all participants who are invited to work on the sponsor's theme. During the process, participants share experience, hear different views and, most importantly, learn quickly from each other. The process is driven by passion (care about an issue) and responsibility (do something about it).

Open Space conferences look markedly different from conventional workshops. There are no experts making presentations, no power point, no top table and no prearranged workshops. Nobody knows what issues will be raised or actions proposed until they happen in real time during Open Space, except they all would be within the framework of the sponsor's theme, which is included in the invitation for every event. As participants create their own agenda and vote in real time within an open and transparent marketplace, the process generates commitment and ownership of outcomes. It also provides an opportunity for participants to learn from the direct experiences of others in a supportive and positive context, demonstrating participatory democracy and good citizenship by treating everyone as equals, valuing all contributions and providing equal access to raise and discuss issues and vote on priorities. In other words, the process itself is an exercise in citizenship and participatory democracy. Open Space, therefore, has demonstrated the ability to inculcate democratic values.

Kind regards


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