PROUD Transnational Masterclass on Creative Facilitation

As preparation for the Knowledge Exchange Conference at Lancaster University in September, the PROUD project arranged for our keynote speaker for the conference Marc Tassoul (TU Delft) event to run a masterclass on creative facilitation on the day before the conference

This Proud masterclass was aimed specifically at the PhD students who would be helping to facilitate the interactive sessions for the conference. It was a chance for us to get Marc to participate in the conference and workshop, as his book Creative Facilitation is a set text in Imagination.

Held in the Imagination creative space, Lancaster University Marc arrived with a few minutes spare and with the briefest of briefings launched into the day. The 18 PhD students and researchers present did not really know what to expect and initially there were some nerves. Under Marc`s experienced and easy-going manner the group soon relaxed to the point that one of the PhD students told us about an adventure in stealing a bicycle (from a bicycle thief) in the first few minutes.

The masterclass itself was a mixture of action, reflection and guidance from the more experienced people in the room. This included a discussion of sand painting as an age old mapping of the facilitation process. Marc also introduced a very simple but powerful concept. He asked the group to consider introvert and extrovert. He then invited us to think of these not as descriptions of innate personality types but as a verb, so to introvert or to extrovert.

He argued that anyone can introvert or extrovert but it’s more of an effort for some than others, and if this is taken into account in group work its much easier to help the group be productive but also to see which aspects of a session are going to be more and less difficult for specific individuals. So if a person is naturally very shy they are going to find it taxing to extrovert but with some confidence they can do it. Similarly a very dynamic, action orientated person might find it difficult to stop and reflect even though this is often where insights come from.

The aim of the workshop was to help the PhD students be more confident and able to help facilitate the complicated and highly experimental conference to come in the following days. The result was highly insightful, enjoyable and useful. We also had great fun!