This month’s EBE X Coproduction Network was hosted by practitioners who have been developing their facilitation skills. They took the chance to share their learning and ideas with others involved in coproduction with refugees and asylum seekers. Our usual meeting format, of speakers and group discussion on a themed topic relevant to user engagement and coproduction, gave way to a focus on the way we hold space and facilitate dialogue and collaboration between people. Attendees of the meeting were invited to take part and get involved, putting themselves in the position of participants in user engagement and coproduction.
The activities shared
Check In — choose an emoji to share how you’re feeling today.
- The facilitator showed us the zoom emoji function and invited everyone to choose one to represent how they’re feeling today.
- Then we were invited to spend a minute looking at the different emojis.
- The facilitator then invited volunteers to come off mute and share why they’d chosen their emoji.
As a large group, meeting online this activity worked really well. Helped everyone settle into the ‘room’ and learn a little about where everyone else was at.
Exploration — Comfort, Stretch and Panic Zones
- The facilitator introduced us to the concept of comfort, stretch and panic zones and invited us to draw an illustration of a stick figure with the 3 zones surrounding them to visualise the concept.
- In breakout groups of 6 we were invited to think about the example of dancing alone in private, with a close friend or partner in private, and on a stage in public.
- We were then invited to share with our group how each example made us feel and whether we would be in our comfort, stretch and panic zones.
As a group we found this activity and concept really useful. It helped us to reflect on what circumstances and conditions altered this experience for us and for others. We also discussed how this relates to facilitating activities with a group of EBEs or supporting EBEs to take on new roles or responsibilities.
Feedback exercise / Retro
- The Facilitator explained the importance of regular honest feedback exercises to improve our work.
- The group was split into two breakout rooms, in the first room participants were introduced to google Jam Board and invited to leave anonymous feedback on today’s session activities — based on what worked well, what could have gone better, what you will take away from today and whether any of the activities helped you to feel present / connected.
- The second room also used Jam Board and were asked to feedback on the EBE X Co Production Network more generally. They considered what you get out of these sessions, what you still need, what would make you feel more comfortable speaking/ engaging in this space, how you engage with the group outside the sessions and space for any other thoughts.
- The facilitators were on hand in both groups to help people new to the technology and any one struggling was invited to send them input privately in the chat.
- The groups then discussed their boards and reflected on the feedback before switching to the next board and question.
The feedback provided was honest, thought provoking and useful both for the facilitators to learn about how to improve their practice and adapt activities in the future and for the organisers of the network to develop future sessions.
Participants enjoyed the quiet time to collect their thoughts without being asked to express them publicly immediately. We were all impressed at how quickly it was possible to capture so much in-depth feedback.
We hoped to show how that getting the right people into the room is only the tip of the iceberg, what happens next and the role facilitators play in creating an inclusive space, where all voices can be heard and listened to, where decisions can be made collectively and responsibility shared — takes a whole lot more thought, planning and skill!
Background to the group
12 practitioners from refugee support organisations have taken part in a 4 session course with Refugee Action aimed at strengthening their facilitations skills for coproduction with Experts by Experience of forced displacement.
The organisations who took part are: Nottingham Refugee Forum, RAMFEL, RAS Voice & Spectrum Rainbow Community, AVID, Asylum Welcome & Bloody Good Period, Abigail Housing, Refugee Women Connect, Migrant Help, Refugee Legal Support (Afghan Probono Initiative), Helen Bamber Foundation, Stoke on Trent CAB and Refugee Action.