Events 2015-16

Autumn Term

Monday 5 October, 5:30-7:00 pm, room 4.07

Narrative open space: Family Business

This session is facilitated by Artemi Sakellariadis (Education) and Jan Filer (Social Policy).

Monday 22 October, 5:00-7:00 pm, room 4.10

Talk and Book Launch of Jane Speedy’s ‘Staring at the Park’ 


Event chaired by Professor  Susan Robertson, Director of Research, GSoE.

Introduction: Jonathan Wyatt (University of Edinburgh) and Ken Gale (University of Plymouth), ‘Staring at the Park’ extracts read by Jane Speedy,  Emeritus Professor of Education., University of Bristol.

Monday 2 November, 5:30-7:00 pm, room 4.07

Narrative open space: An open discussion (I)

Monday 7 December, 5:30-7:00 pm, room 4.07

Narrative open space: An open discussion (II)

Both sessions are facilitated by Sarah Boothby

I would like to use this opportunity to take the reflecting teams approach to discover what we think would be a good starting question to find out how we think we know who we are as separate entities in a group.  My interest is two fold,

1. How do I elicit a research question where the ‘other’ has a chance to define itself within the question?  2. How do we think about ourselves as separate from each other?  My supplementary question to 2 is, can we think about ourselves as separate from each other except when we are alone?
Reflecting teams are used in Norway, Australia and New Zealand in clinical work with families, and in training with clinicians, social workers, etc.  They are probably best theorised by Tom Andersen (1991) a Norwegian community based family therapist.  In a therapeutic context the gap between the two teams creates a space for reflection, made manifest in both time and space.  The laws of physics increase the probability of new information being absorbed and/or generated in the created gap.  The new information leads to change which is life enhancing, also known as the ‘neg-entropic effect’.  A therapist facilitates the conversations for the two teams, typically family in one team, professionals in the other.  In non-therapeutic contexts the same theory applies but there is no role for a facilitator.
In the November Open Space I would begin by asking the group to divide itself into two.  One half would listen while the other half talked together, then the listening half would take a turn at talking about what they have just heard.  If I have time I will find magazines, scissors and glue, so that those of us who think in pictures can participate without getting hopelessly lost for want of words.  
In the December Open Space I would like to follow up by hearing from the whole group how what we experienced in the November session could be recorded in writing.  This is the part of qualitative research that I find most challenging.  I have transcribed speech for hours and interpreted the written data, in accordance to academic discipline, but never had an opportunity to hear how others have interpreted the same data . . .  

Spring Term

Monday 1 February, 5:30-7:00 pm, room 4.08

Narrative open space: Writing with objects

“To return to things as themselves is to return to that world that precedes knowledge, of which knowledge always speaks, and in relation to which every scientific schematization is an abstract and derivative sign-language, as is geography in relation to the countryside in which we have learnt beforehand what a forest, a prairie or a river is.” Merleau-Ponty, M. (1962) Phenomenology of Perception. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul,: ix

“The physicist’s atoms will always appear more real than the historical and qualitative face of the world….. as long as the attempt is made to build up the shape of the world (life, perception, mind) instead of recognizing, as the source which straesus in the face and as the ultimate court of appeal in our knowledge of these things, our experience of them.” Ibid:23

“Objects serve as the set and props on the theatrical stage of our lives. They situate an individual’s character or personality in a context. We use markers  as objects to remind ourselves of who we are. In this sense we derive our self-concept from objects. “ ‘ My Favourite Things’: A Cross-Cultural Inquiry into Object Attachment, Possessiveness and Social Linkage”, Journal of Consumer Research (March 1988): 531

Summer Term

Monday 4 April, 5:30-7:00 pm, room 4.07

Narrative open space: The blessed Doreen Massey

A series of interconnected meetings remembering the work and life of Doreen Massey, Professor of Geography at the Open University and socialist and feminist activist who died in March 2016, facilitated by Jane Speedy and Sue Porter.

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