John-Paul Flintoff, 25 January 2015

I called this session because I've been invited to run workshops across the community in north Belfast, and I hoped to pick up tips from others who have done similar things.

I did get a number of VERY useful ideas and suggestions, for which I'm grateful.

These included:
1) games that one participant plays with young people from segregated communities. 2) Immersive, participative work that another participant does with a variety of communities.
3) A useful connection to somebody who uses theatre games in restorative justice.
4) An account of one participant's work in Belfast.

But on balance I found the session deeply unsatisfying. If I had truly honoured the law of two feet, I would have left it. I only stayed because I thought that I “ought” to - because, having called it, I was duty bound to write this report afterwards.

What was troubling?

From the very start of the session, I found myself being given instructions and advice that I didn't want, seemingly to save me from myself - from making elementary mistakes.

Among other things, I was told was that I mustn't go to Belfast and assume that I know what people there need. A part of me found this amusing, because the person offering this advice had come to my session to do exactly that to me. But as well as being amusing, it was mildly painful.

Another participant told me that this “wasn't the real problem”, and that the most important thing was relations between orthodox Jews and Muslims.

If I come to DandD again, and call a session, I might be bolder next time about saying clearly what kinds of contributions I don't want. And if I keep receiving them, I will actually use the law of two feet, and leave.

I've learned a lot about Open Space, today. It has great advantages, but like any system it presents difficulties too.

Participants Frances Rifkin Nazha Harb
Vic McGlynn Eddie Latter Hugh Chapman Karen Wilson Tassos Stevens Rob Dixon

Inge Koles

Ellis Kerkhoven


open space, law of two feet, advice, Open Space, conflict, Open space, restorative justice, theatre games, frustration, OPEN SPACE