Facilitating assemblies

If you have declared emergency as an organisation or you have formed a local CDE hub, you could convene an assembly to build support, consult people on their views and plan your actions.

Protocols for a successful event

Spread the invitation wide, to ensure that local stakeholders, people with lived experience, and all staff feel welcome to join. 

We suggest that you be informed by our code on ways of working, values and communication tools.

When inviting participants to sign up, have a process to find out their access needs. Wherever possible, provide text captions and sign language interpretation, and you might consider language translation and graphic visual illustration too. Do some people need help to take part such as expenses paid, or travel provided? 

As long as the pandemic continues, it is likely that your assembly will have to take place online, or that in-person events offer an online means to take part in the discussion. 

Online meetings can sometimes zap out the creative juices, so see how you can find ways to invite creative provocations and responses as part of the process! If it’s online, it should be no longer than 2.5 hours. If it’s in-person it can be longer but provide food and some creative breaks. 

Questions to discuss 

  • How will our community be affected by the climate and ecological emergency, and what is the future we want to create? 
  • How can our community take action on the climate and ecological emergency?
  • What is the role of culture in this, and the role of this organisation?
  • What actions are we motivated by? 

Ensure that everyone has access to the information they need to explore these questions. You could provide a discussion document in advance, and give brief presentations to explain the big picture, what action is already happening, the scope of the questions and what constraints there are. 

Break into groups

Rather than making everyone speak to the whole room, have plenty of time in break-out groups (of around 6 people) to explore particular questions. 

Groups work well when they have a:

  • Facilitator: to keep an eye on time-keeping, encourage radical inclusion of all voices and to ‘host the hand signals’
  • Scribe: to note-take the conversation
  • Spokesperson: to feed-back to the main group concise summary points from the conversation.

When groups are discussing a question:

  • People get into groups of 6 or so (or are put in break-out groups in an online platform)
  • Each person has up to 1.5 minutes in an initial ‘go round’ to say name and their response to the question without interruption (8-12 minutes)
  • Free-flowing group discussion, using hand signals (20 mins)
  • Helped by the Scribe, the Spokesperson consolidates some summary points to feed back to the others, making sure the group feels it is a good enough summary (3 – 5 mins)

What happens next?

New questions or areas for conversation may emerge after summary points have been fed back. The same assembly process can then occur again, and this time you may wish to have more than one conversation topic and invite ‘open space’ conversation around them ie – giving people the choice of what topic they’d like to gather around for a second conversation and break-out into groups accordingly.

Remember to capture the content and outcomes of the event to keep the momentum going beyond your assembly. 

Share what you’re doing and any highlights on social media @CultureDeclares #CultureTakesAction

See our collection of downloadable logos, banners, kitemarks and social media assets for your Assembly.

If you want to use the CDE Zoom, or get technical support to hold an online assembly, contact National Coordinator at culturedeclares@gmail.com.

Culture Declares Assembly, Roundhouse in Camden, July 2020. Photo by Bridget McKenzie

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