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Bringing Participation to Science Conferences

The Call for the Bridges to the Future: Participatory Sessions

Day one of the Plant Under Pressure 2012 conference and already the urgent need for meaningful interaction and innovative approaches was being called for. Jill Jäger expressed the need for dialogue processes between all societal players to move towards a utopian realism, meanwhile Lord Anthony Giddens’ employed the suffragettes’ motto “deeds not (only) words”, and Richard Black asked about the elephant in the room – why is this conference going to make a difference when all of the others haven’t?

There are dozen of sessions each day generating a veritable fizz of ideas where delegates debate, discuss and argue and occasionally agree. But one in particular has been positively effervescent…The World Cafe. It’s a truly innovative idea that’s really got everybody going.

Julian Rush, The Daily Planet

In anticipation of such a need, Reed Evans, one of the conference organisers, proposed and coordinated the ‘Bridges to the Future: Participatory Sessions’. These were designed and facilitated using Art of Hosting community practices to: inspire dialogue between business, policy and science; to promote a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities; and to encourage transformative change by surfacing and using the collective wisdom in the room.

Click here for information on the types of tools used and the harvest doc.