Making the case: STORIES

DIALOGUE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Public directions on the greenest city in the world by 2020: The City of Vancouver
Picturing a Healthy Saanich in the Midst of Change

Public directions on the greenest city in the world by 2020: The City of Vancouver

The City of Vancouver recently annouVancouvernced they want to become the greenest city in the world by 2020. Their bold plan places citizens in an important role for the City's planning and implementation efforts. Over summer and fall 2010, the City of Vancouver invited citizens to "Help us find the solutions to creating a prosperous and sustainable economy, a healthier planet, and happier people”. The innovative program engaged Vancouverites in an online 'crowd storming' effort, using the UserVoice online tool. Online visitors totalled 21,000 from 123 countries and 1,579 cities visited http://talkgreentous.ca, over 3700 people attended the face to face events, 249 ideas were accepted by the city and 8 ideas have already been completed, making this project a successful example of mixing online and offline engagement efforts in a project's visioning stage.

Up to now :

  • 726 ideas were submitted;
  • 2141 comments;
  • There are 3154 users on the forum;
  • 2427 followers on twitter;
  • 1490 facebook fans;

Plus, the City raised the bar for mixing online and offline consultation. Governments at all levels of jurisdiction want to know how to use online engagement tools to deepen their public participation. This project demonstrates a successful use of crowd storming at a visioning stage of public engagement.

Picturing a Healthy Saanich in the Midst of Change

SaanichDramatic redevelopment in the town of Saanich, BC has strained relationships between local developers, the community and City Hall. A creative public engagement effort, led by Simon Fraser University's Dialogue Program, fostered meaningful interaction and generated new understandings among hitherto "opposing camps" in the town. Working with the local newspaper, members of the community were invited to send in their photos of what represents health in the community - social, cultural, economic and ecological. The photos poured in and were displayed at a day-long public dialogue. This day-long gathering fostered a new set of guidelines for the way local government works with the private and public sector to deliberate on questions of land use. The process demonstrated to all parties how civil and well-designed interactions can produce good ideas while enabling leaders to make collaborative decisions that will endure when all interests are taken into account.

"Picturing a Healthy Saanich in the Midst of Change" was the name of the dialogue process that was developed. Working with the local newspaper, members of the community were invited to send in their photos of what represents health in the community - social, cultural, economic and ecological. The photos poured in - of heritage buildings, public spaces for meeting and recreation, nature, sport, children at play - and they were assembled into an art exhibit for all who attended the public dialogue as reminder of many of the shared community values. This vision of health captured in photographic images was central to the dialogue and served as a reminder that developers, civic leaders and NGO leaders share more than they might have realized.

This dialogue -- its creative design, meaningful interaction and generation of new understandings – allowed hitherto "opposing camps" in the town of Saanich to hear each others perspectives in new ways. This day long gathering planted the seeds of a new set of guidelines for the way local government works with the private and public sector to deliberate on questions of land use. The dialogue demonstrated to all parties how civil and well-designed interactions can produce good ideas while enabling leaders to make collaborative decisions that will endure when all interests are taken into account. To see the program invitation, click here.

DIALOGUE AND PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS

A Hip Health Dialogue
Human Resources Professionals Association
Génération d'idées (GEDI)

AncreA Hip Health Dialogue
Elderly and frail adults often end up in the hospital as a result of hip fractures. Health system gridlock ensues when these patients occupy two beds, one at the hospital for treatment and another at long term care facilities, where their bed is being held for their return. Leaders of acute and residential health care in North Fraser Health Region of British Columbia came together to better understand the current and ideal flow of patients and examine better practices and procedures. 
 
Early in the discussions, it quickly became clear that regardless of the system of care, service providers and leaders shared a common value to provide high quality care to the elderly. The two systems of care (hospital and long term facilities) built on their common values to:

a)    develop stronger working relationships;
b)    learn from each other; and
c)     commit to working together to more fully understand the systemic source of blockages in the patient flow.

The Collaborative Dialogue Research Project broke new ground by addressing, in an integrative manner, both hip fracture prevention and hip fracture acute admissions, where other projects have addressed these issues separately.

When the collaborative began the available data indicated there were 200 admissions/year to Burnaby Hospital for hip fracture -- 80 from residential care and 120 from the community. According to 2001 data, falls resulting in fractures were on the rise in residential facilities due to multiple causes – lack of hydration, mobility, and other inter-related issues.  Patients of 65 and more admitted for hip fractures had the longest length of stay in acute care and it was recognized that the quality of life for such patients is challenged by the noise, isolation, and strange surroundings. Clearly, it was in every one’s interest to have these patients either return home to the community or to their residential setting as soon as possible, with the right care, thus improving the health outcome for the patient and reducing considerable strain on the acute care system.

Members of the collaborative recognized that innovative approaches were needed to both fully understand the nature of the problems and the potential solutions with respect to patient flow. Utilizing a collaborative dialogic approach the members set out to frame the problem and put workable and timely solutions in place across the system of care for elderly hip fracture patients being admitted from residential settings. Hip Collaborative Outcomes Out of the initial partnerships and steering committee grew the formation of interdisciplinary and cross system working groups that examined the care pathway of hip fracture patients from three perspectives:

  • Prevention
  • Early-Acute Phase
  • Late-Acute/Discharge Phase

Each of these groups introduced important changes in the care pathway across systems of care. The approach in each of these groups incorporates dialogue as a process for assessing multiple perspectives to inform decision-making and implementing systemic change across the continuum of care.

Observing and analyzing the work of these three task groups served to highlight the extent to which dialogue is valuable as a systems approach to problem framing, making a contribution to the development of strong and respectful working relationships across the continuum or care and ultimately improving the quality of patient care.

Drawing from interviews with clinical care providers and administrators across the continuum, dialogue sessions and analysis of data, participants reported on a number of benefits of the collaborative in

  1. enhancing relationships;
  2. improving informational flows; and
  3. enhancing clinical management. 

These three dimensions are key to improving the continuity of care for elderly patients. The hip collaborative was an initiative that created the space for deep cross system and inter professional relationship building...for care providers and leaders from the Home and Community Care sector and the acute care system to understand their common experience as “caring” providers, and to learn that insights into differences can provide opportunities for greater mutual understanding, respect and in improvements in the experience of a patient’s and family’s journey and the experience of those providing care for them.

Key leadership for the project was provided by New Vista Care Society CEO, Pat Kasprow and Burnaby Hospitals’ Arden Krystal, Vice President, Clinical Operations. Joanna Ashworth was the Director of Dialogue Programs at Simon Fraser University’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue from 2002 until 2010. Kate Dilworth (BScN R.N. MBA) is a registered nurse with 19 years of experience in health care and consulting. Kate provides strategic management consulting in service design and delivery to the healthcare, medical research, biotech, and academic sectors.

This story was submitted by Dr Joanna Ashworth, Senior Research Associate for the Centre for Sustainable Community Development at Simon Fraser University and former board member at C2D2.

Human Resources Professionals Association
Ancre
The power of search and seizure without warrant was a contentious aspect of proposed Ontario Bill 138, and therefore a subject of focused discussion among members of the Human Resources Professionals Association. To ensure the HRPA accurately reflects and advances the perspectives of its membership, they have organized a number of dialogue and deliberation activities among HRPA members and conducted member surveys to confirm outcomes of the discussions. Various forms of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs have been used for interactive dialogue and to mobilize the community for collaboration action.

This story was submitted by Ian Welsh, St. Stephen’s Community House’s members as well as C2D2 community’s member.

Générations d'idées (GEDI)

Youth’s ideas about public affairs in Quebec were explored during last November’s Génération d’idées (Ideas generations) conference, which brought together 400 youth between 20 and 35 years old.  This non-partisan and independent initiative gathered people from different political affiliations, and from business and community sectors to participate in dialogues and deliberations. Participants developed at least two working solutions per workshop, to a total of 125 suggestions that were presented to all participants at the last day of the conference. Ten priority actions were selected which lead to 3 concrete actions in order to give a voice to the Y generation in the public space:

1.      A document has been produced and distributed to media

2.      The suggested solutions will be discussed at a local level in all Quebec regions within activities inspired from world-café
3.      Results will be presented at the Quebec Assemblée nationale

http://www.generationdidees.ca/sommet/photosvideos/ (in French)
http://www.generationdidees.ca/media/Compte-rendu_partiel_Sommet_GEDI_2010.pdf (in French)

This story was submitted by Patrick Dufault, program coordinator and facilitator at GEDI and C2D2 community member.

DIALOGUE AND CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION

Dancing at the Crossroads

A research/practice project of the Program on Dispute Resolution at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada 2009-2013

In the mythical story of Persephone and Demeter, the arts are stolen from the earth while Persephone is in the underworld.  The dark, frozenness that resulted was only thawed by Persephone’s return, bringing dance and stories back to life.

Under the direction of Professors Michelle LeBaron and Carrie MacLeod, this project explores how dance and movement combined with narrative can broaden peacemaking capacities in intercultural conflicts. Theoretical grounding for the project comes from interdisciplinary research on dance and kinesthetic learning, neuroscience, social psychology, expressive arts and intercultural conflict resolution. 

In the summer of 2010, a Dancing at the Crossroads (DTC) week-long workshop brought thirty-four senior conflict resolution trainers, process designers and practitioners from several countries together with artists and students to explore synergies between conflict processes and kinesthetic methods.  They met at Saas Fee, Switzerland, hosted by colleagues at the European Graduate School whose ground-breaking work in expressive arts has provided continual inspiration.

Workshop participants are currently contributing to an edited book on somatic, arts-based approaches to training and intervention arising from their workshop and practice experiences. Dancing at the Crossroads has been invited to offer arts-based movement work in a wide range of peacemaking contexts. In partnership with colleagues, DTC is helping to midwife new worlds of practice in conflict transformation and peacemaking. Welcoming body wisdom and its inherent beauty into their practice; accessing imagination through multi-modal arts; refining and integrating learning through arts-based reflection and evaluation.

Building on their earlier CRANE (1) work in Sierra Leone, Europe and Canada, the Dancing at the Crossroads project investigates somatic dynamics of perception, attribution and cognitive habits in conflict, and identifies potential contributions of movement-based practices to training and practice in conflict transformation (2).  They focus on movement-based approaches because we are struck at the neglect of the body as a resource in conflict; it is the site of conflict and reconciliation. The body is the:

  • primary locus of emotion;
  • conduit to access memories beneath conscious awareness; and
  • most important filtering device in interpreting and negotiating the world (3).   

With internationally-renowned dancer and educator, Margie Gillis, participants to the workshop interspersed movement-based workshops with dialogue sessions.  This dance-dialogue interchange offered multiple lenses into how heightened capacities for sensory and perceptual acuity could be safely and ethically applied to see multiple dimensions of complex conflicts. A myriad of body-based practices were employed to explore how physical flexibility could enhance behavioral flexibility and thus broaden behavioral repertoires in conflict. 

Structured activities helped participants reflect on their physical and cognitive habits in conflict and how these related to peacemaking. Exercises touched numerous dimensions including space, time, energy, touch, texture and tempo as participants explored subtle nuances, shifts and turning points in fluctuating conflict dynamics.  They examined connections between ‘default states of being’ and unconscious beliefs, noticing how they move and physically tend to ‘meet’ each other in conflict. Sometimes in silence, other times with accompanying music, they concentrated on intentionally listening to their bodies and learning from their own and others’ physical states and movements.
Together, they explored a number of questions in the movement and dialogue segments, including these:

  • How does conflict live in my body and how can I embody it safely?
  • How do I embody and respond physically to
    • strong emotions
    • flexibility and fluidity
    • variations and possibilities related to space and boundaries
    • my role as a catalyst for change

in ways that promote healthy, creative approaches to training and practice?   

Workshop participants are currently contributing to an edited book on somatic, arts-based approaches to training and intervention arising from their workshop and practice experiences. They reported that the workshop:

  • broadened their awareness of how inner intentions and emotions translate through muscular impulses to reveal their own and others’ cultural systems of meaning and ways of expressing conflict;
  • enhanced their capacities to improvise and imagine more nuanced, creative ways through conflict arising from increased flexibility and fluidity;
  • helped them developed cultural fluency as dance and movement vocabularies communicated symbolic dimensions of identity and meaning;
  • increased their physical mobility, and –with this –increased their abilities to embody suppleness while navigating challenging relational dynamics;
  • taught them how ‘negative space’ between them and others can transform into a generative zone where wide-ranging possibilities counter entrenched positions and rigid standpoints;
  • showed them that experiencing neuromuscular shifts through entrainment and mirroring contributes to new levels of openness, curiosity and empathy;
  • gave them concrete experiences of movement, re-patterning cognitive habits and awakening intuitive capacities.

Dancing at the Crossroads has been invited to offer arts-based movement work in a wide range of peacemaking contexts in:

  • North American and European cities;
  • Lima, Peru; and
  • Immigrant and refugee resettlement programs in Canada.

In partnership with colleagues, DTC is helping to midwife new worlds of practice in conflict transformation and peacemaking. Welcoming body wisdom and its inherent beauty into their practice; accessing imagination through multi-modal arts; refining and integrating learning through arts-based reflection and evaluation –these are some of the ways that Persephone’s creative genius can transform the most entrenched conflicts of our time. As she is welcomed into peacemaking processes, Persephone can fulfill her transformative potential: “Therein lies the social significance of art: it is constantly at work educating the spirit of the age, conjuring up the forms in which the age is most lacking.” 

1. CRANE ran from 2004-2008 and is an acronym for Conflict Resolution, Arts and iNtercultural Experience
2. The name ‘Dancing at the Crossroads’ is a reference to crossroads in the Irish countryside where people gathered to dance in defiance of a prohibition during occupation.
3. Noland, Carrie, Agency and Embodiment: Performing Gestures/Producing Culture. (London, UK and Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009), 2.

DIALOGUE AND PUBLIC POLICY MAKING

Coming next fall.