Ground rules for workshops (an evolving document)
(for updates after 17 Feb 12 see http://sicw.wikispaces.com/groundrules
Ground rules for this document
Please suggest additions using the edit button (make sure you click the save button after making changes). However, because this is a set of guidelines for me to follow and transmit as a workshop organizer, please don't take offense if I rephrase or reject some suggestions. Much thanks for the suggestions already incorporated.
Ground rules for workshop as a whole
As a self-organizing workshop, our meetings strive to produce a highly supportive environment to encourage free thought and expression. A few "ground rules" might help us to preserve the positive orientation of our work group.
We all agree to be supportive of, and sensitive to, all group members (including ourselves) in our exploration of ideas and new strategies of engagement.
We agree to review and explicitly reaffirm our commitment to mutual support and collegiality, at the opening of the workshop and when launching new activities within the workshop.
We are all committed to preserving the reputation of our colleagues (both present and absent), so we agree to handle information sensitively both during and after the workshop. By 'sensitively' we mean that we will not reveal identifying information about a person, including using their name in connection with concepts or opinions, and especially with regard to sharing any personal histories, unless that information is already public (e.g. published) or we have received permission to do so.
We agree to refrain from any type of accusation or interpretation, in word or deed, regarding another participant's behavior. We strive to name our own experience, and to ask questions about others' experiences when we lack clarity or disagree. We will abstain from gossip or criticism between group members about other members.
We uphold the right of any participants to absent themselves before or during a session without explanation to the group, and without implications being drawn. As a matter of courtesy, anyone needing to absent her/himself will make every effort to inform the activity organizer regarding her/his intention to return to the activity (or not).
If interpersonal conflict or tension should arise, as is always a risk in an intense and intimate setting such as this, the ground rules for the workshop and the specific activity should provide guidance about whether resolution of the issue is appropriate within the session. If not, every effort will be made to resolve it as soon and as sensitively as possible outside the session. If the conflict/tension cannot be resolved by the parties themselves, the parties may ask for mediation from the workshop organizer. We agree that the organizer is under no obligation to accept the role of conflict resolution worker.
The workshop organizer or facilitator should have an assistant with whom regularly to check-in to ensure that ground rules have been reviewed and to call attention when the rules are forgotten.
Participants are encouraged to support the group through self-facilitation and awareness of the group and its needs.
Any party may recommend alterations to the ground rules.
Ground rules for activity organizer
Any activity-specific ground rules (i.e., not covered by the workshop ground rules) should be made explicit for the activity before it begins or at earliest possible notice. These should include guidance about which issues are appropriate to resolve within he session and which are to be resolved outside the session (per the above guideline.)
The activity organizer (or facilitator) should arrange an activity facilitator (or an assistant) with whom to check-in to ensure that ground rules are reviewed and to call attention when the rules are forgotten. As part of this arrangement, a method for calling attention should be identified.
The workshop organizer or facilitator may call attention when rules are forgotten if the activity organizer and assistant fails to do so.
Activity organizers should arrange someone else to be activity facilitator if they are strongly invested in the activity or otherwise not comfortable serving as a facilitator.
Every activity should build in time and a means for reflection on how the activity worked and how it could be developed further.