CONNECTING-PROBING-REFLECTING SPACES

A CPR space is a workshop or learning activity (see examples below) that fosters carryover of outcomes into your work and life in the following manner: The CPR space has a topic that you explore in relation to your individual interests, aspirations, and situations. The exploration makes use of tools and processes, not only for the exploration, but also to develop connections among participants—connections that help you open up, probe into, and flesh out your contributions to the topic, and re-energizes you for engagements back in your workplace and communities.


While pursuing the tangible goals of learning and practicing the tools and processes, developing connections, and making contributions, the experiential goal is that doing so is sufficiently positive that the participants continue afterwards in practicing the tools and processes, sustaining and deepening the connections, putting into practice the contributions to the topic of the CPR space, and drawing support for the latter from the tools, processes, and connections.

Contributions to the Topic derive from Tools and Processes and Connections They Generate


The salience of the issue of carryover derives from the CPR space being a space away from immediate demands of scholarly or activist life, a space where participants can support each other’s explorations without having to arrive at a joint contribution to the topic or obliging themselves to collaborate in extending their product after the end of the workshop or learning space. (The CPR space is a form of collaboration—and cultivation of oneself and other participants as collaborators—but not in relation to shaping and undertaking a shared task or project.) In terms of Refractive Practice, CPR spaces provide refraction between the practice that a participant brings to the workshop and the plan they leave with.

CPR spaces allow exploration away from immediate demands of scholarly or activist life


Forms of CPR space include:
Project-Based Learning, in which learners bring diverse interests into their inquiries around problems raised in open-ended scenarios
Collaborative Explorations—structured interactions in small groups over a delimited period of time designed to sustain the face-to-face PBL experience of re-engagement with yourself as an avid learner and inquirer
4Rs workshops, which employ group processes that begin by emphasizing Respect, which enhances Risk taking and consequent insights or Revelations, which leads to Re-engagement
Writing Workshop—a regular Dialogue Hour to check in on progress and reflect on topics relevant to the stage in the writing project.

The spirit of a CPR space can be appreciated by considering a relevant alternative, namely, to bring into a group of people who work together tools and processes that they learn or practice as they generate and implement shared plans for action in the workplace or project. Indeed, there are facilitators who warn that running workshops to teach or introduce tools and processes for group work without having a task grounded in shared work is unlikely to be to bear fruit, to result in carryover to participants’ work and lives. Is lack of carryover also to be expected for the connections made and for the contributions to the topic—the insight, plans, projects that the participant produces—in the CPR space? Perhaps. Yet, what makes a CPR space attractive to participants is that they re-engage with themselves as avid learners, experience collaboration that does not submerge their individual projects, and get a reminder that it is possible not to continue along previous lines.

Another relevant alternative to the CPR space is the retreat, or series of retreats, in which participants’ time together and each person's solitary time is directed at clarifying their direction or vocation (most notably in Circles of Trust following Parker Palmer and the Center for Courage and Renewal). The idea is that once a person has a clear vocation, they should be able to transform their work and life and to sustain that transformation. CPR spaces differ in: a) having a topic that draws together participants so they learn from and provide support on diverse aspects of their projects, not only the deep alignment of inner and outer worlds; and b) the tools and processes used are designed to be readily learned by participants so they can translate them into their own settings to support the inquiries of others—convening or hosting a CPR space is not restricted to certified leaders.