Symposium 2017: Facilitating Connections
Our upcoming symposium, Community Agency & Health, will bring participants together to learn and explore how they can work in ways that foster a community’s agency – the ability and opportunity to collectively make purposeful choices that create change. By design, participants will be from numerous sectors – from health and other institutions to community-based organizations – and from different roles – from local to national.
Working collaboratively across sectors and with communities requires creating the space for people with different perspectives to develop a deeper understanding and empathy with each other. This is why the symposium is being designed with significant time dedicated to participants getting to know one other, exchanging knowledge and experience directly with each other, and sharing perspectives in small groups and informal interactions.
To help facilitate those exchanges and interactions, starting this week we’ll be sending out a form to all registered participants to invite them to provide information in three ways that will help everyone to share and connect.
We’ll invite every registrant to provide an individual profile to be included in the symposium materials. In addition to the basics, like name, organization, and contact information, we’ll ask for a brief biography and for the kinds of connections being sought at the symposium.
Also to include in the symposium materials, we’ll invite registrants to provide information about a project or initiative in which they are working on connecting health and community, and that others at the symposium may be interested in learning about.
One thing we’ve learned through the many innovators in the Creating Health Collaborative is that no two community-based projects are the same. That’s why we’ll collect this information through a series of optional questions, enabling participants to choose what to highlight about their work.
The questions will cover the collective priorities and aims of the work, descriptive information about the community where it is taking place, who is involved, what kinds of actions are being undertaken, and how the work is structured and financed. Other aspects might include what new capacities were needed and by whom, what struggles they have experienced, and how the success of the work is assessed.
As part of the project profile, we’ll also ask registrants to share the top two tools or resources they have found useful and that they would recommend to others seeking to do similar work.
We’ll also be offering registered participants the opportunity to lead a ‘conversation cluster’ – informal, small group discussions on the second day of the symposium. Those interested in leading a cluster will be able to propose a topic and two prompt questions that can spark and structure a discussion. They will be joined in the conversation by other symposium participants who are interested in exchanging knowledge, experience, and ideas around similar issues.
Please get in touch if you’d like to know more about the symposium.
Bridget B Kelly
Bridget is the Co-Founder and Chief Delivery Officer of Bridging Health & Community and the Editor-in-Chief of the symposium, Community Agency & Health. See the symposium rationale and the current schedule (updated April 7, 2017).