We aim to nurture well-being through Creativity, Mindfulness and Dialogue.
Jonny Drury BA (Hons)
Artist, Creative-Educator, Trainer, Facilitator.
Bohm (or Bohmian) Dialogue is a radical form of communication; a freely flowing group conversation in which participants attempt to reach a common understanding, experiencing everyone’s point of view fully, equally and non-judgmentally. This can lead to new and deeper understanding. It is named after physicist David Bohm who originally proposed this form of dialogue.
Usually a seminar provides the opportunity for individuals to convene and share common knowledge and understanding and hear about new developments in the field, usually with an agenda in place. Bohm Dialogue is a free exchange of ideas and information without an agenda and provides the opportunity to examine preconceptions and prejudices among peers by open conversation with active listening.
From my perspective, Autism brings into question the very nature of self and society. As an autistic person working in autism, student of autism and autism service-user, in just three years since diagnosis, I’ve seen a very wide range of definitions, criteria and ideas, some changing regularly, some driven by factors such as culture. It’s our objective to facilitate a Dialogue between professionals and students and support a greater common and more dynamic understanding. This one-off Dialogue on the 21st was arranged prior to organising a major programme, to begin in 2018.
Future Dialogue sessions will include autistic and non-autistic people from different cultures and sectors of society, and autistic people exclusively as well, and aims to increase common understanding and improve lives of autistic people.
Jonathan was introduced to, and trained to facilitate Dialogue by Hester Reeve, Principal Lecturer in Contemporary Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University, on his degree course. Hester and Helen Blejerman were successful in introducing it to the Fine Art curriculum in 2009 and continue today to facilitate within the Art Department. Jonathan and Hester went on to hold the first ever Bohm Dialogue session for staff at Hallam and a session at The Chisholme Institute in Scotland, which was attended by 65 people, was the first to include a guided Mindfulness exercise at the outset. Jonathan has also used principles of the method in shorter form, as an integral part of wider creativity workshops, in a variety of settings.
Experience has shown this radical method of non-judgemental group communication to be extremely beneficial for the consciousness and cohesion of organisations and their members. Bohm Dialogue has been widely used in the field of organisational development.
The principles and ground rules are quickly learned and the minimum period for a session, as laid down by Bohm is four hours with longer sessions also held over a few days. Participants sit in a circle and no equipment is required. Minimal note-taking is permitted.
‘A dialogue has no predefined purpose, no agenda, other than that of inquiring into the movement of thought, and exploring the process of “thinking together” collectively. This activity can allow group participants to examine their preconceptions and prejudices, as well as to explore the more general movement of thought.’ (Wiki)
Further reading: Dialogue: A Proposal by David Bohm et al.
Duration: Facilitated sessions offered are 4 hours (with a short break) and regular ones can be weekly or fortnightly. Longer, more thorough sessions are held over a few days.
Participants: Minimum 8 participants, maximum 50. An ability to listen is necessary.
Fees: Consultation is free and facilitation fees are on a freelance, hourly basis, depending on size of group and professional calibre of group / organisation. If funding is short I am happy to discuss.
Join my mailing list to hear about any dialogues you could participate in.
I am Member of the
Academy of Professional Dialogue
Dialogue is a generative form of group conversation designed to dissolve fragmentation in collective and individual awareness and understanding, and to encourage coherent participation.
There is a set of easily learned and empirically-derived skills that help to guide an organisation or community into an aligned way of thinking together and decision-making with those who are affected by those decisions. Where there are many stakeholders it is more efficient than silo or matrix arrangements, and more effective than social ignorance and confrontation – and Dialogue humanises systems and engenders cultures of respect.
Academy of Professional Dialogue – website.
After our successful pilot session in September at The Art House, we have been given the go-ahead to run a six-week course.
Start date: Friday 10th November. 1pm-3pm
(same time and place each week for six weeks)
This programme has been specially developed for Adults with Autism.Through a range of user-led activities, supported by presentations and exercises including mindfulness and group dialogue, the aim of this programme is to prompt self-discovery, explore ideas of identity and autism, support personal narratives and encourage deeper communication and confidence, within our own temporary community.
We will create textual, visual and oral work that explores our own lives and communities. Greater confidence will be achieved through positively succeeding in challenging personal projects and validation of your project in group dialogue and by display. All activities are optional.
My semi-fictional autobiography
Imagination & Design
Drawing with the Right Side of the Brain
There will hopefully also be a specially made website to upload your own work and text.
It is well known that people on the autistic spectrum have higher than normal stress levels due to sensory processing issues. Although the sessions will not be a form of therapy, creative activity can provide a therapeutic type of benefit, especially in a group setting and in facilitated dialogue sessions. This will hopefully aid a stronger sense of identity and greater confidence. The aim is to empower.
Special requirements: The programme has been designed from a strengths-based autism perspective. Provision will be made as required for special needs and sensitivities.
– All art materials will be provided and you can bring your own too.
– You don’t need to have any experience or done the taster session
– You do need the ability to follow some basic ground rules (listening, respect confidentiality etc.)
– Attendance for full programme is better for you and the group
– Due to the possibility of sensory overload, users are free to take time out of the room in the cafe downstairs.
Cost: £20 for the course. Free for people on benefits, students and over 50’s. Places are limited to twelve people. Pease email me to register or to ask questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Art and Mindfulness started life as a short course called Creating Identities. It was conceived and executed at Bloc Gallery in 2010 for a group of refugees and asylum seekers and delivered by a number of professional artist-educators, some video of which can be seen here. It was part-funded with a grant from the European Social Fund.
A nice quote:
“If we are to affirm the meaning, the value of our own story, we must make an act of personal faith. In the end, it is the storyteller who, like any novelist, commands the audience. Our sense of our meaning of story – that is our contribution to life.”
from Living in Time: A New Look at Personal Development by Phillida Salmon.
(Dent & Sons 1985)
The Art House is a lovely welcoming place. The workshops will be very relaxed and friendly. There is a cafe where you can go if the workshop feels too much for you.
The Art House page click here
Your facilitator is Jonathan (Jonny) Drury and this is a peer-led group where we all aim to facilitate. Jonny is on the spectrum (Aspergers) and has training in Autism Awareness and plenty of workshop, dialogue and group experience. He is a member of the UK Academy of Professional Dialogue and a current MA Autism Spectrum student.
I look forward to meeting you. – Jonny
Did you know people with autism excel in creative thinking yet only 15% of people with autism are in full time paid employment? And 79% of those would like to be…! (Jolanta Lasota – Ambitious about Autism).