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.
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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.