Monday, January 01, 2007

Broken Lines: Dealing with Conflict

The images profiled here come from an exercise that I facilitated with members of Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Society for Training and Development. The exercise was called Broken Lines.

Through this, interactive exercise I invited the participants to engage in an arts based alternative process for dealing with conflict. This exercise only scratched the surface of a more holistic approach to dealing with conflict. I should also say that this process works best with a party or group who have already established a working relationship or rapport with one another.

I asked the group to move and mix about, so people who may know each other are not working with one another. This I felt will ensure a more authentic experience.
I asked the participants to reflect on a past or recent conflict they have been involved with, either as someone in conflict, or as a mediator.

Then in complete silence, using the black pens and white card stock provided, I asked the participants to represent this conflict through drawing. (I asked the part
-icipants to respect this silence, Because the vocalization process utilizes a different part of the brain than visualization and drawing, talking would become not only distracting to other participants but also yourself). I asked the participants to draw what this conflict felt like as they where going through it, or are still dealing with it.

participants spent two minutes on the drawing. I then signaled the participants to pass their drawing to the person on their left. I then asked the participants to spend some time with this drawing reflecting on the essance of the conflict in the drawing, and then add to the drawing. This process continued until everyone in the group had spent two minutes working on each drawing.

This exercise became a real example of a visual connection. The participants communicated through images instead of words, and as you can see the visual dialogue became very rich.