Scottish Parliament Event 29 April 2014


In November 2013, a group of people came together to experience the Art of Hosting and Harvesting meaningful conversations to solve complex challenges. Those who attended this training at Newbattle Abbey represented a wide range of individuals, organisations and Jean Urquhart MSPnetworks in civic Scotland, who were curious as to how the Art of Hosting could help us address the challenges we are facing and to explore the potential to usher in a step-change in participative democracy and leadership in Scotland. The group were enthusiastic to create an opportunity for a further conversation with a broader audience about the relevance, benefits, current experiences and innovative ways of nourishing participative democracy in Scotland.

As a result, an invitation was extended to a wide range of community leaders, organisations and MSP’s to attend a conversation and information sharing event on the 29 April 2014 at The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh. The meeting was sponsored by Jean Urquhart MSP. This newsletter is a record of that gathering, a harvest of the conversations, a reference for further information on the Art of Hosting and Harvesting, and further activity planned as a result of the conversation on the 29th April.

Art-of-hosting-edinburgh104WHO CAME
Eighty three people were in attendance. They represented a broad cross section of ages from teenagers to septuagenarians and included employees, managers, students, civil servants, politicians and community organizers from businesses, charities and social enterprises

The first question asked why people had attended this evening.
Some had come on the tide of their enthusiasm and because they believed the Art of Hosting and Harvesting could provide a way forward in Scotland.  Others had come because they had seen the strong enthusiasm of their colleagues after training at Newbattle for these methods and were curious as to what “it” is, that had captured their imaginations. Others came because they had seen the outcomes of collaboration and participation in successful commercial businesses, and saw the potential for the approach in a civic society.

From all, there was a strong common interest in the potential for this method of engagement in organisations, government and communities.

Groups of four gathered to discuss the question of the night:
Art-of-hosting-edinburgh107“How might Participation and the Art of Hosting and Harvesting conversations that matter help make a difference in and for Scotland at this time”
Groups then mixed with others to carry their conversations forward and to hear what had been discussed around the room.This was then shared through a plenary session, with the key issues gathered for “harvesting”, or “reporting”.

Key responses to the questions were:

  • A process should be established for decision making that is shared and local
  •  Politicians changing their roles to have conversations with constituents, and to carry those voices into the Parliament
  •  Use the September referendum as a springboard for participative democratic approaches. Many people recognised that Graph AoHwhatever the outcome of the referendum, we needed to come together afterwards as a united country and work together. Art of Hosting approaches could provide a vehicle and the mechanism for this
  •  Space for conversations needs to be created. It should be inclusive to hear and gather the voices of all Scots – crofters, young people, teachers, students, business people and politicians – just normal folk.
  •  People wanted more information on what exactly the Art of Participatory Leadership is and how it can be used..

The organisers agreed to create a ‘harvest’ or record of the evening, ensuring it contained different ways of displaying information like graphs, wordles , text, videos and photos, so that it appeals to everyone.

It was also agreed that information would also be sent out about the next Art of Hosting training to be held in June. People were invited to indicate their interest and to send out the information to others to encourage their attendance.

  • Please find more information on our website about the topics in this newsletter.
wordy parliment

A wordel showing the most popular words recorded on the night