A river is a meaningful symbol in many cultures and people can associate a river with themes of life and journey. The purpose of the exercise is to build trust and cohesion in a group.
Source – Adapted from Hope, A. & Timmel, S. (1984) Training for Transformation: A Handbook for Community Workers (Book 11) Gweru: Mambo Press.
Source: Thompson, N. (2012) Anti-Discriminatory Practice: Equality, Diversity and Social Justice, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.
The aim of Thomson’s PCS model is support social analysis at different levels. This allows a group to understand both the personal/interpersonal forces and external factors that influence group behaviour. In the context of working with extremism, it allows for the exploration of issues (e.g. racism, discrimination, homophobia) to support group learning.
Source: Johnson, P.G., Scholes, P.K. & Whittington, P.R. (2007), Exploring Corporate Strategy 8th ed., Financial Times:Prentice Hall.
When working with groups it is important to remember a group does not exist in isolation. Practitioners and groups are influenced by the wider culture of the organisation.
Organisational culture is both visible and hidden, as such it is not always easy to fully comprehend.
However, it has an impact on for example how organisations engage with diversity and difference, does the school/youth project manifest a welcoming space through symbols that represent different faith and cultural traditions.
The Johnson & Scholes ‘Cultural Web’ is a framework for the analysis of organisational culture. As it is a web the various elements are connected.
You can work through each element or concentrate on a few elements of the web.
The purpose is gain an insight into your own organisation’s culture and the challenges and opportunities it presents for the practice of unpacking extremism.
Group Works is an excellent resource for both practitioners and group members. The cards can be used by practitioners to develop theory for practice. They can also be used by young people in creative ways to understand how groups work, importance of communication, safety etc. The cards are free to download from
The break-out groups will then open up to discussion, sensitive to the fact that some people may not wish to further elaborate on their examples.
(Topics that may emerge include: Anti-immigration, white privilege, national identity, racism, extremism of all forms, and alt-right).
Reflect on some aspect of your identity that might potentially make you a target of abuse
Imagine a world in which ‘free speech’ permitted public displays of abuse, targeted at you in particular. What would that look like, feel like, sound like? Describe in detail, concretely and imagine it.
Should everything be permitted as a right to free speech? Think of arguments for and against free speech. What about in the classroom or in youth work? Is there a difference?
Sometimes sitting side by side can open up conversations in different ways. Key here is to keep this quite open and invite people to engage in a way that feels right for them.
Play with different kinds of seating, movement of furniture, directions of furniture, and ways of occupying space. See what experiences these shifts open up.
The facilitator remains neutral but interested, open, and attentive, simply paraphrases, is physically expressive in pointing, and mirrors back, making connections. “What I hear you saying is..”, “Who haven’t we heard from..?”, “It seems that..”.. Can we answer that by looking? (Steer clear of pure speculation and fantasy).
You may choose an image or perhaps invite the young people or your colleagues to choose an image.
You can also source materials and images from many museums and galleries for educational use and for inspiring ideas.
This exercise builds on the earlier listening exercises in Unit 1. The aim is to encourage people to move beyond unreflective stereotypes and cliches in everyday life, starting with everyday observations. The term ‘infra-ordinary’ describes what has become invisible because of everyday habitual use. It is not the extra-ordinary.
It was coined by Georges Perec as a way of paying attention to the minute gestures, movements, habits, and moments. This exercise’s aim is to bring to visibility and awareness this ’infra-ordinary’ domain.
See here for more ideas: http://www.studiochronotope.com/uncovering-the-infraordinary.html
With thanks to Jessica Foley