A Guide to hosting a Solutions Session at CTRLshift 2019

What is a Solutions Session?

Basically, it’s an informative and participatory workshop about existing solutions or responses to the unfolding crises we face – ideally solutions that could potentially be linked together, scaled, and rolled out across communities in the UK and beyond.

There are going to be between 12 and 16 Solutions Session slots available at CTRLshift 2019. Each Solutions Session is 45 minutes to 1 hours in length and will take place in one of three main rooms at the venue we’re using, Potbank Hotel at Spode Works in Stoke-On-Trent

Solutions Sessions will take place around a table – physically or metaphorically depending on numbers. Up to 6 Solutions Sessions will take place simultaneously dependent on number of sessions requested and final numbers attending the Summit.

Solutions Sessions will take place at the following times:

  • 10.30 – 11.15 / 11.30 – 12.30 Thursday 9th May
  • 10.00 – 11.00 / 11.30 – 12.30 Friday 10th May

These Sessions are part of the main programme and give an opportunity for partners and other attendees to share with other organisations the work they’re doing. An example would be the Totnes REconomy Centre explaining, briefly, their work in different fields; or Solidarity Economy Association showcasing a report on diversity in the cooperative sector. Whether it’s a specific project you’re involved in, a research report or a general overview of your work, all offers are welcome.

They offer a space to seek collaborations, explore mutual opportunities and challenges, and have a conversation with others that you may not otherwise have. These Solution Sessions are designed in a similar vein to the overall programme with an edge of spontaneity and an eye to interaction and participation.

Who can offer a Solutions Session?

Priority for Solutions Sessions goes to our partners in CTRLshift and to certain local organisations. Over 30 organisations from across a wide spectrum of sectors have already signed up to support the event this year. However, if you are not a registered partner, that doesn’t bar you from applying and we welcome interesting and exciting offers of participation.

It is likely that not everyone who requests to run a session will be able to and so we will have a mind to diversity of voices, genders, locations, ethnicity, sectors and projects when we make the final selection.

To ensure inclusive and diverse participation we encourage people who identify as BAME , LGBTQ+, disabled, women, working class and young people to apply.

What should happen at a Solutions Session?

Solutions Sessions are not about powerpoint presentations delivered in an ‘expert to audience’ format. Though facilitators are welcome to bring a laptop and show a short presentation to introduce their work, the aim is to use these sessions to stimulate discussion, share knowledge and learnings and build bridges for better collaboration in the future.

Facilitators will have 45 minutes to 1 hours to discuss their work and open to the attending participants.  We recommend that you bear in mind that the goal of every session is to get participants to bring value to the work you’re doing – be that through collaborations, suggestions, new actions and so forth – and for your own work to inform theirs in turn.

What topics can be covered at a Solutions Session?

We are not prescriptive about what topics are covered at Solutions Sessions, however we will aim to limit them to subjects of relevance to the overall discussion. We are looking for sessions, in particular, that are backed up with sound research and demonstrate best practice (or, if not, learnings that highlight what didn’t work!).

We are keen that subjects covered have relevance to the wider national and global picture, but also the locale of Stoke-On-Trent. We ask you to consider how your solutions might apply to the area that the event is taking place in. We’re also looking to actively feature sessions covering marginalised groups across gender, class and ethnicity.

How do I apply to run a Solutions Session?

The first step is to fill in the Google Form here.

We’ll look at applications as they come in and make decisions as quickly as possible. We intend to have a final programme no later than 30th April 2019. We know that this is late notice, and we’ll do our best to make decisions significantly before this point wherever possible.

Guide to Facilitation of a Solutions Session

  • Do a short introduction to your project/s, network, research and/or other things you are bringing to the table. We would recommend no more than 10 minutes.
  • Feel free to use a powerpoint presentation but don’t rely on it. It should only be there to inform or illustrate what you are saying.
  • We request you bring your own laptop/tablet where possible. We will have some available but compatibility can be an issue. Where borrowing a device from CTRLshift, please ensure any presentation is saved as a PDF.
  • Remember, Solutions Sessions are only an introduction to your work. There’s plenty of chance to have detailed follow-up conversations across the event. There is a room available, Seminar 1, for impromptu meetings; and the Postcode Coffee House can also be used throughout for more informal discussions.
  • Prepare beforehand.
    • What help would you like to receive from those attending?
    • What information or perspective would benefit you most?
    • Where are there opportunities for collaboration?
    • How does your work fit into the wider picture?
    • What is your work doing to help bring about a CTRLshift?
  • Enter the session with a willingness to listen; be open; share ideas; receive support! We recommend meditating on the virtue of broadmindedness as a useful tool.
  • There will be a flipchart available for each session. Feel free to make use of it or even assign a note-taker from the audience to help capture what you discuss.

For a guide to running a participatory workshop, please look here.

One Reply to “A Guide to hosting a Solutions Session at CTRLshift 2019”

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