Relational Change Open Day: Starting A Fire…by Sue Gammons
On 4th November, Relational Change held their first open event, an invitation for anyone interested in Relationality to come along and explore this topic with Marie-Anne Chidiac, Sally Denham-Vaughan and Mark Fairfield. Approximately 25 people gathered at the Ability Media Centre in London - some were therapists, others were working in organisations or with community groups, and all had an interest in how they could bring the importance of relationships into sharper focus in their work.
After some initial introductions, Marie-Anne, Sally and Mark each shared inspiring and moving stories of an aspect of their relational histories, how this informed their values and ultimately led to the formation of Relational Change. In small groups we then shared our stories, leading to identification of a personal value. We explored together what we were already doing to live this value and what more we were called to do. We shared some of our most personal stories, many of which had rarely been shared before but heavily influenced our work today, and our resonances with others' stories. In doing so, a community was forming, one where people talked of deep connections being made, trust developing and a place where they could find mutual support.
One participant on the day had the following to say:
"Thank you for a really inspiring and moving day. I loved every minute of it and learned a great deal. It was a real privilege to work with [Sally, Marie-Anne and Mark] and your transparency and integrity. It was also a delight to be with a group of such engaged people prepared to explore new ideas and exchange thoughts so deeply. People who want to be positively impactful through the way they live their lives, and who have so much to offer.
So I feel enhanced by the process and felt that I had really said “hello” - to those with whom I worked in triads especially - but in some way connected to everyone in the room because of the way that you held the day. I love it when I leave a day reluctantly, knowing there is more to share, rather than wanting to pelt out of the door and get on with other things!"
"Some words stayed with me yesterday which seemed supportive in keeping the fire tended until we are mustered again, at which point no doubt the fire will look after itself. These were; stand up, my street, movement, called forth, passion, grass roots and turning the soil. I awoke with these words all around.
About ‘relational’ I thought it’s about something being exchanged, and me and the other being changed. Seems sort of obvious now ..."
The outcome of the day was the formation of three regional Community Action Networks, in the southeast and southwest of England, and in Sweden. Community Action Networks (CANs) bring together people who share values and seek mutual support to make positive change in their neighbourhoods and community groups. Participants of CANs (usually about 7 to 12 people) meet regularly to deepen their leadership capacity, brainstorm about what they want to change, and plan actions for positive change.
If anyone is interested in joining one of these CANs, please contact us.