Facilitating meaningful dialogue around diverse kinds of knowledge

This Health and Care Research Wales/RURU jointly organised event explored the various ways that meaningful dialogue can be facilitated. The event focused on supporting dialogue around various types of knowledge that might inform frontline services in health care, social care, education and associated services and partners.

After an introduction from RURU co-director Huw Davies, the approaches considered during the event were:

Dialogue and Deliberation – this approach was presented by Oliver Escobar and focuses on the importance of engaging in open, exploratory learning and building understanding and relationships before groups of people move towards actively deliberating different alternatives and making decisions. See the powerpoint presentation here.

Thinking together – this approach was presented by Neil Mercer who highlighted the importance and purpose of exploratory talk as a learning mechanism and the role of the facilitator in modelling how language can be used for collective thinking, establishing ground rules and creating the conditions for debate and joint reasoning. See the powerpoint presentation here.

Community of Enquiry – this approach was presented by Sue Lyle who talked us through the community philosophy approach which focuses on using a structured method to explore and discuss common, contestible concepts in order to bring about individual and shared learning. See the powerpoint presentation here.

Caring Conversations – this was presented by Belinda Dewar who focused on the importance of appreciative dialogue and the role of modelling open, appreciative questioning to support joint learning and action. See the powerpoint presentation here.

Appreciative Inquiry – this was presented by Roger Rowett who talked us through the principles and theory underpinning appreciative inquiry and the 5D methodology which involves Defining the purpose of the process; Discovering positive experiences (what is going well); Dreaming the future; Designing actions to spread good practice; Delivering the future via personal and organisational commitments. See the powerpoint presentation here.

Practical Wisdom – this idea was presented to us by David Rooney (via video), whose paper focused on how to develop and appreciate wise practice by understanding and reflecting on the values which underpin our lives and work. See the video below.

Feedback from participants was very warm including:

“Just a brief but big THANK YOU for an exceptional symposium on Monday…exquisitely organised; inspiring presentations; great cartoons, open-minded and interesting participants; plenty of opportunities for conversations, mulling, wondering and tentatively concluding; delicious lunch, and a wonderfully warm and welcoming atmosphere. I had such a good time! Thank you for inspiring me…”


“I am writing to express my thanks to you and the whole team for such a great experience this week. Aside from the incredible generosity and hospitality that we experienced from RURU, it was an extremely well organised and intellectually stimulating event.”