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Seminar: Local Authorities: Bringing Communities together through Dialogue

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8 All Saints Street


N1 9RL

United Kingdom

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In this seminar we look at how creative conversations and dialogue can be used as tools by Local Authorities to bring communities together.

Focussing on the work of Luton and the policies of the London Borough of Enfield we will address the vital role of the local authority in bringing communities together.

We will then look at how initiatives like “talking cities” and the “Listening Road show “ are being developed to change attitudes and create community consensus. We will also look at how this has worked in practice.

After the turbulence of the Brexit debate, this has now become a concern that is nationwide. Our nation seems divided as to its future and has also seen fragmentation grow at a local level. But there are a number of initiatives that are taking place to address this and to foster community cohesion.

In this seminar, we will examine these and also work together to see how we can develop such initiatives in our own localities.

Key Outcomes:

  • An understanding of the growing fragmentation of our society.
  • How this can be addressed through community conversation.
  • How these conversations can be developed to bring different communities together
  • What central role the local authority can play in this to facilitate conversation and enable community cohesion


9:30 Coffee & Registration

10:00 Introduction for The Day

10:15 The Problem Stated (Francis Sealey)

10:25 Role of Local Authority – This will be a session where we look at the work of Luton in developing cohesion in their communities and the London Borough of Enfield with their plans to achieve community cohesion as well as their belief that local authorities must learn from each other.

10:50 Questions

11:05 Plenary Session For Participants to discuss their own localities, issues and solutions

11.25 Creating Good Relations with Dialogue (Abdul Rahim)

11.45 Speaker – Creating Conversations Across Divides (Perry Walker)

12.05 Q&A to Abdul and Perry

12:25 Lunch

13.15 The Listening Roadshow and Talk Shop on immigration

This will be an introduction to the Listening Road Show and the Talk Shop initiatives and how they have addressed the divisive issue of immigration in communities. It will also be an experiential and participatory exercise

14.15 Parallel Lives Revisited (Ted Cantle)

14.35 Q&A

14.50 Panel on how attendees can use community conversations on their patch. This will be a panel and attendee discussion on how community conversations can be created in different localities and will include a short planning session.

15.30 Taking This Forward – Developing Online Dialogue Abdul Rahim

15.45 Feedback on Day

16.00 Closure

*This programme was correct at the time of publication but may be altered to reflect speaker changes that are beyond our control.

Who should attend?

The workshop is intended for Managers and Elected Members interested in developing community cohesion and those who work with our diverse communities. Elected Members will have a special interest in this as their role of “leaders in their communities” can be central to develop conversations across community divides.


Francis Sealey, GlobalNet21 is a former Producer at the BBC for The Open University, Francis has extensive experience of engaging with local communities and the use of social media. He is also the founder of GlobalNet21 that uses social networks to bring new communities and audiences into discussing some of the big issues that affect us all in this century.

Yasemin Brett is the lead on Enfield Council’s Community, Arts & Culture Cabinet. Yasemin has been a member of Enfield Council for many years and active in the local community promoting dialogue and community cohesion through community conversations. She is a strong believer in local authorities learning from each other and connecting to achieve common goals.

Abdul Rahim, Director and Senior Practitioner at CfGR is a mediator and facilitator with over ten years’ experience in facilitating complex multi-party, multi-issue dialogue processes within and between local authorities, the third sector and communities. He has worked across England and more recently in Scotland using civic mediation processes to build understanding and relationships across communities where racial and cultural tensions are evident. He has experience of international conflicts, working with survivors of the Tsunami Disaster in Sri Lanka, and with marginalised Roma communities in Slovenia. Abdul is a qualified trainer in civic mediation and peace-building methodologies.

Perry Walker is a facilitator and an innovator who has developed a variety of participatory methods. Among these, he is the founder of www.openupuk.org He is a Fellow both of the New Economics Foundation, where he used to work, and of Involve, where he used to be a trustee. He is also a founder of Talk Shop, which organises face to face events, most recently on the EU referendum. He is also a member of Rhizome Coop. He is currently writing a book on how to renew democracy.

Chris Evans is a partner on his family’s farm in Herefordshire. For many years he has volunteered with Initiatives of Change (IofC), a global movement of people who are changing the world for the better, starting with themselves. IofC’s vision is to inspire, equip and connect people to play their part in building a better society. It currently focuses its work in three areas, Ethical leadership, Sustainable living, and Trust building through honest conversation and forgiveness. The Listening Roadshow is a programme of IofC, developed in response to Brexit.

Ted Cantle established the former Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo) in 2005 and this became the UK’s leading authority on community cohesion and intercultural relations. Ted’s work on is now carried on by this iCoCo Foundation which promotes interculturalism and community cohesion. Ted’s books Community Cohesion: A New Framework for Race and Diversity and interculturalism: The New Era of Cohesion and Diversity provide the historical background, a review of current policy and practice and a compelling future perspective of these issues.

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8 All Saints Street


N1 9RL

United Kingdom

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