'Open Space' for DivaManc Conversation

Women have expressed a wish to ‘Create open and safe space for collaboration’, to ‘Do things differently’ and to ‘Turn ideas into action’. DivaManc is therefore drawing on ways of organising that enable as many women as possible to have a voice and take action to create change…


We will be using Open Space at tonight’s meeting. This is a way of enabling women at the meeting to set their own agenda and talk about issues that are most important to them.

Beginning of the meeting - We will collectively identify what issues and ideas we want to discuss during the session and then there will be two sets of group meetings, lasting 30 minutes each, to explore them.

To start with you will be asked to have a look at the issues up on the wall that have been put forward during DivaManc conversations so far and decide what you are most interested in. If there is something else you’d like to focus on, write the issue on a sheet and put in one of the two time-slots.

Sessions - When the meeting starts we will ask people to gather around their chosen issue/idea. One person in each group will read out the issue and help the group to get started with an opening round.

In Open Space there are:

4 Principles

  • Whenever it starts is the right time

  • Whoever comes are the right people

  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened

  • Wherever it happens is the right place

  • When it’s over, it’s over. It doesn’t have to last the length of the session

+ The Law of Person Responsibility

It is your personal responsibility to decide how you use your time. If you feel you are not contributing or learning in a group you are encouraged to leave that group and decide whether you want to join another group.

There are often two special types of people in Open Space sessions:

The Bee hops between groups cross-pollinating ideas

The Butterfly can be found hovering about. They may flit to a session or just hang out and have a conversation with another Butterfly

If there are more than, say, 8 people in your group we’d suggest you break

into two groups so everyone can participate.

There is no allocated facilitator for any group. It is up to everyone in the group to use the time wisely. Each group will be asked to produce a flipchart at the end of their discussion, to include:

  • The Topic

  • Key actions – or main points of discussion if not reached any actions

  • Name of a contact person + contact details

Feedback - Towards the end of the meeting each group will be asked to stick up their flip chart. Everyone will have an opportunity to look at all the flipcharts and sign up to any groups that they would like to get involved with.

The contact person from each group will stay by the flipchart and answer any questions about the discussion.


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