Open Space Retreat: Strategies for Building and Strengthening Research Partnerships
April 17, 2010 10am–4pm at Swan Lake in Melrose, FL
Organized by Jennifer Arnold and co-facilitated by Wendy-Lin Bartels
Co-sponsored by TCD and SNRE
17 participants (15 grad students, 2 prospective students) from 11 countries in Latin America and Africa; 13 TCD and 7 SNRE affiliates
An Open Space meeting is designed with very little structure, so that the activities develop organically based on the interests and motivations of the people who attend. There are four guiding principles of an open space meeting: 1) whoever comes is the right people, 2) whatever happens is the only thing that could have, 3) whenever it starts is the right time, and 4) when it’s over, it’s over. Participants are encouraged to “Be prepared to be surprised.” We kicked off the workshop with an ice-breaker down by the lake. Once everyone was ready to begin, we brainstormed all the different ideas related to “partinership” and listed potential topics for break-out groups. We voted on the topics we were interested in, and students volunteered to lead four different break-out groups. Some of the topics the groups explored were strategies for entering a community and initiating new partnerships, balancing the expectations of your community partners and your graduate committee, keeping partnerships strong over time, and mapping out research frameworks used by different disciplines to study partnerships and collaboration. After a homemade lunch, we did another round of break-out groups and closed the meeting out with a swim in the lake.