5 thoughts on “Restorative Practices and Librarianship – another framework to tie unconferencing and social media to librarianship?

  1. Can you say more about how unconferences fit in with the idea of restorative justice/practices? I’m not making the leap.

    Partly, it’s that I’m averse to the simplified ‘conference bad, unconference good’ conversation going on out here, so I’m interested to see someone putting it into another context.


  2. Restorative practices use the methods that unconferences typically use (open space, circle conversations, world cafe etc.). Not all unconferences follow the ‘restorative’ model, admittedly, but they do tend that way, if facilitated properly. The philosophy of ‘Doing With’ rather than ‘Doing To’ or ‘Doing For’ also applies to unconference better than other scenarios.

    There’s a language problem here though. Restorative Justice has a formal process that they call a “conference” which is not like a traditional conference, but more a way of repairing harm between/among victims and crime-doers.

    Anyway, I am with you on the conference vs unconference. I feel that they serve different purposes. Conferences tend to promote individuals, and are great ways to become acquainted with the business of libraries. However, I am quite sick of attending and/or doing the same old presentations when I know there are a gazillion great minds sitting next to me that I’d like to hear from as well. Also, unconferences have the opportunity to bring actual regular community members into the conversation without alienating them (moreso than conferences IMHO).

    On the other hand, I have less appreciation for the emphasis on the “free” ness of unconferences. Open does not necessitate free or cheap, although free does help!


  3. I think we actually disagree in that I’m not willing to reduce whole categories of events into good/bad or individually-focused/community focused. The merits of an event are not dependent on its format. There are events that suck, and many of them call themselves conferences, but I don’t think it has to be that way – sucking is not a commutative property. But if you disagree, that’s okay, I just wanted to try to clarify my thoughts.

    But I think you are also saying that mechanisms for active participation at an event can facilitate long-term relationships and activities beyond the time and space of the event, and that is a compelling idea to me, and thank you again for it!


  4. Caleb: I really need to understand the level of experience you have with World Cafe etc. before I can understand your quote: ‘the merits of an event are not dependent on its format.’ The way an event is facilitated has a very high impact on its effectiveness – but how you measure effectiveness comes into play too. It’s empirical, however, that lecture-style presentations are less effective for learners than collaborative ones.

    I think regular conferences have very particular goals in mind and these goals are often at odds with the goals of unconferences. Right now, my preference is for unconferences, but that does not mean I think conferences suck.


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