University of Strathclyde, host to Learning by Doing, mediation clinic conference

By the everyday miracle of Zoom, Carrie Menkel-Meadow spoke from her LA office to a Glasgow conference with a worldwide audience. Wrapping up ‘Learning by Doing,’ the UK’s first conference devoted to mediation clinics, her keynote described the inspiration for a whole career: a colleague in her legal aid office in the 1970s. While Carrie…

Christmas is a holiday and a time for reflection and relaxation for many around the world, so in this blog post I won’t focus on mediation as it is practiced and trained. Instead I make two recommendations for films to watch, both of which are centered around the theme of empathy. Both touched me and…

I blogged recently on the importance in mediation of not forgetting what is happening in the other room. It’s an easy mistake to make. Here’s another one that is easy to make. “Assumed motivation”. A lot of stuff happens both in conflicts and the process of their resolution. Things are said and done by each…

Sometimes I wonder what the facilitation and mediation work I do is all about. By which I mean what purpose does it perform for clients. What is it that they are asking for from me, and what is it that they actually get? Do they always really want what they are ostensibly asking for? Do…

The process of discerning what to write about in a blog is interesting. Sometimes inspiration comes quickly. On other occasions, there is a barren wilderness, or a hotchpotch of half-formed ideas. This month feels like the last of these. I thought to write about a really excellent new book by the Oxford economists, Paul Collier…

One of the positive aspects of the enforced changes brought about by lockdown is that it enables – or compels – us to try new things. So far, I’ve learned how to create and have issued 13 podcasts, the idea being to spread ideas as widely as possible at this crucial time. After much procrastination,…

Going online is an opportunity to rethink old ways and try out new ones. For mediators, trainers, coaches, and teachers. Professionally the crisis can be an opportunity. While of course also a threat, with loss of business and income in many sectors, including mediation, facilitation and coaching. The competition for work may become tougher. This…

Introduction “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” William James Whether as mediators, advisors or parties in dispute, we consider ourselves rational, open minded thinkers. We make decisions in an objective, non-biased fashion, don’t we? Sadly, not often. We are all susceptible to a swarm of cognitive…

Forced into quarantine due to COVID-19, thousands of miles away from home; I have struggled with silence, but eventually made peace with it, thanks to my Jesuit upbringing. Over a decade ago, as a Jesuit novice, I ventured on a reflective journey called the ‘Spiritual Exercises’ – a month-long retreat that is the hallmark of…