Review of the 2nd conference of the Academy for Professional Dialogue

Bijgewerkt: 3 nov 2019


Photo Jonny Drury

On 22 October I flew to London Gatwick airport for the second time at 7 a.m. and after a 15-minute taxi ride I arrived at Roffey Parc for the second conference of the academy for professional dialogue. This time even more excited, because I was allowed to discuss my paper with the participants that afternoon.


Once arrived I was so early that I could immediately join breakfast. Then we gathered in the big room and I saw that we were with less than last year. Of course a nice reunion with friends from last year, but also the possibility to meet new members from different corners of the world. Just like last year, home groups of 6 participants were made again. As a home group, you share experiences with each other after each paper session, so that you still get a picture of what was discussed with the other papers and what you learned from them. You have to choose from different meetings so that all paper discussions actually have enough people.


The distribution of the papers was as follows:


Dialogue in the Room (1st day)


Dialogue at School - Joop Boukes Dialogic Team Coaching in TAMK Proakatemia - Timo Nevalainen Bohm Dialogue as a Way to Support Adult Development - Marie-Ève ​​Marchand Inquiry into Dialogue Facilitation - Mirja Hämäläinen and Kati Tikkamäki


Dialogic Intervention (2nd day)


Dialogic Intervention in a Volatile Organizational Takeover - Jane Ball Professional Dialogue As a Research Methodology - Peter Garrett Putting Dialogue to Work in the Virginia Department of Corrections - Harold Clarke and Whitney Barton Related paper from 2018 Dialogue and a Healing Environment in the Virginia Department of Corrections - Harold Clarke and Susan Williams


Dialogue for Systemic Change (3 day)


Trim-Tab Dialogues Transformative Vision and Action in South Asia - William Isaacs The Netherlands in Dialogue A Structural Approach to Dialogue Across Society - Olga Plokhooij Dialogue for Social Change A Practical Case Study - Ove D Jakobsen and Vivi ML Storsletten




In my paper I describe how I finally took up the plan of giving dialogue a place within education and at school when working with a dialogue with youngsters with a mild intellectual disability. A major ambition, certainly now that there is so much unrest in the educational country, but certainly necessary. The room was well filled and to my surprise everyone was very enthusiastic about what I was doing and how I did it. To be a bit embarrassed, because it is so natural and logical to me.

In the evening at dinner and later with a drink there is still much talk and I could also hear what the other papers of Tim and Marie-Eve had been like. Also later in the first evening we came together with a small group for the research of Mirja and Kati, who wanted to know more about experiences with the practical side of dialogue. Then to bed on time, because to catch the flight at 7 am I got up at 4 am.

The second day again a number of plenary sessions and in the afternoon I visited the presentation of Jane Ball about Dialogic Intervention in a Volatile Organizational Takeover. It is fascinating to hear how you can also use dialogue in such an exciting and stressful situation.


The third day, in addition to the well-known plenary sessions and that of the home groups, I was at the presentation of Olga and Renate about the adventure of the Netherlands in Dialogue. It was great and what was done in advance, as a check-in, everyone indicated in their own language why he or she was present at this session. Not being able to understand, but being able to experience was a special introduction.


Looking back, a number of things have stayed with me. In addition to the incredibly fun and interesting encounters, the super care of the location and that of the organization, I again experienced the time pressure. Logical of course, because there is a program and you want to discuss as much as possible, but the speed makes it difficult for me. I would like to have a part of the day to really get into a deeper conversation with people. Find out why they do and think what they do and think. More research instead of sharing and responding to it.


One of William Isaacs' final remarks still keeps me busy. He said that doing the dialogue is only the tip of the iceberg and that first (or below) the inner work must be done to make dialogue possible. I see this reflected in my attempt to give dialogue a place in schools. The inner work mainly involves looking critically at your own thoughts, slowing down, listening differently, being able to put yourself in the perspective of the other and thinking from We instead of Me.


All in all a valuable day that has given even more energy to continue to give dialogue a place in schools.

Thanks for everyone who made these days possible. I will cherish them. Joop

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2019 Dialoog op school is een initiatief van Mens in Dialoog

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