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24 May / 2012Program by:
Language: English

Fish Bowl Dialogue

Yesterday’s facilitated exchange organized by RAS at Unity Pavilion started with umbrella question – What question, if that question would be answered, would a neighbor ask as a community to agree on a shared way forward, and how to plan and build Auroville City? – which was meant to invite more questions, and not so much solutions and answers. Whole exchange was in a form of Fish Bowl Dialogue, which brought faster, and lighter dynamic to the meeting itself. One previous one was clear that community needs more to just talking to each other.

Fish Bowl Dialgoue, method: Four to five chairs are arranged in an inner circle. This is the fishbowl. The remaining chairs are arranged in concentric circles outside the fishbowl. A few participants are selected to fill the fishbowl, while the rest of the group sit on the chairs outside the fishbowl. In an open fishbowl, one chair is left empty. In a closed fishbowl, all chairs are filled. The moderator introduces the topic and the participants start discussing the topic. The audience outside the fishbowl listen in on the discussion.
In an open fishbowl, any member of the audience can, at any time, occupy the empty chair and join the fishbowl. When this happens, an existing member of the fishbowl must voluntarily leave the fishbowl and free a chair. The discussion continues with participants frequently entering and leaving the fishbowl. Depending on how large your audience is you can have many audience members spend some time in the fishbowl and take part in the discussion. When time runs out, the fishbowl is closed and the moderator summarizes the discussion.

In a closed fishbowl, the initial participants speak for some time. When time runs out, they leave the fishbowl and a new group from the audience enters the fishbowl. This continues until many audience members have spent some time in the fishbowl. Once the final group has concluded, the moderator closes the fishbowl and summarizes the discussion.
Advantages: An advantage of a fishbowl conversation is that it is suitable for large groups. Another advantage is that they lessen distinctions between the speakers and the audience. These two reasons have made fishbowls popular in participatory group meetings and conferences such as Open Space Technology and Unconferences. / source Wikipedia