Our approaches are applicable across a range of contexts, including schools, communities, workplaces and institutions, and across all levels of society, from families and disadvantaged groups to big business and government.
All our processes are led by skilled, accredited practitioners who use evidence-based trauma-informed, gender and culturally sensitive practice methods to create safe contexts that optimise participant and stakeholder involvement, empowering people to develop their own solutions.
The effectiveness of Cygnet’s mediation processes extends from conflict resolution between two people, to conflict transformation in complex multiple-party disputes in schools, communities and organisations.
Whilst conflict is an inevitable part of human existence, we recognise that for many, conflict is experienced as challenging, harmful and insoluble.
Because every conflict is unique, we endeavour to undertake a thorough assessment of each situation, by talking with all those involved in the conflict, and assisting them to map and clarify their primary concerns and issues. We then work with the participants to design the most suitable process to address their needs, drawing from conflict resolution, meditation and restorative practice frameworks.
Utilising neutral facilitation, our approach provides the opportunity for parties to transform conflict, by creating space for them to uncover the vital messages and unmet needs hidden within the conflict. Facilitators guide the parties through a structured process, ensuring that everyone has a chance to speak, and facilitating discussion that enables collaborative solutions.
Restorative Conferencing creates a safe context for people who have been harmed and people who have caused harm to come together to understand and address the impacts of damaging acts or behaviours. It offers the opportunity to interrupt destructive trajectories of trauma and recurrent harm, by harnessing potential for the restoration of wellbeing, safety, and community integration, though the development of understanding that enhances the sense of common humanity.
Unlike traditional punitive approaches, restorative processes give people who have been harmed a voice and enable them to input into decisions around how to repair the damage done. Those who have caused harm, have the opportunity to hear the impacts of their actions in a personalised and humanising way. Participation in restorative conferencing is voluntary for all parties.
‘Conversation, more than any other form of human interaction, is the place where we learn, exchange ideas, offer resources and create innovation.' Art of Hosting’ website: http://www.artofhosting.org/what-is-aoh/
Cygnet is committed to supporting social, organisational, community capacity-building and collective impact, through the facilitation of open, meaningful group conversations that invite people to collaboratively take charge of the challenges they face. In this context, conversation becomes an ‘intervention’ that raises consciousness and enables improved group functioning and well-being through co-creative problem solving.
As ‘hosts’, we strive to ensure that all participants feel welcomed as guests who are supplied with all that they need to make their conversations fruitful. We draw on the powerful suite of conversational processes and practices, following principles that maximise participation and collective intelligence, welcome and connect diverse perspectives, and support conflict transformation.
Hosted events unfold across three stages:
PREPARATION: Working with the event holder or community of concern to develop a clear purpose for the conversation, design a compelling invitation and prepare a welcoming space.
DESIGNING THE INTERVENTION: Evaluating the knowledge, capacities, and priorities of the participating community, identifying what type of conversation is needed to meet the group’s needs and selecting the hosting methods which will best create conditions for the participants to work well together.
THE EVENT: Guiding the conversational process to support participation and group integration, helping the group to understand what it is discovering and capturing the group learnings (known as ‘the harvest’) though a range of mediums.
Elements that we use when designing tailored conversational events include:
CIRCLES: The circle is the basic template for all other forms of participatory process. Widely used by First Nations and traditional cultures, circles represent a respectful approach that enables a sense of communion and interconnectedness. Circles can be particularly helpful for getting to know each other and capturing the range of issues at hand. They also provide an effective means for deep reflection or consensus making.
WORLD CAFÉ: This approach brings together small groups of people to converse around tables, in a café style setting. Discussion is focussed through questions formulated to draw out the wisdom of the group around topics that matter to them. By encouraging participants to rotate to different tables, threads of the various conversations are woven together, yielding harvests that reveal what the group is thinking and feeling about particular topics.
OPEN SPACE TECHNOLOGY: ‘Open Space’ allows participants to take control of discussion, problem-solving, and meaning-making, by opening space for group members to rotate freely between groups discussing various participant-initiated questions or proposed solutions. This process maximises participant enthusiasm, personal by-in and collaboration.
APPRECIATIVE ENQUIRY: By taking focus from a positive affirmative question Appreciative Enquiry harnesses discussion of positive experiences to uncover possibilities for moving forward into the future we want to create. This dynamic approach taps into the latent capacity of the group to create successful outcomes.
Cygnet recognises that each organisations have specific needs which may not fit within standardised programs. We can tailor trainings on relationship skills, social emotional learning, peacebuilding, trauma responsive practice, Aboriginal cultural awareness and leadership, to suit the needs of your organisation.
Cygnet also provides opportunities for young people, volunteers, and students who wish to develop their practical skills across a range of areas relevant to our organisation.
Please contact us to discuss training opportunities to suit the needs of your team or organisation.
In engaging Cygnet’s expertise on a fee-for-service basis you are making a valued contribution to the economic stability and well-being of our organisation and supporting us to offer our services and undertake projects for the benefit of the greater community.
We believe that the services we offer should be available to everyone, so when you seek to engage Cygnet’s services we will endeavour to work out a fee structure that balances the energy we put in with the level of remuneration you or your organisation can afford.
We also welcome donations from those who wish to support Cygnet’s peacebuilding work in the community.
We appreciate and welcome your involvement with Cygnet and hope that it will provide a foundation for ongoing relationship and collaboration.
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