Community Assembly workshop

Sketch of show garden with assembly area

A very rough sketch of the proposed Community Assembly garden

Online workshop today about Community Assemblies, which are at the heart of a garden design I’m working on

Trust The People ran an online workshop about Community Assemblies. Their manual is available here. These are my outline notes.


Create space for reflective discussion & learning

  • Ideas generation
  • Decision making for the community
  • Direct action
  • Feedback & evaluation mechanism
  • Community connection, resilience building

Self selecting, local cf Citizens Assembly


  • Lead facilitators
  • Lead notetaker
  • Succinct & enticing question
  • Barriers to engagement

“How might we…” questions, a useful tool.

3 Phases

Equal time for each phase, eg 2 hours, 40 minutes each phase

  1. Set-up phase
  2. Deliberation
  3. Integration

1. Set-up phase

  • Hand signals: point, technical point, agree, clarification, speak up, round up
  • History - flatpack democracy, los indignados
  • Inclusivity statement. Invite people to testify “What brought you hear today?” 2 min max. Woman speaking first.

We value all voices equally in the assembly, as the aim is to hear the wisdom of the crowd gathered here and not to have the assembly dominated by individual voices or groups. We recognise that confident speakers are not always right and that those who are not confident speakers will often have the most useful ideas or opinions to put into the discussion. This is why we value all voices equally and we ask you to do the same. We do not tolerate any calling out, abuse or shaming and should conflicts arise in this way, there is a conflict resolution in place to resolve this. We welcome all people but not all behaviours

  • 3 pillars
    1. Radical inclusivity
    2. Active listening
    3. Trust the process
  • Frame the Assembly
    • State question
    • Explain results destination
    • Introduce the input (info)
    • Explain deliberation phrase

2. Deliberation phase

  • Breakout groups of 5-10
  • Using hand signals
  • Ensure feedback required is clear
  • Group facilitator
  • Group note taker

3. Integration phase

  • Lead faciliator calls breakout notetakers to front
  • Lead notetaker feeds results to destination