RJ World 2020 brought together people from restorative justice and restorative practice initiatives from across the world. Presenters recorded interviews and share them to the eConference website to be viewed throughout the duration of the conference. Delegates interacted via Zoom and text.
The 700 delegates have spoken of being re-inspired, challenged, amazed and energised. Here are some of the reflections that have come in.
Thank you so much for an amazing event!
Joakim Hope Soltveit, Norway
The theme that stood out for me through the conference was that restorative work is an expansive continuum. The RJ World 2020 Conference beautifully brought out the multipronged potency of restorative work. The continuum begins with how we relate to ourselves, extends to our relationships, and to transforming systems.
Arti Mohan, India
The format was fantastic – I’m in Australia so a very different time zone to most. I really appreciated the opportunity to engage with so much of the content without having to get up in the middle of the night.
Lucy Evans, Australia
Thank you so much for this incredible offering. I feel affirmed, energized, encouraged and inspired. RJ around the world is happening, yahoo!
The quality and variety of speakers was sensational . I also appreciated that I could leave feedback on a presenter’s wall and read the feedback of others. The Chat Wall was almost like the chat over a cuppa at the break at a conference where important reflection time, sharing – and connecting with others occurs. It has been an amazing 10 days and my head is swirling with ideas but almost as important my soul has been fed.
An amazing eConference, with a great variety of speakers. It was a most enriching experience
Upneet Lalli, India
Read Arti Mohan’s review of RJWorld 2020 “Reflecting on the Continuum” at the EFRJ blog
“This was a space for people in different parts of the world to connect with restorative practitioners and academics of all levels of experience, including many people whose work I have deeply admired but never got a chance to engage with before.”
“Despite being a virtual event, the conference created space for dialogue and connection through the comments section and the live sessions. The virtual nature of the event may have rendered it more accessible owing to the reduced investments needed by participants in terms of travel, finances, and time. Participants could engage with captivating speakers from the comfort and safety of their own homes/offices.”
It brought together world experts on a topic that really needs more air time within the general public. I think if these experts from different countries can unite to share information and work together constructively, it is much more powerful and in effect would help spread the word on RJ more rapidly throughout the globe.
I think this has changed the face of international and probably national conferences!
Brilliant inspirational content. Spent the week fitting my life around all the powerful speakers. So much to take away.
RJ world is a global RJ village, with a compendium of knowledge. It should be an annual event.
Professor Don John Omale
It was an amazing experience!
Dr Sandra Pavelka
I can’t say enough to express how well organized and truly informative I found this conference. I watched every presentation… a widespread topic base, professionally presented, informative beyond any conference I’ve ever attended… Thank you for organizing it, I can’t believe how rejuvenated I feel and how much I’m taking away from this event.
I have learnt so much, my understanding and practice has definitely developed exponentially as a result. It was an amazing and very impactful experience, thank you!
I really like the variety this type of format. It gives so many voices the opportunity the be heard.
It was wonderful to have so many presenters in RJ world and because it was virtual it had it’s own advantage.
I made wonderful connections with other speakers and met two people… that I have since Zoomed with so I am thrilled to have met new colleagues. I would love to do it all again. Thanks so much!
Leaf Seligman, Canada
RJ World would like to thank the many co-sponsors who made this groundbreaking event possible.
Our wonderfully young but wise Annagrete comes to us from Estonia. She has worked with youth at risk in diferent fields and gave lectures in Universities for over 14 years. She now works as a service manager in Victim support and her responsibility is Restorative Justice and mediation. Annagrete also studied social work, social pedagogy and child care.
What will Annagret share with us in her presentation?
She will give us an overview of the challenges and sucessses of implementing Restorative Justice in Estonia in the last years. Next to finding a system of volunteers, the time of Covid-19 gave opportunity to develop Restorative Practice further. Especially, since we all were forced to think and look outside the box. Annagrete explains: “In Covid-19 time there were restorative discussion-circles online and after restrictions there were restorative discussion-circles in real life.” In her presentation, she will create a magical space dedicated to storytelling of people who took part in Restorative Practice initiatives.
Meanwhile, to get ready for her talk, you can check out a post which is part of the #SolidarityOverDistance series by the EFRJ (European Forum for Restorative Justice). The article with Annagrete is called “Discussion with Annagrete Johanson” – you’ll learn more about the influence of COVID-19 on Restorative Practice…
Mark Goodwin (UK)
Mark, our freelance teacher, trainer & coach has 20 years’ experience working across phases in a number of schools. He currently work in Alternative Provision with kids who are permanently excluded from school or at risk of exclusion, delivering a solutions focused coaching programme alongside key curriculum.
Moreover, he focusses on preventing kids being excluded by training staff in restorative and relational teaching approaches. He gracefully shared his Checklist focussing on“(…) how to go about building and maintaining effective relationships with young people to help them learn well.” Get free access to the checklist, which includes helpful tips, here: “The Cookie Jar Checklist“!
His main topic will address the controversial and questioned matter of Coronavirus in context of education. Mark states: “Reconnecting with young people after Covid after recent events, there will be hundreds of kids who feel disconnected from school, learning and even themselves. This will most keenly be felt by those who are already disadvantaged and marginalised.”
Mark will draw on his deepened experience and expertise in reconnecting excluded kids to learning. Hepromises to present what is required in the coming weeks and months to support a successful reconnection, including: – the mindset teachers need, – the learning kids can do, – the relationships that will be needed to be built.
He will share with us his approaches, which are based on: – meeting the kids where they are, – throwing a wide circle, – “I see you”, – “see the best part”, and – “check Yourself”
He also let us know that his talk is “full of practical advice and approaches that anybody working with young people can take away and use.”
Dr Belinda Hopkins (UK)
Please meet the fantastic lady who founded “Transforming Conflict“, a National Centre for Restorative Approaches in Youth and Community Settings, 25 years ago! The project “Transforming Conflict” turned out to meet an important social need, so that it now works with staff in children’s residential care, youth organisations and community care. Belinda is also a well-published author and restorative practitioner, trainer and consultant.
But that’s not all – Belinda pioneered the concept of a “whole-school restorative approach” across the UK in the early 2000’s! A true sage and visioner, she is. Moreover, she is on the EFRJ Values and Principles Working Party and is currently on their Training Committee.
What will Belinda share with us in her presentation?
Take a seat, and imagine this scenario…
“It is undeniable that schools worldwide, school communities are facing a ‘new normal’. After months of isolation and frightening news bulletins we are soon to return to strange new environments facing guidelines that keep people at a distance, hidden behind masks, unable to socialise. There is huge pressure to make up for lost time academically. Schools may be tempted to become even more authoritarian to bring students back in line after months away from the routines and rhythms of their school community.“
So what do we do in this case?
Belinda, together with Monica Alberti, will share a package of resources designed by UK restorative practitioners to support the mental and emotional health of the whole school community at this time of crisis. Before the talk, or during the talk – make sure you give this Website “www.restoreourschools.com” a visit! There, you learn more about “(…) How we plan for the return to the classrooms, playgrounds and corridors of schools.” You can also find help-full resources that support this journey.
Belinda was part of that original collective. Monica has been using the materials in Catalonia, working with the Catalan Department of Education to implement a restorative approach in schools not just as crisis intervention but for EVERY DAY.
So, sustainable, practical and informative take-away packages from these 3 speakers are guaranteed! See you there!
Joseph is the Program Director for the charity, calledRestorative Justice Housing Ontario. He also was the first Canadian to receive a Federal Prison sentence for insider trading. From prison, he went to working for a new registered charity, with the goal to assist ex-offenders.
Joseph’s Episode in “Voices Inside Out”
Joseph is the guest in John Howard’s podcast “Voices Inside and Out”. The aim of this podcast is to give a platform to those, who have experienced Canadas Criminal Justice System, so they can share their stories with the public. Joseph is the guest in a two-part episode.
For a little appetiser of what awaits you in episode one, read here:
“After a high-profile conviction for insider trading, finding employment after custody was a challenge for Joseph Lauren. He was handicapped both by a criminal record and a significant presence on google searches. This led to a change of name, starting his own consulting company, and “Collared” a documentary about his crime. Joseph shares with us his journey to earn a living, experiences in prison, and advice for others on how to make it after prison.”
What will Joseph share with us in his presentation?
He will discuss what miraculous event in prison led him from “a life making millions a year as a former lawyer and inside trader to now working as the first Program Director of Restorative Justice Housing OntarioRJHO.ca“(Restorative Justice Housing Ontario).
The plan of RJHO.ca, as they explain on their website is, to…
“(…) help people leaving prison become positive members of society by providing safe housing to those with no alternatives. We focus on people who could most benefit from such housing and who are motivated to change their lives. Our positive and supportive community of volunteers help ex‑offenders to transition back into everyday life, reducing the risk of re-offence and making our communities safer.”
In his workshop, Joseph will unapologetically name and talk about the struggle of trying to find safe housing that ex-offenders face. He will clearly outline the precarious position ex-imprisoners find themselves in, even as people that are fully committed to reform.
He will problematize the fact that these people cannot find housing on their own because of finances and discrimination tied to their criminal records – and that’s why support is desperately needed. Support, like from people like Joseph, and charities like RJHO.ca.
The magic of co-creation (making with others), design and gifting in situations of transition, harm and conflict…
Clair works as a creative practitioner alongside her profession as an accredited restorative justice practitioner. She is based in Scotland, where she combines her artmaking practice with her Restorative Justice work. From 2001-2007, she worked with Oxfordshire Youth Offending Service, England.
Space2face RJ Arts Oranisation
Currently, Clair channels her skills into the Restorative Arts Organisation, called Space2face in Shetland, Scotland. What is Space2face, you may ask? Well, I’m glad you ask:
This is how they introduce themselves on their website:
“Space2face is a restorative justice arts charity and a confidential and independent service. We work with those who’ve been harmed (victims) by crime and conflict, those responsible for causing harm (offenders) through crime and conflict, as well as all others affected by what has happened – the families and communities linked to those primarily involved.”
In 2016, Space2face received a Restorative Practice UK Award for their creative approaches to restorative justice (criminal justice category). And the best: Space2face is for EVERYONE! The organisation promises, “You don’t have to be creative or arty to use our service! We’ve just learned that through making, talking about difficult things is sometimes easier.” Definitely look through their page if this interests you: Space2face!
What is Clair going to share with us in her presentation?
Clair is in the final year of her PhD, which investigates whether a handmade gifted object can enable connections, or moments of convergence and solidarity across the space between people in Restorative Justice. …So basically, that means that she is researching the potential of self-made objects to connect people, in context of Restorative Justice.
In her workshop, she will share with us pieces from her PhD research in Restorative Justice and Design. It will quickly become evident, that Clair is very interested in language. Therefore, she is going to examine some of the words and phrases she has gathered to begin a discussion around language for speaking about the narratives of convergence (from ‘com’ – with, together + ‘vergere’ – to bend, turn, tend toward).
As part of the talk, Clair will show handmade objects gifted between participants in Restorative Justice encounters. Looking at these objects, you will hear through the artwork, the voices of the creators, and the moments of convergence they enabled, in part, through their objects. …”HEARING voices” through OBJECTS? This will truly be a holistic tickle for – at least two of- our senses!
Hungry to learn more about our wonder-full Clair? Click here: http://www.clairaldington.com/ This link is the entrance door to her fascinating projects, more pictures of her stunning drawings and you can even get a glimpse into her personal sketchbooks! Oh, and last but not least: Clair also runs her own scientifically-artsy blog!
Trauma awareness is important to restorative responses but there is less understanding on how to formally integrate it into practice. These eight RJ World speakers shed light on ways to work with individuals and communities facing trauma.
Kerri Quinn (USA)
Kerri Quinn has been a mediator, facilitator and peace weaver for 15 years. Concurrently an adjunct professor of organizational conflict resolution and leadership at Creighton University Law School and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, she is also partner and consultant for Restorative Way based in Colorado. The organization she passionately works for believes in weaving elements of empathy and accountability in a variety of settings ranging from schools to workplaces.
Recognizing the dire need for trauma-responsive restorative communication practices, she has developed specialized training for schools and victim advocates.
In her FIRST presentation she focuses on the underlying dynamics of conflict and language tools to pivot a conflict conversation to focus on the needs of the parties, understand the impact of conflict, and ultimately create lasting resolution. Her core area of trauma responsive restorative communication tackles conflict in a novel way.Viewing “conflict as an opportunity for rebuilding trust, mutual respect, and accountability” her work has been used throughout the USA in schools, correctional facilities, families for profit and non-profit victims’ organizations.
Her SECOND presentation explores the “unwanted bond” created when a person is harmed by another individual, the implications of such a bond and stages of trauma experienced by and offenders. Her captivating stories from high risk victim offender dialogues
Stories are shared from (murder and vehicular homicide cases) that successfully broke this bond and allowed for restoration and healing.
Kerri has facilitated over 1000 restorative intervention dialogues. Her work in building successful restorative justice programming has established her as a “restorative thought-leader” in the state of Colorado.
She is also the co-author of the book “Building Trauma-Responsive Restorative Cultures” (2018)
Leaf Seligman (USA)
Leaf Seligman is an author and restorative justice practitioner with a teaching experience of over thirty years. Moved by the feeling of disconnection, Leaf connected with the invisible in the society from a tender age and has since worked towards making the stories of the marginalised – prisoners be heard. Taking up teaching and writing to prisoners which has changed many lives.
Seligman takes us through her journey of disconnection and connection in this moving talk:
Seligman is a Trauma-informed, Empathy-based, Whole-self care practitioner and a co-founder of Monadnock Restorative Community and Cheshire County Restorative Justice Program. She has extensively published, one of her noted works being ‘From the Midway: Unfolding stories of Redemption and Belonging’ published in 2019. Here is an interesting video of a musically infused dramatic reading:
In her presentation, Seligman will be talking about The Importance of Tenderness: Cultivating Accountability and Community through trauma-informed, self-compassion. She will be addressing the critical need for a practical and compassionate approach to cultivate accountability, factoring in the widespread effects of trauma and the errant approach to justice that seeks to punish rather than understand. She will invite listeners to reflect on the challenge of developing compassion for self and others in the context of polarization, marginalization and collective anxiety. With warmth, humor and pragmatic tools, as an author, minister, educator and restorative justice practitioner, she wills to offer a pathway to greater connection, compassion and accountability necessary for a community restored to wholeness where everyone can flourish.
Representing Canada, Dr. Colleen Pawlychka is a faculty member at Douglas College, New Westminster, BC. She is also an affiliate of Restorative Justice International and a member of its Global Advisory Council. Her scholarship and research are interdisciplinary and are informed by practical experience in the fields of restorative justice and corrections.
Her presentation she discusses the phenomenon of Childhood Psychological Trauma (CPT). Often individuals carry their childhood emotional wounds with them into adulthood which may continue throughout their lifetime. She proposes healing CPT as essential for rehabilitation.
Through a series of in-depth interviews with former Canadian federal male prisoners who self-identified as having experienced CPT, she not only examines their experiences and highlights their voices but also emphasizes the critical role of community members in the rehabilitative process and the destructive impacts of excessively punitive correctional tactics. She has observed through her research that community-prisoner connection is integral to healing childhood psychological trauma, reflects trauma-informed, gender-responsive care, and constitutes a powerful, positive connection that should be encouraged as a rehabilitation strategy.
Colleen also facilitates experiential conflict resolution workshops and participates in weekly restorative justice circles in a BC federal prison. She also bridges the gap between community and prisoners, providing opportunities for criminology students and those who have experienced incarceration to learn directly from one another.
Urvashi Tilak (India)
Urvashi Tilak is the Director of the Restorative Justice Team at Counsel to Secure Justice (CSJ). She oversees the implementation of restorative justice work and practices of the organisation. CSJ, a non-profit based in India, serves and supports individuals and communities that have experienced trauma to ensure they are safe, heard, and receive true healing and justice. Counsel to Secure Justice (CSJ) is one of the few organisations working on developing restorative justice and practices in India.
CSJ works with children who have caused harm, providing psycho-social support and restorative talking circles in protective and custodial child care institutions. CSJ offers restorative justice and reintegration and healing processes for children. So far, CSJ has worked with 250 children in institutions, facilitated two restorative justice processes and held three reintegration processes for children who caused harm.
In her presentation, Urvashi proposes to discuss the journey of the Counsel to Secure Justice in establishing restorative practices in India. It will also discuss how CSJ has facilitated Restorative Justice processes and the learnings and challenges of offering restorative practices within Indian legal system.
As a Public Prosecutor from Brazil, Anna De Paula introduces us to peacemaking circles employed by her and her team to pay special attention to crime victims. Her presentation gives us valuable insights as to how to help and support crime victims even with budgetary restrictions. She also informs us about the importance of trauma awareness.
Geovana Fernandes (Brazil)
Geovana Fernandes holds a Masters in Law focusing on Restorative Justice. She is a Circles Facilitator, Mediator, Federal Justice Public Servant and Director of ADR’s Center. She discusses restorative justice from the lens of alternative dispute resolution. She proposes that restorative justice emerges as a new legal concept to mobilize a diversity of issues and knowledge.
Her present study aims to critically analyze the restorative approach in the context of the multi-door courthouse and from the inflows of the holistic paradigm, as an adequate method to solve conflicts that have generative potential due to traumas and sufferings, in order to allow the interruption of the destructive spiral and thus prevent the emergence of new conflicts.
Some foundations and goals of restorative justice are also going to be addressed, along with the role of narratives in the re-signification of traumatic experiences and how they can be used in restorative circles.
Finally, the potential of restorative justice for the development of mutual recognition will also be evaluated by her.
Claudia Christen-Schneider (Switzerland)
Claudia Christen-Schneider is the Founder and President of the Swiss RJ Forum. She is very active in promoting, developing and implementing restorative justice in Switzerland and also involved in the EFRJ’s values & standards committee.
For more information about Restorative Justice in Switzerland, please visit her website: www.swissrjforum.ch
Her presentation puts forth the idea that trauma-healing should form part of RJ’s practices. According to her RJ shares several commonalities with the concept of ‘trauma-informed care’, which aims to create an environment where professionals know about trauma and adapt their practice according to this knowledge. Both trauma-informed care and RJ seek to promote healing in trauma-survivors through empowerment, story-telling, building healthy and secure relationships and stimulating reconnection. However, according to available literature and conducted research, many RJ programs seemingly lack a trauma-informed approach.
She raises and addresses the question if RJ fails to live up to its own goals of providing a needs-based and healing form of justice. She also explains what it means to work trauma-informed with all stakeholders in a restorative process.
FRAUKE PETZOLD (Germany)
Frauke Petzold has been a practitioner of Restorative Justice in Germany for about 28 years. She served as the Board member of European Forum for Restorative Justice for 6 years. Frauke works with WAAGE Hannover E.V.. She supervises and coaches by training on Restorative justice mediation, conflict management and conflict resolution in Germany and all over Europe. Her focus areas are victim-offender-mediation in domestic violence cases.
Frauke believes that domestic violence cases need significant consideration to be given to the interests of victims which are worth protecting. These victims not only include direct victims of the violent act, but also children involved. In her presentation she will be discussing perspectives of the victims of domestic violence on dealing with trauma.
Written by RJ World guest authors Konina and Anwesha
Konina Mandal is an Assistant Lecturer at Jindal Global Law School, O.P Jindal Global University, India. Her research interests include criminology and criminal justice, criminal laws and corrections. She will be co-presenting with Anwesha Panigrahi, Assistant Professor at ICFAI Law School,Hyderabad, India.
Anwesha Panigrahi is presently positioned as an Assistant Professor at ICFAI Law School, Hyderabad, India. She has an LLM in Criminal Justice, Family and Social Welfare. Her research interests include criminal justice, prison jurisprudence and prison laws, corrections, criminal laws and procedure. She will be co-presenting with Ms. Konina Mandal.
Mission: “Advance restorative justice for children harmed by sexual harm and violence in India.”
CSJ (Counsel to Secure Justice) is an Indian organisation, with Nimisha Srivastava as the active Program Director. Urvashi, Kshipra and Arti are also part of this organisation and will be speaking at our RJ WORLD conference! CJS’s vision is to enable people who have experienced sexual abuse and other forms of violence in India to access justice systems that repair harm, empower the vulnerable, and reconcile broken relationships. The key in achieving this agenda lies in keeping each survivor’s needs central to the process. One of the key concerns of CSJ is to educate a local pool of trainers so they can facilitate circles themselves in a sustainable way. After the training, this project was implemented in collaboration with UNICEF, Rajasthan and the Department of Children’s Rights.
Circles. An extremely useful way to address such traumatizing experiences in a safe way is through circle processes. Let me share with you some insights in the form of short stories and the training of local trainers, starting with one of the numerous astonishing and touching circles done with children in Rajasthan. To protect people’s privacy, all names are replaced by pseudonyms. The case was a misdemeanour. Harm had been created. This harm was felt by every present soul. It was almost like an elephant in the room, which needed to be addressed. Both, Chandan (the harming person) and Shivani (the harmed person) were in one room together…
Feeling safe. Right in the beginning of the session, Shivani (the person harmed) could immediately feel the safe space created by the circle. The non-judgemental and humane environment enabled by both facilitators and participants allowed her to sit with her emotions and disappointments while being connected with others, instead of feeling isolated. She states, “I am sad and confused since I have not received court order, but here (in the circle) I feel I am safe.”
The crucial moment.One of the most powerful, and healing moments of the session was when Chandan (the person who had harmed) said sorry to Shivani. What lit up the whole room was the biggest smile everyone had seen on Shivani’s face, who had been close to tears until a second ago. What happened was that Shivani forgave Chandan. Now, both participants, Shivani and Chandan were connected by a huge and peaceful smile – a smile of acceptance. Simultaneously, a sense of relief was visible for all. Previous tension had vanished and was replaced by human connection.
Zivesh looked the person harmed in the eyes and said, “I am sorry”. The person harmed smiled and said, “It’s okay”.
Training. Sometimes, the only thing needed for healing to occur is a genuine apology, a look in the eyes and forgiveness. However, if reconciliation would be that easy to achieve, there would hardly be any need for training. In many cases, a restorative process involves many conversations between different stakeholders. The picture above is from the training done in Rajasthan, aiming to bring the values of CSJ closer to prospective local facilitators.
Going with the flow and personalized talking pieces.One of the important attributes a Restorative Justice facilitator must have is some degree of flexibility throughout the process. For example, there was a conversation scheduled between Ishan and his father. Just before the meeting, and since the whole family had come, they all wanted to meet him. Ishan gave his permission to speak about the facts in front of everyone. As a result, at the last minute, the facilitator of this session decided to let the process flow organically. This decision enabled the whole family to be part in the circle, in which a talking piece hand-made by Ishan’s sister was used (picture above). This way, the whole family could take part in the healing conversation and re-connect.
Taking Responsibility.One of the requirements before entering a restorative process is that the person who has harmed accepts the responsibility for the harm done. Sometimes many individual meetings are needed to help the person who has harmed own up to their actions. However, when this is achieved, a big step towards establishing justice and healing is taken. “If that person accepts his mistake, then there is no bigger justice than that,” one woman from the ABHAS (“Action Beyond Help and Support”) community group circle processes stated. She found that what is needed most is, “Saying sorry and realizing [the harm] would be enough for me, nothing else.” Circle processes are conducted over three months with women from the community. These sessions were closely examined and published in the study conducted by CSJ on Restorative Justice and Child Sexual abuse in India “Perspectives of Justice”.
…If you want to hear more exciting insight-stories from our three speakers from CSJ Urvashi, Kshipra and Arti, we would strongly recommend you sign up to our RJ WORLD CONFERENCE 2020…
“Restorative Cities aim at disseminating restorative values (inclusion, participation, respect, responsibility, solidarity, truth seeking, etc.) in different settings where conflict may occur, such as families, schools, neighbourhoods, sport organisations, work places, intercultural communities, etc. The final goal is to strengthen relationships, encourage active citizenship and look at conflict as an opportunity for change, rather than a threat.”
Alright, basically a broad scale, (or better city-wide) implementation of restorative values that encompasses all social institutions and cultures. Make sense? If not quite yet, this year’s RJ WORLD 2020 has tons of eloquent speakers, researchers and change-leaders from all over the world to flesh out the idea of Restorative Cities for us!
One of them is Chris Straker from the UK. He is a national and international conference speaker who worked with cities on strategic, city-wide, implementation of restorative values. He is also part of the international Working Group on Restorative Cities hosted by the EFRJ. The agenda of this working group is to “bring together different local experiences which have the intention of creating a cultural change with citizens who are empowered in their conflict resolution skills and decision making.”
In his workshop, Chris will inquire further into the meaning of living together restoratively. Part of his talk focusses on debunking myths behind the concept of restorative cities. To do so, he uses the UK as a backdrop for participants to explore their own ideas on what a restorative city means. Further, he will also introduce some models for restorative cities but he is particularly interested in using the opportunity of the conference to create dialogue.
Sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? Especially, since Restorative Practice only unfolds its full potential in conversation. The belief in the transformative potential of dialogue is perhaps the connecting element between all our speakers of this year’s RJ WORLD 2020 conference.
Three other presenters who are eager to structure their joint presentation according to this motto are Prof. Grazia Mannozzi & Gian Luigi Lepri & Chiara Perini from Italy. Grazia was the first chair of the EFRJ Working Group on Restorative Cities and Gian Luigi is the current chair of the same group. Their presentation will open a dialogic space in which both former and current chair have a conversation.
In this talk, they will firstly discuss the “conceptual transition from restorative justice theory to the elaboration of the idea of restorative cities” to give insight into potential gap between theory and practice. Secondly, challenges around restorative cities will be explored whilst shedding light on the reasons why this has become a pivotal theme in the action of the EFRJ. Lastly, the speakers will analyse the idea behind restorative cities with regards to their popularity concretely in Europe. But that’s still not all this workshop holds for us: After that, the speakers will apply a “SWOT Analysis” to current restorative cities- projects. This will serve to evaluate the project’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
If you, like me, are struggling to imagine how teaching after the pandemic will look and feel like for both students and staff, you shall not be disappointed by this year’s RJ WORLD conference. No worries- many international speakers are there to give us some support and guidance in our pondering about the “new normal”…
Mark Goodwin, from the UK, will tell us how to reconnect after this experience, the mindset teachers need, and the learning kids can do. And more importantly, the relationships that need to be built (spoiler: restorative relationships). He will equip us with practical tools that “anybody working with young people can take away and use.”
Dr Belinda Hopkins, an author from the UK, will explain how a Whole School Approach can ease the anxiety of “returning to strange new environments facing guidelines that keep people at a distance, hidden behind masks, unable to socialise.” Together with Monika Alberti, she will present a package of resources designed by UK restorative practitioners to support the mental and emotional health of the whole school community at this time of crisis.
Laura Mooiman’s presentation will also be of interest for you. Especially if you are aware that the current pandemic is not the only crises that needed, needs or will need our response. Laura is interested in creating a positive school culture that can face “(…) crises including earthquake, multiple student suicides, Napa wildfires, and student protests.” For her, the PBIS model is the answer, but more of that in her talk…!
If you’re interested to learn about Australia’s initiatives to implement Restorative Practice in schools, have a look at the Real Schools Academy, and even better: Listen to the CEO Adam Voigt tackle the question “How do we work on the culture of a school if we’re not sure what it [culture] is?” *Psssst… his book Restoring Teaching will be launched soon… You can save your copy now!!! *
Margaret Thorsborne, who has a history of experience with implementing Restorative Practice in different schools and organisations in Australia, US, UK, South East Asia and New Zealand will shed light on the concept of “deep culture change”. Her presentation might be the perfect accompaniment to Adam Voigt and his exploration of the meaning of school culture. Additionally, Margaret offers some helpful tools to assess the “readiness” for the introduction of Restorative Practice initiatives, using a relational approach. More can be found here: Ready4RP. She will also share her key findings from her experiences supporting a variety of organisations in their efforts to acquire a restorative mindset.
Tom Shaw, a teacher, researcher and senior leader from the UK, is part of developing the Restore Our Schools Project. Curated by “a restorative collective of researchers, practitioners and school leaders”, stakeholders plan together for the return to the classrooms, playgrounds and corridors of schools. He will introduce the astonishing CMCS (Carr Manor Community School) model. This model bucks several local and national trends: “It has had zero permanent exclusions for 14 years, consistently has the lowest rate of fixed term exclusions in Leeds, high staff retention and the lowest staff absence for stress in Leeds. Pupils self-report higher than city-wide measures on the annual well-being survey”. Curious to find out what’s behind this magical model? Don’t miss his talk!
Some leading experts understand the restorative approach in schools as a great way to manage behaviour. Amongst those is David Vinegrad, a well experienced trainer and conference facilitator in teacher education with wide ranging experience with international and Australian schools. Laura Mooiman, an international educational consultant based in the Netherlands, will share the insights as a project director for the Wellness Program and PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Support). The goal of PBIS, on which she will elaborate in her presentation, is to create “(…) systems and structures to prevent problem behavior, make students and staff feel safe, and shift staff mindset toward positive approaches to managing student behaviour.” If you want to learn more about this vision, check out her page: https://www.lauramooiman.com/about.
On the other side, some pioneers claim that a restorative approach can only unleash its full potential when thinking beyond, or outside behaviour management. Michelle Stowe, a name mentioned the Blogpost “Culture Change Starts in Schools“, explicitly articulates her passion to move “(…) conversations beyond ‘behaviour management’ and towards growing relational learning communities.”In her presentation, she will explore the concept of leadership as modelling. In her view, thinking restoratively informs “how we think, speak, share, listen, ask and show up, all day every day in our classrooms and beyond.”
Graeme George, like Michelle, regards Restorative Practice as a practice beyond its purpose to manage behaviour. He has been a teacher for 38 years and focusses on the “transformative element” inherent to a restorative mindset. He will illuminate what he calls a “(…) truly relational pedagogy around the school values, in which the community’s guiding values can be brought to life – and to bear – in the students’ and teachers’ lived experience.” If this sounds exciting, you can learn more on his Website RP for Schools!