From Restorative Communities, to Restorative Cities to Restorative States

“My approach to building “restorative communities” is centred on the belief that global change occurs at the local level.”
(Lee Rush, speaker from the US)

Can you imagine an office for victims that is accessible to the community citizens? An office that will provide for direct services such as “counselling, financial assistance timely and other supplemental resources needed to overcome trauma”? Lamika Wilson, our speaker from the US is working towards actualising this vision.

Doesn’t this sound like an initiative that every restorative city can benefit from? Even though Lamika thinks here about Albany New York, perhaps there will soon be no bounds to the establishment of such offices. Her goal is to “advocate for our most vulnerable population and high priority citizens”. With that, she pays special attention to those people who have historically been left behind – but not in our restorative cities, of course! Check out her talk if you want to hear more about concrete plans.

Speaking of concrete plans… you also shouldn’t miss our next American speaker on the topic of restorative cities, Dr Sandra Pavelka (US). Sandra will share her research in which she found “a majority of states in the US have incorporated restorative justice in statute or code that include general provisions and intent, practices, funding and evaluation.”

Looks like the legislative effects of the restorative cities-movement are already kicking in, and not only in Europe but also in the US! Sandra’s presentation will examine the state of Colorado as a ‘model state’, which notably implements systemic reform by integrating restorative justice principles and practices in law and policy.

If you’re seeking for more hands-on advice and some practical methodology to support the transition to restorative cities, make sure to catch Lee Rush, our expert from America. His presentation will equip us with a better understanding of how to create “economies of compassion”. The methodology required to achieve this kind of – friendly, and very pleasantly sounding – economies, is called “A Small Group” methodology. If you’re curious to learn more, say hi on his Website justCommunityLee is in the role of Executive Director!

Culture change starts in schools: Meet the international changemakers behind the movement

„Empathy: The heart of difficult conversations”

This is the first sentence you encounter on Michelle Stowe’s Website of the initiative she runs, called Connect RP. Michelle is one of our Irish presenters at the virtual conference RJ World 2020. More than 20 speakers from 7 different countries will be sharing their experience and insights around implementing Restorative Practices sustainably in the education sector. Speakers provide insight into primary schools, secondary schools and even beyond the bounds of the classroom! Check out Michelle’s Ted Talk to get a feel for the transformative potential of a restorative connection between students and teachers.

Gail Quigley, an Australian elementary school principle with a passion for social justice states: “I believe RJ is the golden ticket to overcoming inequality the world faces today!” In her presentation, she will explain how giving the children a voice in a mostly adult dominated environment obsessed with behaviourism, is necessary to create a just society. For her, and all our presenters on the topic of schools, schools are the place where future citizens are moulded. Thus, it is CRUCIAL to start in the classroom if we aim to see more positive relationships in our communities, families, workplace, organisations and all institutions.

Anna Gregory and Terence Bevington, both from the UK, will present their book chapter in Getting More Out of Restorative Practices in Schools. Anna and Terence explore the use of Restorative Practices through the lens of peacebuilding. Both presenters understand the progression of Restorative Practice as “something to help with behaviour management through to its potential to build culture.” Their talk is for everyone interested in how creative practices such as “Theatre of the Oppressed” help to create a “(…) culture of positive space”.

If you are interested in learning more about creativity and arts in the classroom, you will also LOVE Talma Shultz’s workshop. Talma is an experienced developer and facilitator of education programmes in the US, who integrates neuroscience, psychology, pedagogy and the arts grounded in equity and inclusion. The emphasis of her presentation is how to establish “creative arts as ways of knowing and being in community through circle.”

And also, check out our other posts about the topic “RESTORATIVE SCHOOLING”:
Restorative Practice in Schools- For, or beyond behaviour management?
The disputed concept of (school-) culture
Teaching and Learning after Covid?!