Chris Corrigan and I were recently in Calgary running an Art of Hosting training together and the professionalization of the field of engagement, facilitation and hosting came up. It provoked some thoughts about certification, IAP and the role of training events like the Art of Hosting in the bigger picture. The video blog speaks a lot to why we call it the ART of Hosting, why we have resisted certification of the Art of Hosting and why we must make this work widely available as a human practice rather than a professional field.
Recently there has been an excellent exchange of resources on the Art of Hosting email list around how evaluation connects to the work of participatory leadership. I hope you find these resources and reflections as useful as I have. I have separated the content based on the person that contributed to make it a bit more accessible. Check it out below.
Here are a few resources that have been meaningful for me:
The New Directions for Evaluation Journal (special issue on evaluation and facilitation)
The Guide to Evaluating Collective Impact
Also here is a resource that Miranda Cobb and I created as an introductory toolkit for community-based, participatory and developmental evaluation last year.
"In my experience, so much of what Developmental Evaluation does is already naturally embedded within Art of Hosting practices, especially if there is a strong and rigorous harvesting strategy, so I'd suggest syncing up at this level with the evaluation team (otherwise needless overlap can occur)."
We are doing lots of developmental evaluation connected to many of the hosting projects of the Future Services Institute in Minnesota. But most are 'under construction.'
Kathy Quick and I have done a few articles that are more theory building / basic research. One is published in a journal, another in a book chapter, and another forthcoming. I've attached them here:
Another form of harvesting that we did is an e-book from how Art of Hosting was implemented throughout our University system. It can be found here: http://conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/155523
There's a distinction to be made based on what are you evaluating. Do you want to know: how effective the program is that uses hosting? Or how hosting works? Whether the event was hosted well and whether hosting was the right approach?
Depending on your answer, I'm listing resources below. And of course, I am open to a conversation (DrRita@ritafierro.com), if you feel like you're swimming and need support.
A distinction is needed between evaluating the effectiveness of programs using participatory leadership (how effective the program is), publications on participatory leadership and evaluation (publications on the area above), research on participatory leadership practices (how participatory leadership works), and evaluation of participatory leadership practices (how well participatory leadership works).
1) EVALUATING PROGRAMS USING PARTICIPATORY LEADERSHIP - how effective the program is
I've been combining participatory leadership practices in evaluation for several years now and training on the topic for the past four years, including three years at the American Evaluation Association.
Currently, one of the developmental evaluations I am conducting is of a trauma training for police officers and community members in Newark, NJ, which began with a community visioning process for the best role for police in the face of violence in community--Using World Cafe and Circle Practice. We are using developmental evaluation to track the increased mutual understanding between police and community especially on issues of race.
More on the added value that participatory leadership provides to evaluation on my blog: Seven Great Reasons to Use Participatory Leadership in Evaluation.
2) PUBLICATIONS ON PARTICIPATORY LEADERSHIP AND EVALUATION - publications of program effectiveness
I also co-edited an issue: Evaluation and Facilitation in the New Directions in Evaluation Journal that digs into these issues more deeply.
If you're interested in purchasing it, you can a discount here, or contact me. The issue includes my article:
Enhancing Facilitation Skills: Dancing with Dynamic Tensions
As for the use of complexity theory in Evaluation there are two articles I wrote for Better Evaluation on:
- Using SenseMaker in Child-Centred Research
- Using SenseMaker to Understand Girls' Education in Ethiopia
3) RESEARCH on PARTICIPATORY LEADERSHIP PRACTICES - how hosting works
Jodi Sanfort has been a leader here and links to her articles are in the section above with her name.
4) EVALUATING PARTICIPATORY LEADERSHIP PRACTICES - how well an event or training was hosted
This is the area that is least developed, and that is growing. In the above mentioned journal there is one article on an
Evaluation of Participatory Leadership practices:
Invisible and Unbound? The Challenge and Practice of Evaluating Embedded Facilitation 107 by Jessica Dart, Megan Roberts
Further, in researching for the journal I found four reports on evaluations of Art of Hosting - but it's mainly evaluating the impact of trainings:
- Practicing the Art of Hosting Report
- AOH Success Works Evaluation Report
- Cultivating Change in the Academy
I hope this helps.
Just before leaving the event in Slovenia Mary Alice Arthur interviewed me. Here is what I had to say in response to her questions about Participatory Leadership, practice and where the work is going from below. You can see a full harvest from this excellent event here and here's the link to the summary of the track Toke and I ran together 'Making An Honourable Living'.
Right before me my friend, mentor and co driver for the trip Slovenia was interviewed too on similar questions. Here is what he had to say ...
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