Structure and Exercises

These articles take what we might call a narrower look: a more precise description of the issues of structure and design.

My idea was to write something brief and simple: structure as a way of looking at groups and gatherings and relationships and organisations, to illuminate some of the work (and play) I have done and have used to relate to these settings. Then to list and describe some of the exercises I have used, and seen others use, in these situations. And then to say a word about design.

But of course (again!), silly me. A huge amount has been said and written, and needs to be, about social structures. How could I possibly cover this briefly?


None the less:

I want to present an approach to this area and to thinking about it, if we’re going to change for the better what goes on around us, and inside us too - and we won't succeed in doing one without the other. Another, somewhat different,  point: structure is often seen as fixed, or set from above. But from my perspective, it has a narrative, and this can be developed by the people within it. Especially of course now with the huge development of internet communication. But this has its own problems. I shall attempt a consideration of this complicated matter in 'Destination'. 

Co-operative structures and collective decision-making are the terms I have been using, and want to firmly establish.

So I shall follow my plan, I hope still somewhat briefly and simply. Structure; Exercises; and Design: - with Design actually being titled Design and Politics and including references and links to many co-operatives and writings about them - the co-operative movement is a lot more developed than is widely recognised.

(NB - As already emphasised, my central purpose in setting up this website was to make accessible the various articles describing work with organisations, mature students, performing groups, all relating to co-operative structures and collective decision-making. If you got this page through Google, PLEASE look at the rest of the website too - related articles are in "History and Design of Courses' and in 'Performance Group... etc', also in 'Destination' and some pictures in 'FGA' and 'Groups and Organisions' in 'Gallery' - easy to find on navigation bar)


1. Structure - -

I shall attempt to illustrate what structure is, as it relates to the interactions between people, in the limited context of learning events. The Assembly Structure. Gunnar Hjelholdt's work and the Mini-Society. The 'Danish Design', which we used often at the Poly. And Ricardo Semler, who wonderfully transformed his company Semco into a co-operative.

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2. Exercises -

A brief theory of how exercises work plus a few listed and some sources. Special reference to Keith Johnstone.

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3. Design and Politics -

Design as the setting up of a situation in a learning event which works as an image: through which both ones own inner landscape and the outer social landscape can be explored. The aim being to learn ways of change. Structure and politics. The Greens as having great potential - though not as yet, in my view, clearly enough articulated or publicly manifested. Also, references and links to many co-operative organisations - the co-operative movement has developed a lot, world-wide. And the raising of a vital issue: the lack of experience in our society of relating co-operatively.

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Design Guidelines - -

My friend Larry Butler suggested I might write a guideline on how to design an exercise. My first reaction was, no, I want people to do that themselves...

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