Why train for conflict engagement?
To be effective in workplace and community contexts where diversity is more than just a slogan, leaders need to become skillful in creating spaces where truths can be spoken, differences in perspective and worldview can find legitimate ways into conversations, and pragmatic ways forward can be co-created across differences.
When a group comes together, even when it looks homogenous in most ways, divergent views inevitably emerge. When differences in identity and lived experience underlie these views, the divergence can be experienced as particularly painful. It has been said that the path to equity and decolonization is paved with conflict. This includes conflict among those who try to work together towards social justice. In fact, social change spaces are often fraught with conflict, because the issues are real and those who are engaged care deeply.
This training is part of an effort to create healthier, more relational, more productive, and more rewarding spaces for individuals committed to walking the long path towards justice, equity and decolonization. The premise of the course is that strong facilitative leadership skills are a key part of this equation, and the course focuses on introducing a set of pragmatic lenses and tools for those who hold spaces for this kind of work.
About the Course
Below the Surface: Foundations of Conflict Engagement is based on the Lewis Deep Democracy CoResolve model, based in process-oriented psychology and further developed in post-apartheid South Africa. It is currently practiced in over 20 countries around the world. Deep Democracy is a psychologically based facilitation methodology particularly useful for working with relationship and group dynamics that are emotionally charged or marked by difference, power dynamics and invisibilized beliefs. Waterline’s offering grounds participants in practices that acknowledge and work with systemic, positional personal power by drawing on various spiritual and artistic traditions.
This course gives you the theoretical background, instructions, experiential learning opportunities, and long-term support that you need to begin using the most powerful and essential tools of Deep Democracy in your leadership.
The skills gained in the course will be directly applicable to leadership of committee meetings, the facilitation of challenging conversations, and convening of community events. The course also gives your group a low-stakes, facilitated opportunity to work with live conflicts as they emerge.
What We Cover
1. A Lens for Understanding Group Dynamics
Much of what happens in a group is invisible to its leaders. We may be aware that parts of the organization are disengaged, or that some members of our team are actively working against one another. But we may not know how our leadership impacts group dynamics or what role we can play to address and prevent interpersonal challenges without getting bogged down in their complexities. Based on psychological insights, an understanding of systems of oppression, and a trauma-informed approach, Below the Surface offers a clear lens for reading the fabric of a group that makes it significantly easier to helpfully intervene.
2. Skills for Steering Discussions and Making Lasting Decisions
Most of organizational life happens in meetings, and many of us go to too many unproductive meetings. Too often conversation circles at the surface, leaving the elephant in the room untouched. Many groups struggle with making decisions, or they make decisions that don’t get implemented and are constantly revisited. We teach a simple set of 4 steps that can be used by meeting leaders to guide conversations, avoid the common traps of human miscommunication, engage even the quietest voices, bring out and work with dissent, and make more intelligent, creative decisions.
3. Tools for Engaging with Tensions and Harvesting the Fruit of Conflict
Often we are not aware of conflict until it is erupting in our team, organization or society. Though it often feels like it comes out of nowhere, conflicts usually build up slowly over time, and if diagnosed early can be handled with ease. Timely conflict engagement should be encouraged because once the energy of conflict is released, teams become far more innovative and efficient, while individuals learn, grow and improve their relationships in the process of exploring their differences. In this course, we offer a theory of conflict and practice a step-by-step process for safely working with tension.
What you take with you:
You leave the 4 half-day training with:
● A set of transparent metaphors and mental frameworks for understanding the psychology of teams and organizations and for reading the fabric of the group
● A coherent understanding of how conflict emerges and strategies for preventing conflict escalation
● A simple 4-step approach to facilitation productive discussions and avoiding common pitfalls in group communication
● A step-by-step approach to dealing with a polarized issue one-on-one with a colleague, client, or partner
● A model for inviting and hosting a group debate as tension arises in conversation
● An alternative decision-making mechanism for groups and individuals that is more efficient than a vote and less time-consuming than consensus building
● Opportunities to practice the method on emerging issues or
tensions relevant to you
Waterline is a registered workers cooperative with members on unceded Coast Salish lands (Vancouver) and Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia). We focus on conflict engagement training and consulting. We bring together wisdom from multiple traditions. These include Lewis Deep Democracy and Mindell’s Process Work, along with decolonial, liberatory and anti-oppressive learning. To support safe and lasting change, our approach is anchored by trauma-informed embodiment practices. Waterline Workers Cooperative offers leadership development with a focus on people.
Camille Dumond (she/her) is a settler of Indo-Caribbean and French-Irish descent living on unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy̓ əm(Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlil̓ilw̓ ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) peoples. Her practice is as a conflict and group facilitator, trainer and somatic trauma therapist. She thinks our global moment calls us to take a fierce, principled stance, while nurturing a heart that can include our own and others' pain. Camille co-founded the Refugee Livelihood Lab with Nada Elmasry to amplify the impact of leaders with lived experience of forced displacement and migration. She is principal at Dignity Facilitation and co-founded Waterline Cooperative.
Aslam Bulbulia is a new settler on xwməθkwəy̓ əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɁɬ / sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) land from South Africa, with Indian heritage. He has a background in Political Science and Philosophy and during postgraduate studies explored city planning, Islamic law and spirituality, user-centred design and decoloniality. He is principal at Shura Consulting & Engagement. He has worked on a wide variety of projects that range from teaching and arts organizing to various positions within local and provincial governments in South Africa and Canada. He has a Certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement from SFU where he serves as an advisor, and serves on the faculty of Inner Activist. He has previously led Community Engagement Initiatives at the SFU's Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies, and co-hosted the RADIUS Fellowship.
What People Say About the Course:
“The CoResolve course with Aslam and Camille was deep and powerful, facilitated with deep care and authenticity. The tools and ideas are simple and their practice is infinitely complex, and the course held space for all of this. Unforgettable and unmissable. It had an immediate impact on me and on my practice.”
C Camman, he/they, Evaluation Consultant,
“I am a senior organization development practitioner with many years of facilitation, mediation and conflict resolution training and practice. However, I was drawn to Deep Democracy and Co-Resolve because of the unique paradigm of the process that encourages the uncovering and amplifying of differences, in service of giving a voice to all and ensuring decisions arrived at are real decisions that can truly be committed to by all. It was invaluable
for me to do this training with two of my leadership team colleagues. As a result we are exploring ways to bring this methodology to the teams of consultants we lead. “
Dr. Yabome Gilpin-Jackson, she/her, Vice-President, People, Equity and Inclusion, Simon Fraser University
Reserve a spot below in either the November online course, or the January in-person!
Solidarity rate: $720
Full-cost rate: $1,000
Redistribution rate: $1,500
Waterline offers our courses on a wide sliding scale. Our sliding scale is an intentional effort to redistribute resources equitably between organizations and communities we work with. Paying at the higher end of the scale - the Redistribution rate - makes it possible to offer scholarships and lower course costs to others.
One scholarship position is available for this course, it will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and can be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org - a nominal fee of $100 will be charged to ensure commitment and cover fixed costs.
All fees in CAD. Full refunds issued if cancellation is made 30 days before the start of the course. 50% refunds issued if cancellation is made 7 days before the course. No refunds issued if cancellation is made 24 hours before the course. Registration may be deferred in case of emergencies.
This work occurs on the unceded, stolen lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish Nation), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation)