I'm a committed advocate, convener and facilitator of participatory forums for building community and making local and national democracy more relational, inclusive and deliberative.
I work as a consultant advising and supporting local authorities to empower and bring the public into decision making processes. My role is to make sure that it's not just people's votes that count but also their voices and I design fair, democratic processes to do just that.
My interest in group work, facilitating, deliberation and dialogue began when I was working with various democracy campaigns in the early 2010s. I have always been motivated by the conviction that with good facilitation and participation communities can work through their differences to arrive at mutually beneficial solutions.
I am one of the board members of the US based CII (Co-intelligence Institute), which works to promote awareness of co-intelligence, and of the many existing tools and ideas that can be used to increase it. I work closely with CII colleagues such as Tom Atlee (founder of the insitute) and Rosa Zubizarreta (relational facilitation expert of diapraxis.com). The CII’s motto is a conviction and inquiry that underpins its work: “Together we can be wiser than any of us can be alone. We need to know how to tap that wisdom.”
Professionally in the UK, I have been involved in the design and implementation of numerous projects commissioned by local authorities. They include Newham’s Community Assemblies, Newham’s Democracy and Civic Participation Commission, Redbridge Community Hubs Public Engagement, and Lewisham’s Serious Violence World Cafes.
In terms of deliberative democracy, I have worked as a lead facilitator or facilitator with a variety of the UK’s leading participation organisations (MutualGain, Shared Future, Involve, Democratic Society, Natcen) on projects, such as:
• The Future of Britain after the EU Referendum Deliberative Polling
• Scottish Government Digital Ethics Panel
• Jersey’s Citizens’ Jury on Assisted Dying
• Kingston Air Quality Citizens’ Assembly
• Newham Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change
• North of Tyne Combined Authority Citizens' Assembly on Climate Change
• Stevenage Citizens’ Panel on Climate Change
• Coventry Citizens’ Assembly on Arts and Culture
• The Social Housing Tenants’ Climate Jury
• Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly
• Citizens’ Assembly on Democracy in the UK
• Kensington and Chelsea’s Future of High Streets public engagement
I'm also a big believer in the potential for digital democracy to inform better decision-making and I have designed various engagements using the Pol.is interactive survey tool. This has included co-designing the Austrian national Citizens' Climate Council. I provide consultancy for Polis through the Crowd Wisdom Project and I am part of the International Cultural Relations Research network where I provide advice on the use of digital democracy tools.
When I'm not doing democracy and participation-related projects I enjoy swimming, cycling and gardening.
My past life!
I used to be a Buddhist Monastic and I spent 9 years in a monastery of the Tibetan Kagyu lineage in France where I accomplished a traditional 3 year meditation retreat. Following this I went on to complement my knowledge of the Eastern traditions by learning about Western psychology. I have been giving Mindfulness courses, retreats and workshops to the general public, in diverse communities and in business environments since 2012.