What is a “CPR” workshop?

A CPR workshop stands here for connecting, probing, and reflecting. But a CPR workshop is more than that.

First, it has a topic or issue, which typically connects questioning of dominant directions in society with social movements that influence those directions. (In workshops I have been organizing the topics concern relationships between scientific/technological change and social change; e.g., NewSSC)

Second, a CPR workshop employs tools and processes for connecting, probing, and reflecting so that participants’ contributions to the topic or issue stretch them beyond their disciplinary or institutional boundaries, integrate theoretical, pedagogical, practical, political, and personal aspects of their relation to the topic/issue, and draw them into possible new collaborations.

Third, a CPR workshop provides opportunities for learning tools/processes or practicing facilitation of others in using them.

Fourth, a CPR workshop builds evaluation into every activity and use of a tool/process. Workshop participants as well as the facilitator of the activity take stock of the ways the purpose of the activity was fulfilled and document the activity and its evaluation so as to inform any adoption or adaption of the activity/tool/process as well as any clarification or revision of the purpose.

Fifth, a CPR workshop provides support for translation of activities/tools/processes, of connections made (intellectually and inter-personally), and of contributions to the topic/issue. One dimension of that support is that the experience of pursuing these five objectives with others in a CPR workshop buoys participants’ enthusiasm, hope, resolve, and courage for creating change and making transitions in situations that may–at least at first–feel far from the spirit of the CPR workshops. One aspects of creating such an experience is that the CPR workshop is a space that, while keeping in view the realms of critical academic work and participation in social movements, is separate from them; producing products and coming to agree on actions is not primary.

(adapted from http://wp.me/p1gwfa-mk)

In that sense a CPR workshop has been called an open space, but for some that term has specific connotations of all the participants deciding what it is they need to do in that place and time and through what collective processes. A CPR workshop, in contrast, begins with a scaffold in which activities, whether preplanned by the organizers or generated by participants during the workshop, embody respect for participants by building in openings for everyone to explore and affirm their own generativity, to take themselves seriously. CPR, for connecting, probing, and reflecting, is thus a better descriptor of the quality of these workshops.


About Peter J. Taylor
Peter Taylor teaches and directs programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society at the University of Massachusetts Boston. He studies the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context as well as innovation in teaching, group process, and interdisciplinary collaboration (see bit.ly/pjtaylor). He is especially interested in conversations with others who are, in diverse ways, "troubled by heterogeneity" (bit.ly/tbhblog)

2 Responses to What is a “CPR” workshop?

  1. Pingback: Modes of creative learning in microworlds, messyworlds, and the real world, cont. | Probe—Create Change—Reflect

  2. Pingback: Reflecting on reflective practice not, in itself, being a good thing | Probe—Create Change—Reflect

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