Rotary Global Grant Blog August 2018

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For the first part of August, I was home in Colorado visiting my family. It was great to have a chance to soak up some Colorado summer and to visit my loved ones. While I was home, I also got the chance to visit the Rotary Clubs of Fort Collins and Loveland, to thank them in person for their support of my research. It was wonderful to get to reconnect with Rotarians who I have been in so much email contact with and to meet a few new friends! I continue to be amazed by and endlessly grateful to the Rotary community for the work they do.

While in Colorado, I also delivered an Introduction to Restorative Practices in Schools training for Mountain Sage Community School in Fort Collins. I have deep ties to the Mountain Sage community, having been a Waldorf student myself growing up, and I also have a love and admiration for the educational philosophy at the root of their school. It was a privilege to get to share my work in restorative practices and some practical skills for building healthy communities and resolving conflict with the Mountain Sage staff.

Towards the end of August, my colleague Haley and I delivered a two-day Restorative Justice Facilitator Training for Victoria University of Wellington staff. Through these trainings, we are growing the community understanding of what it means to be a Restorative University and are growing our team of facilitators who can take cases. I always love the opportunity to spend two days taking a deep dive into restorative philosophy and skills with a group of learners! We also had a chance to try out a couple new games I had designed for teaching facilitation skills, which was  a lot of fun!

You can read the most recent edition of the Peacebuilder Newsletter on the topic of Paradigm Shifts: An Argument for Studying Peace here. My contribution describes how restorative practices can teach students how to handle difficult conversations.

During July, I got to pilot a project I have been trying to get off the ground in the university for over a year. The “Sustained Restorative Dialogue” method is a proactive restorative process to hold difficult conversation about important community issues. The inaugural dialogue explored the issue of sexual harm and harassment on campus. It was a “sustained” dialogue in that it was run over four sessions with the same participants. It was a “restorative” dialogue in that the conversation moved in sequential sessions through the main steps of a restorative analysis – What is happening? What are the impacts? What is needed to make things right? The aim of the dialogue was to explore the broader climate that gives rise to sexual harm in the campus setting and beyond and to explore possible solutions.

This month, I received feedback from the Sustained Restorative Dialogue participants and compiled a report on the project. I am happy to say that the pilot was a great success, and the university is excited to move forward with wider implementation. The report below includes background information, the circle outlines for each session, feedback from participants, recruitment processes, and lessons learned.

Sustained Restorative Dialogue Report

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Rotary Global Grant Blog July 2018

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July has been another exciting and full month!

A lot of my time this month has been devoted to dissertation revisions. I recently completed a full draft of my dissertation (minus the concluding chapter) and received feedback from my advisors on the three chapters that are most significant to my argument. I remember reading about the PhD process early on that you may think that getting a full first draft together is the hardest part, but the revision process can actually be even harder and more time consuming. I was skeptical when I read that, but it has certainly proven to be true in my case! My advisor, Chris, tells me to think writing like an oil painting, layer by layer, very slowly. I am encouraged by how I can see the work improving as I go, but it is certainly not an easy phase of the process!

A highlight of this month was a visit from David Karp to Victoria University of Wellington. He came to participate in a round table event hosted by the Chair of Restorative justice on the Restorative University concept. He also delivered a public lecture on Restorative Justice in the Time of #MeToo. David is a leader in the US in the implementation of restorative practices on university campuses and the use of restorative justice to respond to sexual harm. Both events and the chance to talk with David were outstanding!

This month I continued delivering Restorative Justice workshops for FGC Coordinators in Rotorua, Palmerston North and Christchurch. It has been a real privilege to get to work this inspiring group of people!

Haley and I also delivered a day-long Restorative Practices workshop for an early childhood center, Nga Tamariki. We facilitated skills-building exercises and facilitated conversations about the application of restorative approaches to community building and responding to conflict and misbehavior both with children and within the staff group. It was a great day!

You can check out the most recent edition of the Rotary Peacebuilder Newsletter on the topic of Peacebuilding and the Rotary Four-Way Test here. My piece highlights the alignment between restorative approaches to justice and the wisdom of the Four-Way Test.

If you are interested in reading previous issues of the Rotary Peace Building Newsletter, they are all available online here.

Rotary Global Grant Blog June 2018

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June was a very exciting month for me! Earlier this year, my proposal to present my PhD research at the European Forum for Restorative Justice Conference was accepted and I received funding from my university to attend. Once I knew I was going, I submitted another proposal to deliver a workshop on Teaching Restorative Practices through Games, which was accepted as well. It was wonderful to get to share my research and training techniques with a European audience and to meet people from around Europe and the world doing such incredible work. You can check out a detailed conference program here. I will be sharing a few reflections from the conference in blog posts. The first of these reflections is about collective trauma. I felt incredibly fortunately to have the opportunity to attend and to learn more about what is happening in the European context!

This month, I also designed and delivered a restorative justice training for Family Group Conference Coordinators at Oranga Tamariki. You can see a beautiful visual note taking piece that was produced during this training in the photos above. Family Group Conferences are widely considered one of New Zealand’s greatest Restorative Justice achievements, but when a process is so thoroughly engrained in the standard justice system, it can easily lose its restorative focus at times. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to provide a reminder of important restorative principles and practices and to engage in conversation with so many inspiring practitioners. I am looking forward to three more of these sessions coming up in July.

I contributed several pieces for the most recent Restorative Well, the NACRJ newsletter, which you can read here.

I also contributed a piece on the Restorative Paradigm Shift for the most recent Rotary Peacebuilder newsletter, which you can read here.

Finally, last Friday, Wellington kicked off Matariki, the Maori New Year with a big celebration on the waterfront. The centerpiece of the celebration was seven floating fires in the shape of the constellation Pleiades. My partner, Sam, proposed the idea of the floating fires and was responsible for making it happen. The fires came together beautifully (see photo above) and it was a lovely mid-winter event!

 

 

Rotary Global Grant Blog May 2018

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May began with the opportunity to offer a Restorative Practices workshop to the Human Resources staff at Victoria University. It was great to have a chance to share the restorative approach with this group and to talk through their questions and reactions. Having the HR team on board is an important step in our effort to build a restorative university.

On May 14th, I was the guest speaker for the Rotary Club of Wellington lunch meeting. It was wonderful to get to share a little bit about my research and how it contributes to the Rotary mission of peace and conflict resolution with my host club. Many club members also didn’t realize that New Zealand is a global leader in restorative justice in so many ways, so it was great to get to share that information!

This month, I also went to the premier of the New Zealand-made film The Breaker Upperers with a live Q&A with the three main actors. The movie was hilarious and I highly recommend it if you have the opportunity to see it. In my opinion, kiwis make some of the best comedy!

The rest of my time this month has been filled with facilitating restorative justice processes for student misconduct cases at the university, continuing to put my research findings into writing, and reading to deepen my understanding of restorative practices. One interesting insight from my research this month is a connection between Carl Rogers’ necessary conditions for effective therapy and the facilitation process. You can read more about that insight here.

The most recent issue of the Rotary Peacebuilder newsletter is on the topic of creativity and peace. You can read my contribution along with the rest of the newsletter here.

Haley and I were interviewed for the EdX course Restorative Justice and Practice: Emergence of a Social Movement about the implementation of restorative practices at Victoria University, specifically in the Residential Halls. Check out the videos below for two clips from that interview.

Rotary Global Grant Blog April 2018

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April was a great month and included my 27th birthday! I had a bit of a cold on the real day, but still had a lovely low-key celebration and spent the weekend enjoying the beauty of Castlepoint and feeling grateful for an amazing past year of life!

This month, the work we are doing to build a restorative community was featured on the VUW webpage. Haley and I were interviewed for the article, which you can read here.

Haley and I also delivered a Restorative Justice Facilitator Training for Accommodations staff at the university. It was a wonderful group and is so exciting to see the community of restorative practitioners and advocates at the university growing!

A highlight of the month was Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaking at Victoria University to announce the end to new contracts for offshore oil and gas drilling in New Zealand. It was very hopeful and inspiring to see a leader taking concrete steps to address climate change. It is also personally so inspiring to see a young woman and expecting mother as the leader of the country and all that she has accomplished already in her role. The future feels bright!

You can read the latest issue of the Rotary Peacebuilder Newsletter on the topic of gun control here. My contribution tells the story of a restorative justice response to reckless endangerment with a gun.

In preparation for the Restorative Justice EdX course, which begins on May 1st, VUW has posted the mock pre-conference and conference videos we created online. If you would like to see an example of what restorative justice looks like in action, please enjoy the videos below.

Victim Post-Incident Interview:

Offender Post-Incident Interview:

Pre-Conference Meeting with Offender:

Restorative Justice Conference:

Rotary Global Grant Blog March 2018

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March was full of more amazing opportunities! My colleague, Haley, and I were asked to deliver a training in restorative practices for Wesley Community Action, a local non-profit. We focused on restorative skills and tools like the circle and restorative conversations that participants could use right away with their clients, colleagues, families and friends. It was also great to work with this group because they are the referring agency for the Korero Tahi pilot, which uses restorative circles to address harms experienced by older people. I am one of the facilitators for the pilot, so it was great to get to talk through how circles could be helpful for their clients and to troubleshoot possible issues together.

The highlight of the month was getting the opportunity to teach two Introduction to Restorative Justice workshops at Manawatu Prison. You can read more about that experience here. It was both humbling and invigorating to get to share the restorative justice philosophy and approach to conflict and wrongdoing with inmates and I learned a great deal from the experience.

You can check out this month’s edition of the of the Rotary District 5540 Peacebuilder Newsletter here. I also contributed to the most recent issue of the Restorative Well, the NACRJ newsletter, which you can read here.

Beginning May 1st, Victoria University of Wellington is offering a free course through edX titled Restorative Justice and Practice: Emergence of a Social Movement. It is taught by three incredible instructors – my two wonderful PhD supervisors and my close friend and colleague, Haley. I also make an appearance in the course as facilitator of a mock restorative justice conference and in an interview about the Restorative University efforts at VUW. If you are interested in learning more about restorative justice, check out the video preview below and enroll in the course here.

Rotary Global Grant Blog February 2018

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February has been a busy and exciting month providing training for the Victoria University Residential Advisors (RAs) in Restorative Practices. The RAs play an important role in the creation of caring and connected communities on campus and in finding ways to respond to wrongdoing that repair rather than punish. To learn more about the Restorative University efforts at Victoria University, check out the article I wrote for the Journal of Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association, “Building a Restorative University.”

In designing trainings, one of my favorite things to do is to create games and activities to help explain a concept or spark conversation and deeper learning. I find that a well-facilitated group discussion reflecting on a shared experience often generates greater insight than I could ever bring alone as instructor. I also see this approach to teaching as in alignment with Restorative Pedagogy. In the pictures above, you will see an image of the most recent game I designed based on the Social Discipline Window. It was a hit with the RAs and really helped to deepen their understanding of what differentiates a restorative conversation from a punitive or permissive conversation with a resident.

In addition to training the RAs, I also offered introductory workshops in Restorative Practices for visiting students from the Creation Care Study Program and for the Capital Mosaic community. I love any opportunity to share the restorative paradigm shift with others!

This month I was also asked to facilitate a mock restorative justice conferenced for the EdX course on Restorative Justice that is being designed an delivered by my PhD supervisors Chris Marshall and Tom Noakes-Duncan and my colleague Haley Farrar. They have been hard at work creating an excellent online course that is free and available to anyone in the world. If you are interested in learning more about Restorative Justice, you can enroll here.

You can check out this month’s edition of the of the Rotary District 5540 Peacebuilder Newsletter here. I was honored to have my piece in this newsletter shared by Rotary Voices.

Thank you to Rotary for the continued support of my research and work here. I couldn’t imagine a greater opportunity! I am back to writing now to meet my next chapter deadline. 🙂

Rotary Global Grant Blog January 2018

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Happy New Year! I welcomed 2018 watching fireworks over the Wellington Harbor and feeling incredibly grateful for both the year past and the year ahead.

The highlight of January was a visit from my brother (Eli) that started on January 1st. What a great way to start the year! We took full advantage of a beautiful New Zealand summer and explored the South Island from Dunedin to Kaikoura and took a short road trip on the North Island as well. It was wonderful to get to share my life here with Eli and to go on a great adventure together!

Since he left, I have been getting back into the swing of researching, writing, and preparing for the year ahead. The university is starting to pick up following summer break and this week we start training the new Heads of Hall and Residential Advisors in Restorative Practices. It is a busy and exciting month ahead!

I am continuing to contribute to the NACRJ (National Association of Restorative Justice) newsletter, The Restorative Well. To read the most recent issue, click here.

You can check out the most recent edition of the Rotary District 5440 Peacebuilder Newsletter here. 

For my reflections on the US Senate’s recent use of a Talking Stick during the government shutdown, check out The Power of the Talking Piece. 

For my thoughts on how a paradigm shift proposed in the medical field could also impact peace building efforts, check out Peace in the Soil.

Rotary Global Grant Blog December 2017

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December has been full of beautiful weather and holiday celebration with kind and wonderful people!

The Rotary Club of Wellington invited me to their Christmas lunch, where we wore paper crowns from Christmas Crackers and sung Kiwi Christmas carols about sunny celebrations on the beach (see lyrics in photo above). It was a great time with a fantastic group of people!

Following weeks of unbelievably beautiful weather, Christmas day brought a big rainstorm. The cold stormy weather felt homey for me, but it was strange for my Kiwi friends. My partner and I spent the day with my advisor’s family, who warmly welcomed us to come eat food and play games with them, and then later we spent some time video chatting with our families. While it is difficult to be away from family during the holidays, I am grateful for technology that allows us to connect so often and in so many fun ways.

A great deal of the work I’ve done this month went into coding my interviews with restorative justice facilitators and participants in anticipation of upcoming writing deadlines. I wrote a blog post with some observations from the process of coding those interviews, which you can read here. I am excited, although somewhat daunted, by the chapter deadlines that loom in front of me in the coming months and am grateful for the many insights I gained through conversations with fellow facilitators as well as people who have been through the process.

I have also continued reading widely on restorative justice this month. One author I have particularly enjoyed this month is Jane Bolitho. For a taste of what I’m reading, check out this blog post on one of Bolitho’s recent works.

Earlier this year, I was appointed to the Advisory Council for that National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ). We meet over Zoom every other month to discuss and collaborate on work related to NACRJ. I am a part of the committee responsible for contributing content to the Restorative Well, the newsletter for members of NACRJ. I wrote three pieces for the most recent Restorative Well, which you can read here.

With only a few days left in 2017, I am looking back at the year with immense gratitude for the great adventure of living here, for all that I am learning, for the mentors and friends I have gained here, as well as for the support of people at home in making all this possible. My family has a tradition on Christmas Eve of writing down what we are most grateful for in the past year and what we are looking forward to in the coming year. This year, I didn’t know where to start!

 

 

 

 

Rotary Global Grant Blog November 2017

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November started with an exciting few days at the Relate Resolve Restore Conflict Resolution Conference in Wellington. The conference brought together restorative justice practitioners and mediators from across New Zealand and abroad to share insights, experiences and skills. Many participants commented on the benefit of “breaking down the silos” between these areas of practice to learn from each other.

The range of restorative justice practice in New Zealand was well-represented at the conference, featuring presentations on the topics of youth and adult criminal justice, schools, universities, workplaces, elder harm, restorative city efforts, responses to historical harms, and more. The range of applications illustrated that there is no one specific defining restorative practice, rather it is the underpinning values and the prioritization of relationships and connection that unite the RJ community.

On day one of the conference, I had the opportunity to present my research in a session titled The Role of Ritual in Conflict Resolution.  The presentation was very well-received and I enjoyed the conversations it sparked with other conference attendees over the following days.

One of the most exciting things about the conference for me personally was getting to present with Kathleen McGoey, Executive Director of Longmont Community Justice Partnership, the Colorado Restorative Justice nonprofit where I used to work. Kathleen has been a great mentor, teacher and friend in my professional and life journey and it was wonderful to have her in New Zealand! We presented Teaching Restorative Practices through Games, a laughter-filled hour highlighting a fun and effective way to teach restorative practices. The feedback for the session was wonderful!

Day three of the conference was focused specifically on elder harm issues. My colleague, Haley Farrar, and I delivered a workshop on using restorative circles to respond to elder harm issues. At the end of the day, there were two role plays using standard mediation and a restorative circle process to respond to a fictional case. Haley and I facilitated the example circle. It was a privilege to get to share an example of restorative circles with a wider audience and to showcase how the process can be effective in a wide range of cases.

This month, I also found out that I had been awarded a Quaker Peace and Service Aotearoa New Zealand Grant in order to carry out a project I proposed that will use restorative processes to cultivate a sustained dialogue on the issue of sexual violence on campus. This project will begin early next year and I will post updates as it unfolds.

The November Rotary Peacebuilder Newsletter, which William Timpson from the Fort Collins Rotary Club has been kind enough to ask me to contribute to, is available here.

This month I have also started interviews with former restorative justice participants (victims and offenders) as part of my research. It has been incredibly enlightening and an honor to hear peoples’ stories of participating in the process and the positive change it has brought to their lives. I continue to feel so incredibly lucky to be part of the restorative justice movement.