Session 20 – Weaving Communities – using basket weaving (and other crafts) to enable necessary conversations of our time.

Date:  Monday 26 October 2020            Time:   12 noon                        Length:    2 hours

Gillian Cochrane

This session is designed for:
Emerging facilitators                      Still developing                   Wisdom Keeper                  Everyone

Will this session be recorded?                                       Yes if all attendees agree

Important to note:

It would be great to provide materials to those who require them. However, I can’t guarantee anything postal-wise at the moment (I’m in Melbourne, Victoria). If you wish to learn to basket weave instead of sharing your own craft, please let me know in advance and I will provide you with ‘How to’ links and also help you source materials in your area before the session date. Please contact me via email at

Session Outline

The purpose of this session is to allow participants to experience the sharing of roles within communities through the weaving of stories thus helping to realise that there is connection within our diversity.

Using Parker Palmer’s ideology of ‘Third Things’, craft work enables the exploration of an important topic to the group metaphorically through the piece of art or craft. The embodiment of the topic enables more than just the voice of the participant and mediated by a third thing, truth can emerge into our awareness at a pace and depth that the group can handle.

The session will allow an exploration of different crafts that each participant brings to the session. Participants, who are interested, can also learn to basket weave with natural raffia if they contact Gillian before the session (see ‘Important to note’ section). 

Key Learning Objectives

Participants will learn

  1. the value of using a third thing to facilitate conversations that may be challenging because of the challenging times in which we live,
  2. that it is possible to conduct circle work and art/craft work online, and
  3. how to basketweave with raffia (if I have enough forewarning of date of session and participant interest to send materials to people who wish to learn).

How this session contributes to the AFN Community of Practice

  1. It will highlight how to bring traditional face to face circle work onto the online forum and still have strong connection.
  2. It will demonstrate the power of a Third Thing to support topic exploration
  3. It will bring basketweaving and crafts to some who have never tried but wanted to learn

Toolkit takeaways

  1. Parker Palmer’s “Third Thing” – the link to his book “A hidden wholeness”
  2. An understanding of how to translate in-person techniques to online fora
  3. Furthering of their own art/craft works
  4. Their own basket if they have taken this option

Speaker Biographies

Gillian Cochrane, Collaborative Vision
Hi! I was born in Scotland and lived throughout Africa and India before arriving in Australia in 2002. I work primarily in prevention of avoidable blindness in low resource settings. Originally an optometrist diversifying into public health eye care and international development, I found that facilitation is the key ingredient to enable everyone’s voice to be heard. I have enjoyed learning from Lewis Deep Democracy, Groupwork Centre and Zenergy. My passion is collaboration and participation that enables diverse folk to realise their individual and collective potential … especially that they can forge and drive their own outcomes.