Confession time…..

Last week Liane took part in the Re:Fest event in Nottingham by hosting an Urbanistas session called RegenConfess, designed to be a “Truth & Reconciliation” commission for regeneration.

On the basis that it’s better out than in; we wanted to hear people get things they did (that they really wished they hadn’t) off their chest as a regeneration practitioner, individual or as part of the wider industry. Enough of the best practice already!

This was a chance to share not so great practice, mistakes, tales of woe, lessons learned the hard way, maddening and mind-boggling courses of action, regrets and missed opportunities, what you would have changed and what still irks you now.

It was about:

  • being honest about the part we played in regeneration (or whatever it is) not being what we want it to be. Instead of just scowling at it from afar, accept that we were there, so we are part of what was wrong/not so good about it.
  • identifying what wasn’t so great, unpicking why it wasn’t so great through group discussion, and making sure we don’t do it again. Collective learning and therapy.
  • a list of things we would NEVER do again. Deciding what skills, approaches, behaviours we will require to make the regeneration (as we want to see it,) happen and be a reality. A regeneration ethic if you will.

The session relied on people being open and upfront. We set up @RegenConfess and regenconfess@gmail.com  and encouraged people to send confessions through in the 6 weeks prior to the event. We then opened up the session by showing these confessions to the group to give examples of what other had said and help them feel more relaxed and open about being honest.

This was great and stopped it from feeling like the Spanish Inquisition! There was a lot of humour and self-depreciation which really helped get people to pile in. Humour goes a long way.

RegenConfess will be continuing as an ongoing project empowered by Urbanistas and we would love to hear from you if you would like to contribute (participants remain anonymous of course!).

We plan to do a series of roadshows across the UK and eventually compile all of the feedback into a book.

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