‘Process Oriented Open Forum lie between business meetings and large, open , emotional meetings. The Open Forum is more dramatic than standard business meetings, yet more linear than the ongoing world work group processes.’ (The Deep Democracy Of Open Forums, p.24, Arnold Mindell).
An Open Forum is an interactive experience and consists of dialogue between different viewpoints in order to explore the diversity of experiences affecting groups and communities. The Open Forum is an opportunity to deepen participants understanding and awareness of all viewpoints and to relate from diverse perspectives. In order to start the discussion, the open forum commences with invited speakers who will speak for a few minutes on a designated topic, e.g. church issues, racism, homophobia, abuse, etc. Participants are then invited to contribute their thoughts, feelings and experiences related to the speakers’ contributions and their own experiences of the issues being explored. An Open Forum creates a space where all viewpoints are seen as equally important. Participants are facilitated to explore an issue or topic from the diversity of experiences present, thus deepening their awareness of all sides and creating a deeper understanding of the issue at hand. Open Forums usually last for two hours and are facilitated by Process Workers. Generally, the team is invited by an individual, group or organisation who wish to gather together to focus on one particular issue.