This activity is generic and may be used for a wide range of discussion-type exercises both in this Handbook and also with other activities. For example, it is recommended for use with the activity DECISIONS, DECISIONS.
This will vary depending on the topic and other Activities being used; probably no less than 30 minutes but has the potential to be a whole day.
Enough chairs for everyone; in the illustration in the PDF resource we use the example of 6 chairs in the centre circle but you should use as many as there are separate Roles in the chosen activity in this Handbook or your discussion topic.
1. The representatives of each Role sit as a group behind a chair in the circle.
2. One person from each Role sits in the centre circle; only occupants of these chairs may speak.
3. The facilitator then invites each Role in turn to state their arguments.
4. When all Roles have had their say other people in the groups may step forward and take the chair in the circle from their representative; the debate then commences.
5. After 30 minutes the Facilitator stops the debate.
6. The whole group re-arranges the chairs into a large circle.
OPTIONAL (if voting is required)
7. On opposite walls the Facilitator places a card: ☑ ☒
8. The whole group is then invited to vote on the proposition: for example, “This community approves the construction of the new road.”
The Town Hall Meeting format can generate a lot of passion so it is important to create this opportunity for participants to come out of Role and discuss the processes involved. Comments could be captured on sticky notes and posted on a Noticeboard space created on one of the walls; photograph and circulate to participants afterwards.
It is equally important to give participants the space to evaluate the usefulness and effectiveness of using the TOWN HALL MEETING format. Additionally, they must be given space to express their feelings about their Roles, the discussions, and how they felt they had participated.
Invite suggestions for changes or how and where the TOWN HALL MEETING format could be used; capture the ideas, photograph, and circulate.