Category Archives: PATH

PATH experiments…

2019-03-02 21.20.17

The idea of a “pocket PATH” – a little pamphlet to remind one of the seven steps in a PATH – came from one of our first teachers, Joanne Proctor.  When, years later, the one she’d made was tattered and had been copied so many times it was hard to read it, I decided to make a new “zine” version.

Over the last 23 or so years I’ve done at least hundreds if not thousands of PATHs…  sometimes I think oh it couldn’t be that many but then I remember times when I did a few PATHs a day for a few days and think, well, maybe…

And, still, there’s always something to learn.  In one of the small community based research projects we are working on, thanks to a grant from the Taos Institute, we are following social constructionist research principles – we are working in “future forming” ways with a small church congregation.  We’ve had a great community dialogue and pinned down some themes to follow, and one of the things that has come up is the need for some strategic planning.   In many research methods one would wait until the dust had settled and that slice of reality had been pinned down like a butterfly in a frame before going on.  It wouldn’t really be the job of a researcher to be “helpful”.  The need for a strategic plan might go into the recommendations section…  and one would wish them luck.

But here we are, in relationship, ready to go, so when the idea came up, we offered several strategic planning models that we might work on together.  Liz and Barb, familiar with PATH as a format used for and with people with disabilities for about four decades, thought it would be a great method; the church agreed.  That Barb and Liz can see that the method, almost always used for individuals, can also work for groups, projects and strategic planning, is evidence of their active and thoughtful participation as co-facilitators.   PATH is a great tool – it can be directed towards lives, networks, projects big and small, and can involve almost unlimited numbers of people if that is planned for.  It was developed and continues to evolve with the folks from Inclusion Press.

PlanningWIthLizAndNova

Me, Nova and Liz working on some planning.  A thing that was cool about this was that Liz decided to facilitate, rather than do the graphic recording.  And she was amazing and created such a safe space for dreaming and went directions that were really inspiring.

However, no one in the congregation knows about PATH.  There was a time when I liked the mystery and the way a group discovered the process of what we were doing – I liked mapping it out in fine pencil lines and the tension of the participants as the diagram of the planning, drawn with markers in images, formed a circle, and then an arrow, moving from “now” to a positive and possible future.  It was like a performance!  Tomorrow, however, we need people to quickly understand our method and walk with us as they lead us, moving into planning based on whatever their dream is as a group.

So we decided to distribute a little pamphlet about PATH which I’ve been using in trainings.  You can find a copy of it here, at the bottom of the page, or here, with the link to my chapter from the anthology, Drawn Together Through Visual Practice, edited by Brandy Agerbeck, Kelvy Bird, Sam Bradd and Jennifer Shepherd.  We’ve never tried this before but, at best, it will give people a way to stay on top of where we are in the process.

We will see how it goes!

We’re also getting ready to host another PATH training workshop.  Check here for dates, costs and place.  It’s looking like a really interesting group of people so far!  Come and be part of it.

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Download My Chapter from Drawn Together in Visual Practice

aaronpathbooklaunch2I had a great time yesterday at the Vancouver book launch of the new anthology, Drawn Together Through Visual Practice, edited by Brandy Agerbeck, Kelvy Bird, Sam Bradd and Jennifer Shepherd.   You can download my chapter below.   I’m really pleased with it – these were great anthologists and editors to work with and I’d jump at a chance to be part of something like this again with the same folks (whereas most of these publishing experiences don’t end with me wanting to repeat the experience!).

drawntogethervancouverpresenters

Stina Brown also wrote a great chapter and was MC for the event (check our her blog and an upcoming training in visual practices that she’s doing); you can find out more about the really amazing Sam Bradd on his blog “Drawing Change“;  Aftab Erfan wrote a chapter on her practices in Deep Democracy facilitation work and gave a great introduction to some of those ideas.    Our short presentations were amazingly recorded by two of Vancouver’s finest visual practitioners, Avril Orloff and Corrina Keeling.

AvrilAndCorrinaDrawnTogetherRecordign.JPG

The information was great, the vibe was cool at the Galerie Gachet, and the book is lovely but really it was just like a terrific party of people moving forward towards a more wonderful world.   I was exhausted after a really busy week and it was just what I needed 🙂

pathpresentationgraphicMy chapter, “Sensemaking through Arts-Infused, Person-Centered Planning Processes,” is about PATH.  I used this graphic in my talk, which focused on an idea we worked with David and Faye Wetherow to learn with groups of B.C. families – that person centered planning events are an opportunity for invitation to all kinds of folks who will add all kinds of ideas.   The unicorn in the graphic represents the idea that, always, if we focus on this idea of invitation someone will show up with a magical idea that you’d never have thought of before and, “magic happens.”

MagicHappens.JPG

Below are links to my chapter, and to the handout (a little foldable PATH-ezine that you can print and turn into a tiny booklet) that I used.  You can learn more about the book and how to get a copy on the site (subscribe for updates!) and there is also a Facebook page.  In Canada, check it out on amazon.ca (just released: a Kindle version).

Chapter: drawn_together_johannes

PATH ezine (feel free to print and distribute):

pathzine

Please feel free to forward this!   Contact me imagineacircle@gmail.com for permission to republish or if you’d like to talk co-creation for your events, projects or research.

Workshop Videos Part 1

These are videos we often refer to or use in our workshops; feel free to use them too!  We believe they are about ideas not often talked about 🙂

Want to talk more about our work – books, facilitation, dialogues, strategic planning, person centred planning, community mapping and engagement, or…?   contact us aaron@spectrumsociety.org or shelley@spectrumsociety.org

What our PATH and MAPs workshops on person centred planning are like; 5 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1ULJfPIDSQ

Our Community Mapping Project – Victoria. 1 1/2 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ikn3SrGR4DI

The Power of a Plan – Inclusion B.C.’s transition project; 5 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPyD9LTgbpU

PATH: ; 5 minutes.

Cheryl’s PATH; 9 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKgyFlCpqHI

Aaron – Connections Matter; 10 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBrQCMcvqL8

BC People First – Nothing About Us Without Us; 5 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5AZ3DRsOJs

BCACL (Inclusion BC) Story Telling Workshop – 6 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQR1QA0U7JQ

Beth Gallagher: Custom Lives: Practical, Realistic, and Attainable; 1 hr 26 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oBk78HiTDk

Peter Bourne tells jokes; 3 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej1k4r9goXQ

how systems support new ideas 🙂

how people really make friends…  if we had…  

Sheldon discovers the secret to making friends

reciprocity: an equal exchange


5 minutes


3 minutes

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