As a research team, we are aware that the Post-War Series will be tackling some painful issues. In the panel workshops particularly, we may be asking participants to hear often unpalatable truths or touching on what might be traumatic memories. We discussed how we might address these potentially difficult experiences so as to create as positive a research environment as possible.
Getting to know each other will go a long way, we feel, to fostering productive conversation. That’s why we think our introductory coffee-and-pastry sessions, mid-morning coffee and snacks and concluding buffet lunches are so important. These breaks when we talk to each other informally will, we think, further our understanding of each other as much as the more formal sessions of discussion. Another important component is the very fact of being heard. We know that it can be tricky sometimes to find the confidence or the right moment to speak. For this reason, we are going to ask participants to email us afterwards with any points they wish they had made but didn’t or to point us towards any issues that, for whatever reason, weren’t discussed. We will collate these points in regular blog-posts.
These measures will, we hope, make for a space in which we can discuss and argue and say what we want to say and hurt each other’s feelings and make each other feel better and look after each other—all in the interests of producing something positive out of our disagreements.