If a failure of disagreement is usually some form of polarisation or conflict, what does successful disagreement look like? It's not agreement. It may be some form of recognition that the different interests of antagonists in a dispute require some kind of mutuality. A successful disagreement opens up the complexity of real-life situations and creates space for people to develop their position and options by better understanding people who hold opposing views and maintaining relationships with them. Simon Keyes will outline a new approach to managing conflict within groups based on observing how people behave in polarised situations. These ideas draw on the experience of groupwork at St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.
Director of St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace in Bishopsgate. After reading a degree in Zoology, Simon’s career has been largely concerned with cultivating new initiatives in the areas of homelessness, mental health and crime prevention. He became interested in inter-religious work in 2000 organising “The Way of Peace 2000” interfaith initiative with HH The Dalai Lama in Northern Ireland and setting up the first London Christian Meditation Centre. Since 2004, he has led St Ethelburga’s Centre, which arose from the ruins of the mediaeval City church destroyed by an IRA bomb in 1993. St Ethelburga’s aims “to help people build relationships across divisions of conflict, culture and religion”. Simon has a particular interest in approaches to enabling difficult conversations and working with the concept of Disagreement Success.