CPR Workshop

A workshop that creates a CPR Space by moving through the 4Rs over a day or several days. The activities, whether preplanned by the organizers or generated by participants during the workshop, embody respect for participants by building in openings for everyone to connect, puzzle, and reflect, to explore and affirm their own generativity, to take themselves seriously. A CPR Workshop:

1. has a topic or issue, which typically connects questioning of dominant directions in society with social movements that influence those directions.
2. employs tools and processes for connecting, puzzling, and reflecting so that participants' contributions to the topic or issue stretch them beyond their disciplinary or institutional boundaries, integrate theoretical, pedagogical, practical, political, and personal aspects of their relation to the topic/issue, and draw them into possible new collaborations.
3. provides opportunities for learning tools/processes or practicing facilitation of others in using them.
4. builds evaluation into every activity and use of a tool/process. Workshop participants as well as the facilitator of the activity take stock of the ways the purpose of the activity was fulfilled and document the activity and its evaluation so as to inform any adoption or adaption of the activity/tool/process as well as any clarification or revision of the purpose.
5. provides support for translation of activities/tools/processes, of connections made (intellectually and inter-personally), and of contributions to the topic/issue.

One dimension of that support is that the experience of pursuing these five objectives with others in a CPR Workshop buoys participants' enthusiasm, hope, resolve, and courage for creating change and making transitions in work and life situations that may—at least at first—lack the spirit of the CPR Workshops.

Taylor et al. (2011) provides more background. Links to a series of past and upcoming CPR Workshops can be accessed through The Pumping Station (2018). What follows is a template for a 1-day workshop on topic XX.


In this one-day Connecting-Puzzling-Reflecting (CPR) Workshop we will create spaces, interactions, and support that help us extend our projects on XX. More specifically:

Tangible goals for participants
  • To gain inspiration and new insights by reviewing our own projects on XX and learning from those of others.
  • To produce Work-in-Progress Presentations and feedback on them that can be assembled and shared beyond the workshop.
  • For participants to learn and practice Tools and Processes that facilitate substantive knowledge sharing, inquiry, critique, and discussion. In particular, to learn about the 4Rs approach.

    Experiential goals (how the process will affect our way of being)
  • As participants, our experience of gaining insights about researching or engaging excites each of us about the prospect of extending conversations about the topic beyond the 1-day CPR Workshop (in time and in who participates).
  • Our experience of engagement in the tools and processes, especially using the 4Rs approach, excites us to seek out and pursue other engagements in a similar manner, in particular, to “connect quickly with others who are almost ready… to foster participatory processes and, through the experience such processes provide their participants, contribute to enhancing the capacity of others to do likewise.” (Taylor 2005, 225).
  • Preparation to make the best use of the workshop space

    Submit a description of the project related to XX that you wish to advance by participating in the workshop and indicate where you want help thinking about related to that project (e.g., how to expand the range of people engaged with my project, how to build an audience for my next show). Some participants volunteer to submit a written Work-in-Progress Presentation for pre-circulation.
    Begin Daily Writing on your project in the week(s) before the workshop.
    (Closer to the workshop) Remind yourself of the project you proposed to work on. Assemble notes, books, photocopies, pdfs, drafts to have at hand during the workshop.

    Time 9:00am

    Session 1, Getting here & exposing diverse points of potential interaction

    This session emphasizes Respect—for yourself and others—from the outset, making it more comfortable for you to Risk talking about your personal journey. You may gain insights—Revelations—from what you hear yourself include in your stories.
    Welcome from session coordinator.
    Initial 5-minute activity (guided Freewriting on hopes for the 1-day CPR Workshop)
    30-second introductions in pairs (= name & hopes for the workshop)
    Autobiographical Introductions: “How I came to be someone who would end up at a 1-day CPR Workshop on topic XX” –5 minutes for each participant.
  • Gives participants an opportunity to introduce themselves in narrative depth, their current and emerging work, and learn more about each other
  • Coordinator goes first to model
  • Connections and Extensions: Each person notes, for each introduction, a point of connection with the speaker and a point in which they might extend what is said (which can be taken in many directions, e.g., suggest something for the speaker to read, adopt or adapt something to their own work, look further into something). After the first three introductions stop to draw connections and discuss with a neighbor what is emerging.

  • Time 10:15am
    Work on your Projects (including digest Connections and Extensions feedback, reflect, write, pursue internet inquiries)

    Time 11:45am

    Session 2, Digging down deep & exposing more points of potential interaction

    Respect continues to be emphasized—everyone, not only for the author whose pre-circulated presentation is the focus, is an agent in shaping what can emerge from a reading. The Respect-full experience in Session 1 prepares the way for the Risk involved for the primary discussants speaking in front of the gathering as a whole. They may gain insights—Revelations—from what they hear themselves say. The listeners may too as you chew on what you share with the various speakers and how you differ from them. There are two 30-minute parts to this Session, separated by a 5-minute break. In each part, the author of a pre-circulated presentation meets with people ready to discuss that presentation. Once the group convenes, the session coordinator introduces the Response to Shared Reading format:
    Time 12:55pm
    Coordinator for session 3 will help participants understand and complete the task of signing up for “I want help thinking about” topic groups. (Each person participates in three topic groups, one after the other. One of these is the group that the person identified when registering as their wanting help on.)

    Time 1:55pm

    Session 3, “I want help thinking about”

    (a variant of One-on-One Consultations within a Group)
    Respect and Risk continue to be emphasized in asking everyone to take initiative in asking for help. You can hope to gain insights—Revelations—from what you hear yourselves ask for and from how you respond to queries and suggestions from others. At the same time, the other topic-group members can gain insights from hearing how they respond to the request for help.
    Coordinator for Session 3 reminds everyone that “Each ‘I want help thinking about’ topic group meets for 18 minutes. In each group the originator of the topic explains what help they seek and the group takes it from there.
    Session 3 Coordinator gives 3-minute warning for a group to wind up. At each switch from one column's topics to the next, the Coordinator helps anyone who needs it to identify their next group and find their way to it.

    Time 2:55pm
    Complete preparation of 5-minute Work-in-Progress Presentation
    Coordinator for Session 4 gets visual aids from participants and transfers them to laptop linked to projector.

    Time 4:15pm

    Session 4, Work-in-Progress presentations, with feedback informing further inquiry and planning

    Each participant has 5 minutes to get started, present, and get discussion
    Every other participant provides Plus-Delta feedback

    Time 5:45pm
    Expectation is that you sit next to and speak with someone you haven’t got to know, perhaps circulating to keep doing this.

    Time 7:15pm

    Session 5, Supporting us in going back to our worlds to use inquiry and planning during the workshop// Taking stock of the workshop experience

    Respect, Risk, and Revelation are emphasized in the listening—not only to others but also to oneself (even if silently)—that happens in a Dialogue Process. By the end of the Dialogue Hour and Closing Circle, participants should be clear about at least some issues that have (Re)engaged you through the experience of the 1-day CPR Workshop. Session 5 Coordinator explains that the topic of the five-phase Dialogue Hour is “Review the 1-day CPR Workshop insights and experience. Share our thinking about how each of us can extend the insights and experience.” Asks everyone to read the instructions for the first, freewriting phase and then start. Anyone needing more explanation should quietly attract the Coordinator's attention.
    5 minutes Freewriting to begin to consider the topic of the session.
    Check-In: Short account to a neighbor of one's concern or question about the topic of the session.
    Dialogue Process starting with each person reading one item of Refresher on Guidelines.
    10 minutes before the session ends, each participant spends a few minutes writing to gather and share thoughts that have emerged and are meaningful for them (using a printed or online form). Session 5 Coordinator explains that it will reduce work if people can use the online form on their laptops or smartphones.
    Last 5 minutes: Each participant shares one thing they plan to address/get done/think more about based on the session. (This should be very brief—no explanations or repetitions—but having this aired in the group–having it witnessed–makes it more likely to happen.)
    Closing Circle: Each participant has up to 15 seconds to state one highlight or appreciation or suggestion or thing they are taking away from the 1-day CPR Workshop to do more work with. One person starts then passes the (figurative or literal) mic to a neighbor. (Session 5 coordinator audio-records the closing.)

    End at Time 8:45pm

    Follow up by organizers coordinators
  • Transcribe, collate, and circulate gathered thoughts from Session 5.
  • Transcribe audio-recording of closing and make available to participants.
  • Send out encouragement to share updates on projects.
  • Post any revised presentations that participants indicate can be viewed publicly.

  • Follow up by participants
  • Peruse transcriptions and updates on projects.
  • Submit a revised paragraph or two describing the state of their project after the help and stimulation of the 1-day CPR Workshop (e.g., through connections made, new ideas encountered, feedback on the project formulation). Indicate whether it and/or visual aids from Work-in-Progress Presentation can be shared on a publicly visible site.

  • Taylor, P. J. (2005). Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    Taylor, P. J., S. J. Fifield, C. Young. (2011). “Cultivating Collaborators: Concepts and Questions Emerging Interactively From An Evolving, Interdisciplinary Workshop.” Science as Culture, 21:89-105. (preprint)
    The Pumping Station (2018). “Workshops.” https://thepumpingstation. org/workshops/ (viewed 25 Sep 2018) .