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  • Forum Workshops

    Tower Hamlets is one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs in London with over half the population from non-white ethnic groups.

    There has been dispute in the Borough with some perception that council policies have given ethnic minorities priority in social housing causing the white population to be forced out. This culminated in BNP member, Derek Beakon, being elected to council in 1993.

    Beakon’s stay in council was short-lived but the shock that underlying perceptions could cause this far right victory remained. It became vital that the council emphasized its commitment to promote equality for all.

    In 2005, Tower Hamlets asked London Role Play to research, design and facilitate a variety of forum theatre workshops for ‘Service Development Days’. These workshops were for everyone across both Housing and Planning + Development (700 people). The aims were to:

    • Underline the council’s new core values
    • Share good practice
    • Bring staff together in discussing, ‘Equalities for All’ including:
      • An honest forum on diversity issues both within the borough and the council.
      • Discussion on harmful perceptions and how to overcome them.
      • Problem solving for issues on the front line and also with internal communications.
      • Analysis of the nature of personal and political views and their appropriateness at work.

    Our challenge was to make the forum workshops accurate and well informed. Council staff deal with real-life drama daily and consequently wouldn’t welcome a soap opera from us!

    Through extensive research we designed forum-theatre workshops centred on realistic thought-provoking sketches. Fascinating forums developed, with participants sharing expert knowledge on issues facing our multi-cultural communities today. Managers and staff agreed that the workshops gave them a renewed confidence in dealing with both clients and colleagues.

    “The quality of the responses from learners is thanks to the pre-session research undertaken by London Role Play. This made the sessions realistic and stirred up useful debates for the learners, which were supported by good facilitation from London Role Play.”

    Paul Rouhan
    (Learning and Development Manager, London Borough of Tower Hamlets)

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