Group agreement

The Unconference Working Group has drafted the agreement below, to be discussed, modified, and adopted at the start of the first plenary on Saturday 30th April 2016.

Please help us make this space welcoming and productive for you and everyone by reading, commenting, and supporting this agreement.

RFN Unconference Group Agreement [DRAFT]

General agreements

  • We will work together to make the space safer and more inclusive for everyone, by practising respect, conducting our discussions in constructive, empowering ways, and challenging any oppressive behaviours.
  • Everyone is a participant on an equal basis and can propose topics for discussion. However, we recognise some people have prepared a contribution in advance and the scheduling will be worked out to ensure it is included.
  • The agenda for each day, and the content of each session, are to be decided collectively at the beginning of each day (Saturday and Sunday).
  • There will be a member of the conference working group available to co-facilitate every session. They are a local point of contact for logistical questions and can help communicate and maintain this agreement.
  • There will be a small camera crew documenting the whole event, and there might be photography or sound recording at some sessions. This will be announced as appropriate. If you do not wish to be on video or voice recordings, this will be respected; please make yourself known to the team.


On Saturday and Sunday morning, the first time-slot will be dedicated to deciding the themes of the day’s sessions. This will be done collectively with the participation of anyone who is present at the venue.

  • Day’s emphasis: On Saturday, sessions will be focused on information sharing, and will aim to accommodate the interests of participants who have brought a prepared contribution. Sunday sessions will aim to respond more directly to the weekend’s film events, and continue discussions started on Saturday.
  • Available time-slots: There are four fully-equipped seminar rooms, over two time slots on each day, so there is space for 16 breakout sessions.
  • Scheduling process:
    1. Adoption of group agreement
    2. Proposals taken for session topics and noted down by a facilitator
      1. Anyone can propose a topic.
      2. Facilitator will ask for at least three people to express an interest in contributing to a session on that topic.
      3. If there are at least three participants, the topic is added to the list.
      4. If the total of sessions proposed is greater than the available slots (8), a process of consolidation begins:
      5. Proposals are taken to combine topics so that all interests can be accommodated
      6. The group can also decide to postpone some topics for the next day or to open up other spaces in the building.
    3. All the agreed sessions are put on the schedule in order of proposal
    4. Amendments are taken for this schedule if there are clashes or other issues
    5. Group agrees on day’s schedule.
    6. Schedule is printed out and made available.
    7. Breakout sessions start!

Each session

  • The participants in each session are free to decide what format the session will take, as long as it is a collective decision and keeps to the participatory ethos of the unconference. (See this guide for a range of tools and formats that may come in handy).
  • If the group agrees to have presentations, short talks, or video clips at the start of the session, there must be an agreement to ensure there is enough time for discussion. This means that there shouldn’t be more than 6 presentations in any one session.
  • If the session is organised around presentations, they will agree the order in which they will speak, and for how long.
  • Sessions must keep to time – there is plenty of unstructured time throughout the weekend to continue the conversation!
  • Each session will have two co-facilitators, one of whom may be a member of the unconference working group. The group will also choose and a rapporteur who will make notes on the discussion. Information on facilitation tools and advice will be available.
  • In principle, everyone is welcome at any session. However, there may be legitimate reasons why participants may decide to have a closed session or, for instance, a women-only space. These decisions need to be considered carefully to ensure that the proposed exclusions are necessary and not discriminatory.