‘How can we be both prophets and reconcilers?’, Tim Wallis asked. Facilitating the first of these new workshops he has devised, he led participants at Swarthmoor Hall through a series of exercises, involving general discussion, fact-finding, role-play and sharing hopes and fears.
The topic, ‘Having More Productive Trident Conversations’ was particularly relevant to our location, with the Barrow shipyards and related businesses being so significant in terms of employment. Participants considered how to prepare for the unexpected – such as a conversation with a friend or neighbour with opposing views – in a way that would open up the space for better understanding and the possibility of changed hearts and minds. Active-listening is key, building a link with the other person and affirming them, even though the area of disagreement might seem unsurmountable.
The worskhop was arranged by Northern Friends Peace Board, and is part of a process of preparation and exploration for engaging with the wider community in South Cumbria on these concerns. Time for discussion at the close of the day provided some pointers for taking this work forward, including advocating for alternative uses of the skills-base currently employed in submarine production at Barrow.
We looked forward to the imminent publication of Tim Wallis’ book, ‘The Truth About Trident’ which will be a rich resource for wider engagement and action.