Monday, 28 November 2011


CILIP in London organised a pair of half-day training days a couple of weeks back, and I'm really glad to have been able to go - the afternoon session on copyright is the one that was the most obvious selling point to my boss - and did, indeed, confirm some things, clarify some other things, and lead to a flurry of action items on my to-do list, but the morning session on reflective practice was, I think, the one which has had the most impact.

It wasn't so much new news - although there was some of that - as hearing the needed thing at the right moment. At the risk of sounding like a hippie, of being re-enforced and replenished, and having the framework of the course and time outside of my everyday, to think about the question in the abstract as well as in the specific through the exercises.

I'm busy - we're all busy - and this year seems to have been a real exercise in stress-testing and load balancing, with major changes in buildings, processes, and personnel at work as well as everything that's going on in the wider world. I know, intellectually, that reflective practise and iterative improvement are powerful tools, but this session made it so concrete to me - the speakers' passion and kindness, and working the exercises - being given permission to spend five minutes to breathe and reflect and re-focus... I came back full of ideas and energy and enthusiasm, and have been making use of some of the framework questions as I've run into things since.

Also - to tie this back to CPD23, which I am still slowly, oh so slowly, working my way through - the idea of 'Communities of practice' resonates so much more strongly than that of 'networking'. Maybe it's just me, but 'networking' and 'contacts' seem cold, harsh, kind of slippery - a totally different focus than building and nurturing and growing a community, or group of overlapping communities, which in turn support and nurture us. That last - that makes sense to me.

The last CILIP in London event I went to was the networking evening they arranged for Thing #7, which was, I must admit, a total wash for me. I managed to put my foot firmly in mouth in front of two of the three speakers, and while I did give my cards to a couple of people who I got chatting with, never heard from them again. Getting together with a group of fellow professionals all interested in learning about the same topics seemed much more organic, and the personal nature of the Reflective Practise session in particular lent itself to getting to know people, so I feel a lot more confident following up with my fellow participants.

(Photo by Camille, used under Creative Commons with thanks)

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