Building Restorative Systems mentoring


The Conflict Transformation Weave has run the programme ‘Building Restorative Systems’ twice a year since 2018 – and it’s developed enormously in scope and depth since our first six week offering. People have told us many times that the content is really valuable – and also that they would like support as they encourage their groups and communities to embrace the idea of walking towards conflict. 

‘Mentoring for Building Restorative Systems’ is the result of this feedback. We want to support you in fanning the restorative flame. 

About the programme

This programme offers the opportunity to:

  • reflect deeply on your own relationship with conflict
  • deepen your understanding of what it takes to transform conflict
  • review what you’ve achieved so far and plan your next steps
  • strength your skills in supporting transformative conversations and groups
  • explore the implications of power and privilege in your circles
  • tap into the skills and experience of a supportive group.

Four sessions will be devoted to exploration, reflection and practical strategies. 

Alternating with those sessions will be three devoted exclusively to practice of:

  • specific micro-skills
  • mediations / supported conversations
  • hosting restorative circles

Is this for you?

In order for participants to get the greatest benefit from this programme and have some common understanding, we ask that you have experience in the form of one or other of the following*:

  • completion of one of our ‘Building Restorative Systems’ programmes
  • completion of another substantial training in restorative processes
  • considerable experience of working with NVC and conflict

*Please talk to us if you would like to join the programme but you’re unsure if your experience fits.


Seven x 2 hr sessions

What to do next

Please let us know your interest and we will inform you of the next opportunity.

Community conversation Social change Understanding whiteness

Community Conversation – Understanding Whiteness

Thank you for your attendance and/or interest in the Conflict Transformation Weave’s Community Conversation – Understanding Whiteness on Friday 19th November 2021.  

I know many more of you were interested in this Conversation than were able to attend.

We began looking at these Books

In A Race is a Nice Thing to Have, Dr Janet Helms explores 6 lenses of whiteness, through which we interpret racial events, race and racism; and how important it is for white people to understand and free themselves from the ‘rules of whiteness.

She advocates asking the question ‘How is racism playing out in our organisation or network?’

In What white people can do next, Emma Dabiri discusses how overly focusing on ‘performative allyship’ and worrying about saying or doing the wrong thing replaces the solidarity we need.  She explores how we need to be talking about class, capitalism and sources of oppression.  She advocates building a coalition around shared interests, figuring out people’s material needs and working together to organise a workplace or community.

Here is a short video (15 mins) with the framing of the evening.  You also get the questions.

Slides shared are here.

The questions we asked about how white supremacy is showing out in our contexts and organisations are helpful for ongoing reflection.

We are going to co-host an Understanding Whiteness Study Group beginning in January 2022 on these dates Once a month
Sunday 30th January 10am – 11.30am
Sunday 27th February 10am – 11.30am
Sunday 27th March 10am – 11.30am
April – June date tbc

More info here

Register interest here

Social change Understanding whiteness

Understanding Whiteness Study Group

Understanding Whiteness Study group

After the Community Conversation on 19th November 2021, we will continue the journey of Understanding Whiteness in relation to our NVC practice, there will be a 6 month series of sessions to study and apply to our own contexts

  •   Janet E Helms (2020) A Race is a Nice Thing to Have A Guide to Being a White Person or Understanding the White Persons in Your Life 3rd edition San Diego:Cognella
  •   Emma Dabiri (2021) What White People Can Do Next From Allyship to Coalition  Penguin Random House UK


It’s like a book group.

You will need access to both books, either buying, ordering from local library (order now!) or sharing.

We’ll begin in January or February 2022

1 meeting a month for 1.5 hours.

We meet for 6 sessions.

We will rotate hosting the session. If you host the session, your task is to:

  • Come with some reflections on the material to begin the conversation
  • Facilitate ‘something to happen’
  • Clarify chapters to focus on in next session

We will definitely begin with weekend morning sessions and either continue with these or also include Midweek lunchtime options

Please try to commit to all 6 sessions.

The Conflict Transformation Weave (CTW) will continue to support this learning in NVC UK networks. Kate Gard Cooke has also been instrumental  in bringing this group into being, contributing resource suggestions and energy.

The Books

In A Race is a Nice Thing to Have, Dr Janet Helms explores 6 lenses of whiteness, through which we interpret racial events, race and racism; and how important it is for white people to understand and free themselves from the ‘rules of whiteness.

She advocates asking the question ‘How is racism playing out in our organisation or network?’

In What white people can do next, Emma Dabiri discusses how overly focusing on ‘performative allyship’ and worrying about saying or doing the wrong thing replaces the solidarity we need.  She explores how we need to be talking about class, capitalism and sources of oppression.  She advocates building a coalition around shared interests, figuring out people’s material needs and working together to organise a workplace or community.

In the meantime,here are a couple of resources, you can watch/read to get a feel for the writers.

  1. “A Race is a Nice Thing to Have” w/ Dr. Janet E. Helms (US context) in discussion with Maryam M. Jernigan-Noesi (1 hr 22 mins)
  2. Emma Dabiri in discussion (1 hour) with Ellie Mae O’Hagan (UK & Ireland context)
  3. White racial identity and anti-racist education (article by Sandra Lawrence and Beverly Tatum
  4. Racial identity development – facilitator guide (uses the 6 schemas Dr Helms addresses)
Community conversation Social change

Community Conversation: Preparing for COP26 – Harvesting

In our Community Conversation in advance of COP26, there was a palpable sense of togetherness with the emotions of facing this current moment, including space for despair, not knowing, shame and hopelessness.

There was a strong sense that NVC practice and needs awareness and advocacy can support with many elements of organising within social movements.

There was appreciation of this coming together as an NVC-fuelled community. Companionship and togetherness nourish us. We need to learn more and more about power, privilege, and living under patriarchy, white supremacy and this form of capitalism.

There was a sense of freedom and newness at the end. In the face of despair and not knowing, let’s play with that, together. We have nothing to lose.

We like to think of these questions we asked as an ongoing enquiry, and are part of what we are willing to look at within our community in these times of transition and breakdown.

Breakout 1

How can we be heard by those with political and structural power?

How do we believe change happens? How do we believe NVC can create change?

What blocks come up as you think about this?

Selected notes:

We can use empathy  to contribute to changing stories that are told.

We can use empathy to validate all needs, of all stakeholders, including those with different views.

Stop ‘othering’ / dehumanising / judging

Keep learning about how power and privilege operates

What does it mean at an emotional level to face the truth of this moment? – to be with grief and despair.

We can focus on positive news stories of successful (nvc) community action to inspire, keep going, encourage, give hope (news about the French revolution sent ripples across the globe Motivational success stories can nurture hope, validation, entitlement and fuel activity)

We can increase capacity to be vulnerable, Going beyond the victim, perpetrator, rescuer dynamic. 

We can mobililse to be more empowered. Initiate emotionally, grow up into responsible adult. What initiation rites can we create?

Proceed as if you matter, as if what you do matters.

Learn Emergent Strategy.

Change happens through a diverse range of methods that create pressure, unexpected snowballs. Change happens in unpredictable ways.

NVC practitioners can support people on the frontlines / taking to the streets.

Create a community force. Connecting to and speaking from love. 

Help decision makers listen to scientists and us.

Blocks – hard to understand, overwhelming, 

stories i tell myself, 

shame that i dont know

shame that I have nothing to add,

Patriarchy says only special people have vision 🙁

We learn shame when showing up not knowing

Breakout 2

How can our NVC practice support and usher in the change that is needed?

What alliances do you need to make?

What networks can be forged for mutual support?

What healing do you need in order to play your part in this current moment?

Selected notes:

“I want us to learn three things that might help us face what may be coming: to find choice within; to honor our limits and know when to choose death; and to walk towards community and life as far as we find pathways to do so.” – Miki Kashtan

Let’s get more NVC folk in social movements.

We want networks of support, with needs consciousness, and be part of, going somewhere together. 

Learn how to grieve

Togetherness – a movement towards something together – including as NVC UK community.

Recreating the collective.

Supporting young people / children, our present and future, maybe our future leaders.

Maybe they will create our world beyond patriarchy!

Our own healing includes talking with our children / families about power.

Sharing power – Power Anonymous groups!

Standing in my own power. Risking my significance.

Mourning for flow and ease – to know how to make a difference, to express my care, and to be understood for that – that the care and love is there.

Would love to be able to express how i really care and don’t know how.

Finding compassion and empathy for ‘the enemy’.

Not firing ‘the second arrow’.

Act as if my life depended on it, or act as if other people’s lives depended on it.

In the face of despair and not knowing, play with it all, we have nothing to lose

Not knowing what to do and using NVC for finding what we do want to do.

Connecting with others who value NVC. Motivating.

Building NVC UK community that includes awareness of what’s in the world, engaging.

Connecting with not knowing what to do and how to do it – companionship in that.


Calls to action in relation to Cop26  Find your local hub and take action on 6 November  There are protests on 29 October, mainly in London

Stop excluding Military emissions from climate agreements – Petition


British government is set to approve a new oil field called ‘Cambo’ in the North Atlantic, 75 miles from Shetland. Inform yourself

If you are in Scotland, you can ask your MSP to add their names to the motions opposing Cambo (Monica Lennon’s motion number S6M-00722 and Mark Ruskell’s motion, number S6M-00720. You can also sign this FoE Scotland Petition

Check out this handy toolkit for writing a letter to your MP and doing social media

Friends of the Earth UK have an Open Letter you cansign

Also stay connected to #Stopcambo updates at

Financing fossil fuels:

Inform yourself why this is a problem with the Greenpeace/WWF report from May, The Big Smoke: The Global Emissions of the UK financial Sector

Bank on our future has 2 min and 10 min online actions you can take to challenge banks funding fossil fuels. Their website also have printable signs and banners, social media images and more

Extinction Rebellion are organising direct action under the heading ‘Money Rebellion’

On twitter, you can tweet the chancellor Rishi Sunak to #CleanupBanks with a new climate finance law

You can switch your bank and tell them why you are leaving. This ‘Market forces’ site will tell you how to check if they’re funding fossil fuels and walk you through the process.

Divestment: Pressure institutions to stop investing in fossil fuel companies

If you are near Chichester, Sussex, here is an upcoming demo you can join

Community conversation Resources for neurodiversity Resources to tackle privilege

Do we tend to the consequences of our ‘othering’, or rush on with our plans? by Sue Johnston

On September 17th 2021, the Community Conversations team in CTW hosted a Conversation about Social Change asking the following questions.

  • What is the world needing that you as an NVC practitioner, or us collectively, as NVC practitioners, could contribute to?
  • What is it important to be doing right now?
  • What will deepen our lives and our connections to one another and the web of life?
  • What are our options for integrity in a time of increasing marginalisation of some, of collapsing systems and civilisations and the threat of extinction?  
  • How do we choose where to put our energies? 
  • What if we have low capacity or ill health? 
  • How can our practice of NVC support all of this?

This is Sue Johnston’s response to these questions. Sue poses some helpful questions you might want to ask in your groups and communities to nourish the sense of ‘we’ in our interactions amidst difference.


“My interest is around the disadvantaged, disabled, sensitive, outsiders, misfits and frankly rejects; those with conditions that suffer more than enough ignorance and intolerance – for example neurodivergence, CFS, fibromyalgia; illnesses that additionally lend themselves to imposter syndrome in my culture. People with conditions often undiagnosed or ordinary looking enough to still be measured against norms and found wanting. Repeatedly.

Who in NVC circles may, for example, experience significant difficulties in “the basics” such as remembering “an occasion when”; in identifying feelings and/or needs; or in making clear requests. Perhaps because their executive function isn’t orientated that way. Perhaps for other, maybe unknown, reasons.

Here are some questions that come:

  • What does it cost our humanity when we protect our own comfort/perceived safety above another’s basic well being, when our fears blind us to wider consequences?
  • What gets in the way of our curiosity about their story?
  • What hampers our curiosity about the negative consequences for them and ourselves when we other them?
  • What stops us seeing when we are othering?
  • Could it be that taking time to grieve might  address something of our failings at such a time?
  • Do we tend to the consequences of our othering, or rush on, away, with our own plans and preoccupations? And what is it that orientates us when we choose between these?
  • When we focus on removing people who interrupt our plans for harmony and growth, is it possible that we undermine the very qualities we seek?
  • Are our time frames askew; when we “protect ourselves from inconvenients”; what happens when we one day become the inconvenient ones?
  • What is this process doing to our culture?
  • What are the children learning from seeing this happening around them?
  • Could it be the self same approach that is eliminating inconvenient life everywhere? Weeds, trees, bees?
  • When particular individuals with difficulties consistently run into the personal boundaries of others and therefore become isolated, to what degree is it “their problem”? Could it also mean anything for those personal boundaries? Are they really as personal as we may believe?
  • Could we be reinforcing the very prejudices we long to address?
  • Is there any value in having “difficult” people in our midst?

In such troubled times, when there is so much we are each struggling with, could it be that gathering such folk in might better serve the whole? Might listening to them be a worthy endeavour? Not to “help them” or “support them”, but to learn and live and model interdependence, and much more besides?

Obviously I am orientated in a particular direction, given my experiences of loss of self and others; of isolation. And at the same time I’ve been on both sides; I’ve found people very daunting indeed, and blocked many out. I’m longing to listen for what I am missing when I am convinced of my position; longing to find patience and humility to put the health of interdependence and relationship before my needs or yours. Whenever, that is, I have sufficient capacity to do so without jeopardising my basic health and ability to contribute (interesting, “perfectly reasonable” boundary, right there;  what does it cost, I wonder?). 

And even if I withdraw from you into self, for I am a limited being, I want to be in the “us” as I do so. To pause with my wake as it ripples into your life and beyond. I’m guessing that at the end of days especially, I’ll  regard my wake with less regret, for every inclusive, less ‘Suecentric’ choice I make now.  I find personal comfort such a burden to drag through this time and place, both of whom are calling out for love with woefully inadequate response. Comfort has a way of drawing me away and devouring my humanity.

Written in gratitude to the ones I have othered in any degree, who have endured my clumsy attempts to reach out in curiosity, who have indeed humbled me with their stories. And written in grief for my negligence in witnessing the wake of most of my othering, more times than I cared to know.”

Further reading

An instruction manual for and about dissenters by Miki Kashtan


Conflict Transformation Weave fundraiser

The Conflict Transformation Weave (CTW) has a mission to pre-empt and transform conflict within the NVC UK network, in order to strengthen the potential of NVC to support social change.

You can contribute to our ‘Creating resilient relationships and a vibrant world’ fundraiser HERE

We are passionate and committed to this mission, and behind the scenes a lot of ongoing work is needed to support this to happen. We need to raise funds so that we can continue to offer this work, supporting people in NVC networks in the UK to live NVC consciousness when conflict arises.

Contributing to this fundraiser will allow us to continue to…

TRANSFORM Offer conflict transformation support that is free at the point of use

PRE-EMPT Offer spaces that build conflict resilience such as Community Conversations

OUTREACH Engage with NVC practice groups and people hosting events to support them in creating local conflict agreements

SUPPORT Offer conflict surgery events for people who are supporting conflicts

SUSTAIN Cover the sustainability costs for our team for all the behind the scenes work

You can read more about our vision, mission and purpose here .

Resources for neurodiversity Resources to tackle privilege

Beginning to undo internalised ableism by Sue Johnston

We put a call out for resources around neurodiversity to support neurodiverse people in the NVC feel valued and a sense of belonging and to support neurotypical people learn and grow in understanding. Here is one response.

Beginning to undo internalised ableism

Sue Johnston

“So much arising in me. Deep gratitude. And deep sorrow that I would feel so grateful.That this could look to me like a big step, simply because it actually makes neurodivergence a hint more visible in one small place, when ableism is so powerfully alive and well, barely challenged, at such enormous cost to us all. And our community is no exception.

I’ll name one of my wonderings.

Marshall’s 40 word rule. Utterly beautiful. And structure and limit is GREAT for an ADHD brain. And what about when that brain has flipped into a supersonic hyperfocus monologue? What does it cost that person to be kindly interrupted because you are bored? How long after your interjection will they have finally recovered from the shock of smashing into a brick wall?  The kind of shock that has already happened a few times that day perhaps? A shock likely invisible to you, or were it visible, incomprehensible, maybe to the point of incredulity. Alien.  So the voices in the workshop continue, like feint fuzzy echoes in the distance, as they try to find their way back into the room, into the subject, way behind now so maybe confused. Maybe ashamed. Again.

If you ever interrupt in this way, do check how they are afterwards? 

Do you think they could answer honestly, when they’ve always been told they are exaggerating, that the experience they have just had doesn’t exist? And so now, that’s still what they believe, even as the experience shakes them again to the core? They unconsciously know that their task is to keep quiet and not disturb the nice normal folks anymore than they already have done. 

I’m used to being the nuisance, causing a scene, holding people up, taking more than “my share” of space, being told as much, often kindly. Used to being the frightened silent one who dares not speak for fear of getting it wrong again. We’re talking terrified here. (Which I now realise  is why most of my empathy guesses for a good long while centred around fear!). I’m familiar with being too much. 

I’m not claiming to have any answers. I only got to understand the gulf between cultures by remarkably good fortune and by dogged determination to survive in a world that doesn’t meet my kind where we are, but instead consistently expects us to meet it, in it’s manner. I know how lucky I am to have survived long enough to be identified (not diagnosed; I’m not ill). Many don’t. I know too how lucky I am to get the chance to begin to undo the I internalised ableism in this one human here. To see now so much more clearly the extent of the diversity of human minds.

And my heart breaks for all those attending NVC  workshops who come away with their difficulties compounded by ignorance. It’s real. It matters. 

Please remember, there are quite possibly neurodivergents in your workshops who have no idea  that they don’t experience the world in the same way as everyone else, don’t know that they think differently, that in some ways their brains cannot do the same things as neurotypicals. 

Or if they’ve managed it, it takes masses more effort to achieve the same outcome. They don’t know that their suffering and that of those in relationship to them may well be created less by their disconnection from their needs; and more by daily misinformation about what needs their behaviours and emotions actually point to.

One small example. I used to cry a lot on empathy circles when I first came to camps. Many people liked it. They said it helped them access their emotions. So I would deliberately go first to help people. It felt like a responsibility. Many neurodivergents work that way; wired to put others first. But it could be invisible. Maybe it looked like lack of consideration to some. Sometimes it probably was.  I imagined that this was some kind of skill.  But what was invisible to me, and those around me, despite the tears, was just how distressing it was. How surprised I often was to find all this pain in me over something I hadn’t thought was a big deal. But I’d heard the psychologised explanation that I was in denial; and I’d heard the NVC explanation that  I’d been disconnected from my emotions/needs til that moment. And, being autistic, I’m wired to trust, accept, take literally. It makes me vulnerable. I would unconsciously disregard the extreme angst in my body afterwards, believing it was just a sign that I had “processed deeply”, and it was all good. After all, I’ve been systematically trained to deny my symptoms. The empathy did give relief in some ways, of course. But I do wonder now, whether far from offering relief, it often reinforced my inability to know myself.  

And another thing I’m aware of. Exposure anxiety. 

It’s an autism thing. I will often cry intensely when I speak, even if I want to say something brief and trivial. It really isn’t necessarily to do with the content of what I’m saying at all. When  I hear my voice it can freak me out, I’m overcome with such pain throughout my body. I didn’t know that those sensations weren’t something everybody had to contend with, that I wasn’t just  less self disciplined. So when empathisers linked my tears to my observations of my life…assumed remembering was generating emotion… It was supporting me to prolong the agony created by the current situation. And I’d crack on on my quest to be normal ( some hope! Laughing a lot!).

Tragically, people can’t ask for the accommodations they need, because often they don’t even know that society disables them. 

What accommodations could you make? Well, I wonder myself. We’re all so different. Think in terms of someone who keeps trying to walk up the steps and falling down them, unaware that their legs don’t work like other people’s, and that ramps and wheelchairs exist. And when they eventually think to tell  an able bodied person about their problem, the response is, ” I know what you mean, I have that problem, I just do x”, so start trying and failing all over again.

If you made it thus far, I’m super grateful.  May it be that it serves your continued open heartedness and curiosity. So much in life is mystery, and it seems proper that we respect that.

In warm gratitude for this amazing life,  neurodivergence, and this community.”

June 2021