Meeting was held at Chicago Humanist Center in OpenSpaceTechnology. These notes have been emailed to the listserv, but they are also here so people can work wherever they feel most comfortable (this can be a living document and change as we get more organized). Feel free to chime in, even if you weren't at the meeting.

Chicago Social Forum Notes

06 Aug 2003 at the Humanist Center (1751 W. Devon)

These are my (TedErnst's) personal notes of the process and outcomes from Wednesday’s meeting. The other’s present will perhaps fill in what I’ve left our or correct what I’ve gotten wrong. This is a bit messy because I have not really attempted to summarize outcomes as much as give a feel of the process. I’ve also expanded a bit on some brief conversations based on my understand of the point of view of the group, but I might’ve messed that up. Please hold me to your truth. My understanding of the outcomes does come at the end, but again, this is only my point of view and the others will chime in to hold me to their understanding of what happened.


We utilized an Open Space Technology meeting format where there was no predetermined agenda and the people present took responsibility for convening conversations on whatever topics they wanted. In a larger meeting many conversations will take place simultaneously, but in this case the whole group moved through the most pressing topics without utilizing break-outs.

Here is a list of topics posted:

My notes of discussion (others experiences surely differ)


Part one: Once per month from now until Forum, we have a big meeting as proposed at the July meeting. This big meeting will start with a conversation on a particular topic (How local issues connect with global issues, for example) and then will move into organizing for the 2nd part. The idea is that people not yet involved in working toward CSF will come for that initial topical conversation and are invited to stay and get involved in the work. The entire meeting can be done in Open Space Technology with therefore a suggestion for two parts (and in fact two times slots), but some people might start the organizing conversations during the 1st time slot and others might continue the topical conversation into the 2nd time slot, as each one chooses.

Part two: Once per month from now until Forum, we have a logistics/business/organizing meeting where all are still welcome, but the focus will be on moving forward with actual logistics/business/organizing. This meeting is also in Open Space Technology.

Further conversation about this proposal: The convener of each session (the one putting the topic on the wall) is responsible for making sure notes get send to the listserv or printed out and brought to the next meeting thus ensuring everyone is kept informed. Each meeting could begin with report-back from the previous meeting or perhaps this won’t be necessary if notes are posted on the wall or copied to hand out at the start of each meeting (a constantly growing log-book of minutes from each session, ultimately documenting the entire process from start to finish).

The above proposal means that anyone can host a similar meeting in their own community, even at the same time as someone else’s meeting. This could vastly increase our possibilities for getting people involved as those already involved are free to invite to meeting in their own areas, then inviting those participants to get involved more directly in the larger process. Notes from these community meetings also go to the listserv.

What outcomes to people experience from a Social Forum?


Incidentally, I have started a wiki-space at ChicagoSocialForum where I will put any notes posted to the listserv. Wiki is a way of making websites where ANYONE can make new pages or modify what’s already there...This is not meant to be a replacement for the listserv, but for those that find they are comfortable working in the wiki environment, it could prove useful as all notes can be updated as things change, rather than having to wade through several different versions on email. If it’s not for you, don’t worry, all significant results will be sent to the listserv as well as printed out for the meetings.