Remark: Until 2008 the IFSR Conversations were held in Fuschl, near Salzburg, and were known as the 'Fuschl Conversations'. In 2010 we changed to a more general name, covering potential different locations: 'IFSR Conversations'.
The most recent Conversations are documented in Proceedings of IFSR Conversations.
Information about the 2012 IFSR Conversation can be found under at
"next IFSR Conversations".
Why conversation and what form do they take?
The main reason for conversations as initiated by the IFSR was a dissatisfaction with the
conventional style of conferences: An individual writes a paper, has 20 minutes to present it and then 10 minutes of questions. After that the conference is virtually over for the individual. Clearly, this format is not the most effective way to progress in the exchange and development of ideas on pressing major issues.
The experience we will have during the week at Fuschl is of quite a different nature. It is in the form of a conversation. Bela Banathy defined a conversation as follows: A Conversation is
- a collectively guided disciplined inquiry,
- an exploration of issues of social/societal significance,
- engaged by scholarly practitioners in self-organized teams,
- who select a theme for their conversation,
- which is initiated in the course of a preparation phase that leads to an intensive learning
In the meantime some 45 Fuschl-type conversatons have been held in many places around the world.
The first Fuschl conversation was held in 1980 in Fuschl. Fuschl is a beautiful, romantic little Austrian village on a small lake (Lake Fuschl) in lovely Salzkammergut, near Salzburg. It is surrounded by mountains of approx. 1600m height. In summer it is beaming with life and tourists, in March/April its is quiet and sleepy, a good place to speak, to listen and not to be disturbed by hectic, ightseeing tourists.
Traditionally each team participant provides an 'input paper' prior to coming to Fuschl. In Fuschl we will spend 5 days in intense discussion around our chosen themes based on the triggering questions. The discussion will within the individual teams and in plenary sessions. The participants follow a set of conversation rules that guide their action (they modify the rules according to their needs during the initial stage of the conversation). They document and share their findings, prepare a team report, and often additional reflection papers that present their own findings.
The IFSR publishes the outcome of the conversation in the form of proceedings (see Rules for the Fuschl Conversation, below). Members take their experience with them and apply what they have learned in their
own contexts of life. The conversation process never ends.
Proceedings of past IFSR Conversations are available:
Proceedings of IFSR Conversations