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Welcome to Facilitation Stories, where we discover how facilitators ended up in the profession, and how facilitation methods, principles and techniques are used more widely. Brought to you by IAF England and Wales. For more information on our chapter, click here.

Jan 12, 2021

FS28 Exploring Metaphorum with Judy Rees – Show Notes

Today’s episode starts with an overview of upcoming IAF meetups from Pilar, with a specific invitation to join a Networking and Learning Meetup at 9.30am GMT on 20th January, hosted by Helene Jewell and Sue Windley following up on a session Helene ran in International Facilitation Week on making online events accessible.

We then move on to a conversation between Nikki Wilson and Judy Rees, reflecting on the fifth “Metaphorum”, a 13 hour virtual event focused on Clean Language and Metaphor which took place on 4th December.

Judy has been running Metaphorum as it’s “benevolent dictator” annually, and she first explains to Nikki how the idea came about and moved from an idea into action.  Judy reflects that her initial interest came from learning about “Open Space” and deciding to experiment with taking this online, with the global “Clean Language” community.

The conversation moves on to considering the value of Metaphorum to participants which keeps Judy running it each year, but also the ways in which it has evolved over time.  Nikki and Judy talk about the impact that COVID has had on enabling participants to feel more comfortable using Zoom and what this has meant for the structure of Metaphorum, particularly bringing in more Open Space elements, whilst acknowledging it is not “perfect” Open Space.

Judy also talks about her gradual move away from having a “room” dedicated to “big name” speakers, allowing all content to be proposed by participants.

As Qiqochat was used for the first time this year, Judy then tells Nikki about the opportunities and challenges that brought to arranging and delivering Metaphorum and the potential to run a similar event next year.

Finally, they talk about Judy’s self-description as a “benevolent dictator” in the context of Metaphorum, how this enables decisions to be made effectively, but also what this means for an Open space format.   Judy additionally reflects on how supporting teams with decision-making has also begun to feature more broadly in her work.


To attend the Meetup on the 20th January book using this link:

To learn more about Judy and her work, you can use the following links:


Twitter: @JudyRees


And you can also access a host of information to learn more about Clean Language through her dedicated website and YouTube channels:



You can discover more about Qiqochat following this link:

You can follow Nikki on Twitter @NiksClicks

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