FMA Annual Conference 2017
No-one is an island . . .
FMA Conference 19-20 September 2017
Day One: No-one is an island . . . making connections
What can we learn from the experiences of the various communities to which we belong? This integrated first day of the conference allows us to reflect on mediation practice in the company of respected colleagues whose experience is different to ours. The two specific frames we have chosen are:
- A Viking invasion: we have used the wonderful excuse of being in York to invite some friendly Vikings, and others, to discuss with us what mediation involves where they practice and to offer us some challenging ideas about what we could do differently. A number of highly respected mediators from neighbouring jurisdictions including Sabine Walsh from Ireland, Bernt Whalsten from Sweden, Anne Hall Dick from Scotland, and John Kermode and Tina Hall from the Isle of Man are joining us. This will be an open structured conversation, punctuated by short presentations and discussions around tables in plenary.
- Mediation and the justice system: are mediators, judges and lawyers all part of an interlocking community or are they two separate communities trying to improve relations? Why does the relationship between the two need work and what could be changed about the MIAMs process and/or mediation itself to improve things for the families who come to the family justice system for help? With help from our President and from other judges with a link to the north-east, our aim is to discuss and identify the key issues, identify some ways in which those issues could be addressed, and produce some specific suggestions about what needs to change for consideration by some of the decision-makers. We are hoping that the process will be reassuringly familiar to all the mediators, and sufficiently robust and structured to impress the judges!
We will provide some advance materials to inform this important discussion, including the relevant Ministry of Justice research, research from FMA members showing mediation to be effective when both attend assessments, and some FMA ideas to help get the discussion started.
FMA Conference 19-20 September 2017
Day Two: no-one is an island . . . helping others to make connections
What can we offer to others, including both members of the mediation community and the families who come to us for help? This second day of the conference gives us an opportunity to think about how to work together as family mediators within the FMC as well as giving families the best possible chance to resolve the conflicts they face in a creative and positive way.
- Sabine Walsh: our John Cornwell lecture this year is being given by Sabine Walsh, President of the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland and will focus on mutual learning and what the Irish experience of legislative change can teach us.
- Standards and ethics in a changing world; invited guests, including guests from the FMC initiate wider discussion about how family mediators might connect differently in the future with clients, with the family justice system and with each other, with a particular focus on the value of permitting mediation summary documents to be used in court. Our expectation is once again that our guests’ views will be used to generate discussion in small groups, which can then be fed back to the decision-makers.
- Research into impact of separation on children’s behaviour – Dr Gloria Moroni from the Department of Economics and Related Studies at the University of York explains her analysis of the impact of divorce on children’s behaviour, involving 19,000 UK children born in 2000.
- FMA AGM – the day begins for FMA members with a review of 2016 and some thoughts about our future plans, including a new communication tool – an app – designed to bring everyone within the FMA community together.
We are once again devoting half the day to workshops, each of which focuses on improving the quality of the service we offer clients by improving the connections we and our clients are making.
- Finding mutual solutions – Marion Korn
- Who are the clients in a finance only mediation? – fulfilling our duty to the children– Helen Adam
- Child consultation in practice
- Our Clients . . . ourselves – making connections between what we do, what we need and how we look after ourselves – Ruth Smallacombe
- Integrating new tools into our mediation practice – Andrew Baines
- Skills and strategies from across the seas – Friendly Vikings!
This conference is also a wonderful opportunity to meet up with old friends and to find new ones. Family mediators often work in relative isolation and this is a chance to remind ourselves that we are not islands, either!
Download the preliminary programme here.
Download a manual registration form here.