FMA Annual Conference 20th-21st September 2016

FMA Annual Conference 20th-21st September 2016

More details

2 Days

The FMA will be holding its 2016 Annual Conference at Oxford University.

To view the preliminary conference programme, click here.

To download a printable copy of the registration form please click here.

For information about visiting Oxford, please click here.

En-suite bedrooms for Tuesday 20th September are now sold out.

Raising the Standard:
“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.”

Day One: Into the Breach…..
How do we “raise our standards” to address the breaches and challenges our clients face in mediation? This integrated first day of the conference gives an essential and timely opportunity to reflect on and develop our practice; there are a myriad of potential subjects for these explorations but the three specific frames we have chosen are:

  • 19 Child Homicides: Domestic abuse, child protection and the new offence of coercive and controlling behaviour, led by Dickie James and other members of National Women’s Aid – are our strategies as inadequate as research would appear to demonstrate?
  • One in Four: an introduction to mental health, capacity and well-being, mediation and young people, led by Neil Robinson –why do we need to take this seriously?

and, in the middle of the day, informing all our work and without
which we are lost,

  • An introduction to compassion-based working led by Charlie Heriot-Maitland, Honorary Clinical Psychologist, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Each presentation or panel will be followed by facilitated workshops with ample time for reflection and dialogue. The aims of the domestic abuse and mental health workshops are to:

  • Clarify and raise awareness
  • Reflect on our own experience and share cases (please bring your own examples)
  • Reconsider our strategies for “screening out” and for assessment
  • Explore our strategies and safeguards for” including in”
  • Consider what implications our conversations may have for our own practice and what changes we will make
  • Consider what we may wish to feed back to FMA and FMC about our discussions

Charlie’s presentation will provide an introduction to concepts of compassion and to compassion-based therapy; why do we give so little attention to a concept so essential to our humanity – the workshop which follows will give an opportunity to consider how the concept and practice might be applied to mediation – what strategies might we employ to:

  • Look after ourselves better?
  • Engage compassionately with our clients?
  • Encourage a fresh compassionate engagement between those clients?


Day Two: dear friends …..

How can we raise our standards, with the help of our friends, to provide the public with an even better mediation experience? This second day of the conference gives us an opportunity to hear from many friends, especially our friends involved in academic research and in the development of mediation theory, our friends campaigning and working towards a stronger voice for children within family mediation, and friends able to offer insight into particular practice issues faced by mediators:

  • Professor Jan Walker: our John Cornwell lecture this year is being given by Jan Walker, Emeritus Professor at Newcastle University, and includes a review of the academic research relevant to family mediators.
  • Practitioner/Academic panel; invited guests discussing how best to use research to help family mediation develop – what sort of research do we need to help us in practice?
  • Voices in the Middle: a group of young friends from the charity are going to talk to us about the importance of hearing children’s voices.
  • FMA AGM – the day begins for FMA members with a review of 2015 and some thoughts about our future plans, including finding new ways in which to support all members of the FMA community.

We are devoting more time to workshops than in previous years, each of which focuses on a different aspect of mediation:

  • “Give me your hands and we’ll be friends”: social media and marketing- Paul Gadd
  • “To be or CETV”: a straight forward look at pensions for family mediators- Phil O’Connor
  • “The voice of parents is the voice of gods”: working with parents in a child-focused way – Cafcass
  • “Go presently enquire where money is”: preparing for financial mediation- Helen Adam
  • “A tale of sound and fury”: reading business accounts-Gavin Fennell
  • “O reason not the need”: social security benefits- Mandy Cornick
  • “Look but with my eyes”: engaging children and young people in child-inclusive mediation – Bill Hewlett and Ruth Smallacombe.

This conference is also a wonderful opportunity to meet up with old friends and to find new ones. Given the various challenges faced by our small community of professional family mediators it is as important now as it has ever been to have a chance to connect with one another in person, offering each other mutual support and the understanding that only colleagues working the same field can offer. We will finish the day, for those who don’t have to dash off, with some drinks and a final chance to relax!