Home Participatory Process Methods
Fishbowl Conversation Print E-mail


Change the World- Fishbolw Coversation 1


Resources needed


The goal is to have a conversation about a selected topic amongst a large group arranged in a manner that allows for everyone to speak to a small group. 

Arrange 4-5 chairs in an inner circle (the fishbowl).  With the remaining chairs, arrange them in concentric circles outside the fishbowl (the audience).  Ask for a few participants to fill the fishbowl and have the rest of the participants fill the outside chairs.  The moderator introduces a topic and the conversation begins with those in the fishbowl.  The audience listens to the discussion.

There are two modes of running a fishbowl conversation: open fishbowl and closed fishbowl.  In an open fishbowl, one chair in the fishbowl is left empty.  Under this mode, any member of the audience may sit in the empty seat and participate in the discussion.  When this happens, an existing member of the fishbowl must depart a chair, always leaving one chair free.  In a closed fishbowl, no chairs in the fishbowl are left empty.  Under this mode, the initial participants in the fishbowl converse about the topic for a specified amount of time.  W Then, when the time runs out, they are replaced by a new group of participants.  This process continues until all the audience members have spent some time in the fishbowl.   

Upon conclusion of either mode, the moderator summarizes the discussion.

Alternative method
Allow for the fishbowl to run for a certain period of time, then have the moderator stop the discussion and invite the audience to contribute their comments to the discussion.

[Source: The Ball Foundation (www.ballfoundation.org) and The Knowledge Sharing Toolskit (www.kstoolkit.org)] 

  Change the World- Fishbolw Coversation 2 


Add comment

Security code


Content View Hits : 6694033

Map of Sustainable Initiatives form the South