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Access to Justice and Human Rights

New Blog: Unleashing the Power of Network

By Kristy Duff, Professional Learning Officer

On 13 – 14 June, I – and over a hundred other attendees – took part in the Law Centres Network (LCN) conference at Birmingham City University. This was my first time attending an LCN conference and the theme for the two days was ‘Unleashing the Power of Network.’

The conference, which took the style of a workshop, was led by two facilitators, Anna and Carrie, from a company called New Possibilities. The conference was run in way that I have never seen before through graphic facilitation. In essence, using colours, words, and images to create engaging visuals which captured the impact of the event. As Professional Learning Officer at the Law Centre, I found this method fascinating. It allowed attendees to interact with one another in various ways and ultimately led to more learning over the course of the conference.

At the start of each day there were speakers to set the tone, known as “Spark Talks”.  Each talk was very interesting and delivered in a different way.  Audrey Ludwig, who is the Director at Suffolk Law Centre discussed the importance of good meetings.  Our own Director at Law Centre NI, Ursula O’Hare, delivered an insightful presentation into her recent Churchill Fellowship trip to America looking at building the resilience of Law Centres across the UK.

Over the course of the two-day conference, we were split into groups to address topics that we would like to review – either within our own Law Centre or as a wider network.

Themes which stood out for me included recruitment, retention and development of Law Centre staff, funding and how to raise the profile of Law Centres.

I facilitated a roundtable with a focus on funding. As a group, we considered various, innovative ways to increase funding for Law Centres. Some of the suggestions were really exciting and it was interesting to hear how our fellow Law Centres fundraise and maximise income. Some ideas were brilliant – and it may be that we can take some of these forward.

Thoroughly enjoyed the two days and made some wonderful connections!