Updates, Virtual LS

Learning Liberating Structures Online

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Hello Everyone,

Fisher Qua and Anna Jackson who we know from the LS Global Community are running some sessions on Liberating Structures online. Here’s some info and more below when you go to the event link.

Also, stay tuned for our own plans for LS Online play and practice.

Cheers, Leva and Barish


In this weekly series, we will focus on a single Liberating Structure at a time and explore its purposes & uses in different contexts.

About this Event

Building on other efforts to help people creatively adapt to the new situations, scenarios, and conditions they find themselves in, we will begin offering something called Liberating Structures S/Lowdown.

In these 2-hour sessions, we will dig into individual Liberating Structures, together.

S l o w l y .

In each session, will explore the purposes and design considerations, imaginative invitations, contextual uses, and creative variations of one structure.

For more info: https://bit.ly/3bDlv2T


VLSUG Survey: Results Summary

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Hello and Happy New Year!

Last fall we posted a summary of the activities, we have conducted as facilitators of the Vancouver Liberating Structures User Group over the past three years. With that context in mind, we wanted user group members and LS practitioners to help us with ideas on next steps and how we can help everyone to more forward in their practice. 12 people responded to our survey. The summary of responses is as follows:

  • Majority identified themselves as from the post-secondary sector with some as independent consultants and from health care.
  • Most respondents noted that they were ready to “boldly fall forward and add more, new, lesser used structures to my repertoire”
  • Majority of respondents were most wanting to meet and practice with a few willing to co-facilitate. As well, four individuals offered their workplace as potential venues for a meetup.
  • The preferred times were quarterly meetings, occurring during the week from Monday-Friday  5 pm -7pm, or online.
  • There was marked interest in meeting online and in finding out local success stories, sharing case studies, and connecting and receiving support from fellow practitioners.

Based on this feedback, we plan to offer one online meetup and one face-to-face meetup for Spring 2020.

Additionally, we would like to invite users to come forward if they wish to join in on or organize informal café meetups to talk about Liberating Structures. Let us know and we’ll assist in connecting folks who want to do this!

Best Wishes,

Leva Lee and Barish Golland






Fall 2019 Survey Results

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Fall 2019 Survey Results

In joining the Vancouver LS User Group I would gain (12 responses)

  • LS blog
  • Sharing what I have been doing in Brazil and Canada within Immersions and Work with groups and communities.
  • Same as above
  • Sharing my experiences with using LS
  • Run a community of practice session.
  • My experience using LS, thought-partnership on putting LS into practice, and coaching people towards their goals
  • My experience as an instructional designer.
  • Share ways I’ve used??
  • energy, enthusiasm, questions, and facilitation (as desirable)
  • …my experience using LS F2F and online, other facilitation prowess, supporting others in their LS journey.
  • positive energy, a willingness to try and reflect
  • support, feedback and ideas

How might we learn together? (8 responses)

  • Online Synchronously, Online Asynchronously, Face-to-Face in a BC Regional Gathering (why not?..;)
  • Practice online + quarterly get togethers
  • Discuss things we’re working on, e.g. questions about what LS would fit the situation, or debrief a situation that didn’t work as well as hoped
  • Hold regular zoom calls -using LS virtually / come together as community of practice
  • Get people in a room, and learn from each others’ stories, experiences and challenges. Could be structured as Troika, Fishbowl, Improv Prototyping, or Wise Crowds for example.
  • This is hard…I was one of the people who didn’t make it to any of the after work sessions. I couldn’t muster up the energy to extend my work day further when I also wanted time with family and rest.
  • newsletter to feature success stories?
  • Brainstorming, practice and feedback

Please suggest a few possible venue/location for face-to-face LS user group meetups that would be conducive to participation for people living/working in various parts of the Lower Mainland. (If it is your workplace please note that below.) (6 responses)

  • CapU (my workplace)
  • BC Children’s/BC Women’s (my workplace)
  • Library rooms across Vancouver, Adler university
  • Set up an evening event or two as “probes” (ref. Cynefin framework)
  • Doing something locally (UBC) is most convenient or as part of an existing event (ie FoL)

Is there anything else you like us to know to help in our planning of next steps for the Vancouver LS User Group? (6 responses)

  • The last email update was awesome, with a clear retrospective of the Whats! Thanks!
  • no
  • How can we link the interest in inclusion, diversity, community/stakeholder engagement, organizational culture, change, and learning and development to LS? That would open up the audience/application space.
  • I sincerely appreciate all the work you’ve done and feel crummy about not participating.
  • I was introduced to LS through the BCODN’s Sunday Cafes and I was thoroughly intrigued. However, I did not know the extent of the work you’ve done or that there were other opportunities available to meet up/practice.
  • Do you conduct virtual meetings?



W3 for Me, for You and for our LS user group

Dear Vancouver Liberating Structures User Group members and friends,

As co-leads of of this user group, Barish and I  have decided to take pause in our meetups and report out what we’ve been doing to date and to touch base with you all to see where you want to focus energies for the coming year.

Here is an overview what we have been doing since the start of the Vancouver LS user group approximately 2 1/2 years ago:

Year 1 (Spring 2017)

  • Adopting the format used by the Seattle LS user group, we met with a group of 10 participants and crafted our vision and mission using Purpose to Practice

    Our first meetup at BCIT Downtown campus
  • We started a LinkedIn Group which grew to 30 members. (We currently have 60 members.)
  • We hosted monthly meetups at BCIT (downtown) from 6-7:30 pm
  • Meetups initially were well attended but then participation dwindled; We reported our meetings in a post for May and for the Fall
  • A few things we gleaned from Year 1 is how difficult it is for people to attend the downtown venue; evenings make for a very long day and for those with family obligations, it was too challenging
  • We experimented with LS Online and hosted a LS meetup using Zoom

Year 2 & Year 3 (2018 – to date)

  • The LinkedIn Group alone was not meeting our needs so we created this WordPress blog site which was setup with push notifications to subscribers of the blog, to our twitter account and FaceBook followers. We currently have 98 subscribers to this WordPress blog and 117 Twitter followers. (We also kept the LinkedIn group though it is not our primary communication tool.)
  • To grow our base of LS practitioners, we decided to focus on the post-secondary sector (as this sector is related to our work) and changed our approach, forming a “travelling” meetup (our “LS Caravan”)
  • LS meetups and primer sessions were hosted at the following post-sec institutions in the Lower mainland: BCIT (Burnaby), UBC (Sauder), Vancouver Community College, Douglas College, Langara College, Simon Fraser University (Surrey), Capilano University, Justice Institute of BC.
    Meetup at JIBC


    Meetup at Capilano University
  • In May 2018, the Vancouver and Victoria user groups hosted a meetup at the Festival of Learning.
  • In March 2019, Barish and I attended the LS Global Meetup in Seattle where we met amazing practitioners from all over the globe. Tracy Roberts (co-lead of the Victoria LS User Group), Seattle LS practitioner Neil McCarthy and I co-facilitated a session.

    At the LS Global Gathering, artist and participant, Lotus, captured our session in this lovely painting where we cited a poem by  Paul Overton.
  • We provided LS sessions on invitation to the BC Children’s Hospital/Women’s Hospital (affiliated with UBC Dept. of Pathology) and the BC Organizational Development Network (BCODN).
  • Barish and Zsuszi Fodor also conducted a LS session in partnership with UBC’s Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology.
  • We continued experimentation of LS online together with the Victoria LS User group and hosted a session using Zoom (May 2019).
  • I co-facilitated LS using online asynchronous methods (Moodle Course) as part of the Facilitating Learning Online MicroCourse “Designing with LS” (June 2019) with Beth Cougler Blom, co-facilitator of the Victoria LS User group. Barish and I have participated in meetings of the LS CoP Leaders, a group led by Keith McCandless, as well as, continued to raise awareness of LS via the LS Slack group (coordinated by Fisher Qua and Nancy White)  and the Liberating News

Reading and research:

Having worked the last few years on awareness, the initial spread of Liberating Structures, and building local capacity of LS practitioners, our”What”, we are reaching out to ask you …”So What” and “Now What”? The big “W3” and what would be most meaningful and helpful to you in your practice, whatever stage that may be.

We invite you to give us feedback in our user group survey by the end of October.  We will  share the results with you in a future post and/or discuss at a future meetup. Thank you.

All the Best,

Leva Lee

With Barish Golland

Co-leads of the Vancouver Liberating Structures User Group

*Acknowledgements to members Catarina Moreno and Charles Lee for their help with the survey.


Liberating Structures Global Gathering in Seattle – Accommodation Share

This note is posted on behalf of a group of LS practitioners heading to the LS Global Gathering in Seattle:

Hi fellow LS-ers!
Reaching out as 3 of us from Vancouver are coming down for the Immersion and Global Gathering with room for an addition 1-2 people in our Air BnB in the Queen Anne neighbourhood. If you’re looking for a place March 10-15 (or portion thereof), we would love to share space (and costs) with you! You can reach me at Zsuzsi.s.fodor@gmail.com.

Events, Updates

Workshop and Meetup at the JIBC


Liberating Structures: Patterns of Engagement to Include Everyone

We are pleased to offer a Liberating Structures mini-workshop and practice session at the Justice Institute of British Columbia on January 31st 2019.

Everyone is welcome!

For newcomers: Learn about experience Liberating Structures as a way of engaging your students, colleagues, employees and team members in productive, purposeful, inclusive ways.

For experienced Liberating Structures facilitators: Explore ways to enhance your repertoire by learning new LS techniques and consider joining the Vancouver LS user group that meets frequently.


Barish Golland, Co-Chair, Vancouver Liberating Structures User Group
Leva Lee, BCcampus and Co-Chair, Vancouver Liberating Structures User Group


Dave Smulders
Janine Aussem
Florence Daddey
Helen Lee

Thursday January 31, 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm

JIBC-New Westminster Campus, 715 McBride Boulevard, Room CL325

To participate, please RSVP by Friday January 25th by emailing Telt@jibc.ca. Contact Florence Daddy fdaddey@jibc.ca for any questions regarding this event.

Events, Updates

Liberating Structures Meetup at Simon Fraser, Surrey Campus

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The following is a post from SFU who will be hosting this meetup.

We are pleased to offer a Liberating Structures mini-workshop and practice session at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus this month. Everyone is welcome! Here are the details:

MeetingLiberating Structures: Patterns of Engagement to Include Everyone

Facilitators: Julia Lane, Writing Services Associate at SFU; Leva Lee, Manager, Learning & Teaching at BCcampus; Hope Power, Teaching & Learning Librarian at SFU; Ruth Silverman, Learning Services Coordinator at SFU

Date: Friday, December 14, 2018
Time: 10:00 am-11:30 am
Location: Room 3200, Simon Fraser University – Surrey Campus
250 – 13450 – 102nd Avenue
Surrey, B.C. Canada V3T 0A3

Please RSVP by Monday, December 10 by completing this brief form: http://websurvey.sfu.ca/survey/332157905


For newcomers: Learn about and experience Liberating Structures as a way of engaging your students, colleagues, employees and team members in productive, purposeful, inclusive ways.

For experienced Liberating Structures facilitators: Explore ways to enhance your repertoire by learning new LS techniques and consider joining the Vancouver LS user group that meets frequently.

What are Liberating Structures?

Liberating Structures (LS) are a growing collection of group processes and methods that make it easy and quick for members of any group to radically change how they interact and work together. Their purpose is to liberate energy, tap into collective intelligence, stimulate creativity, and get surprisingly better results by engaging people and unleashing the power of self-organization.” – Quoted from: Kimball, Lisa. (2009). Liberating Structures: A New Pattern language for Engagement. Available at: https://thesystemsthinker.com/liberating-structures-a-new-pattern-language-for-engagement


A few gems from the LS Meetup at the 2018 Festival of Learning

Contributed by Leva Lee, BCcampus

Just a quick note to share a few gems we learned from the Liberating Structures Meetup held in Vancouver at the Festival of Learning, May 2018.

Using 1,2,4, All, we asked participants: “How can LS User groups help you with your practice?”   Here’s a few of the responses. LS User groups can help us…

  • Practice together in a safe space; Encourage experimentation
  • Learn what can go wrong when using LS; Close the loop for how things went as a facilitator
  • Find opportunities to debrief use of LS with others
  • Distribute and share LS artefacts, tools, templates and lesson plans, case studies, blog posts, etc.
  • Explore LS strategies applied in an online context and encourage playing with technology e.g. use of breakout rooms for LS e.g., which web tools work well and which don’t work with LS microstructures or approaches.
  • Design more engagement strategies for participants in synchronous or asynchronous context.

In the coming year, the Vancouver and Victoria User groups will keep these things top of mind. Stay tuned for an LS Meetup coming to a campus near you!