Organising the CPD Exchange: Week #9

A weekly blog on lessons learned by PDNorth Events Lead, Lou Mycroft

In the #JoyFE broadcast this morning we were talking about digital pedagogy and the tensions between resources, risk and relationships. Here at PDNorth we’ve always been digitally-forward, which makes total sense as we are operating across a huge geographical area. We even have an online practitioner research PEN!

We are pouring all our learning from the last eight weeks into plans for the PDNorth CPD Exchange 2020 on June 26th and it’s looking splendid. We were always going to bring the three PDNorth regions together for this event even before circumstances demanded that we do (our original idea was three physical events, connected digitally). Now that necessity has once again become a virtue. 

Since I last wrote we’ve heard the news that Education and Training Foundation (ETF) funding for the Professional Exchange Networks is not going to be continuing. But don’t worry PDNorth will still be going strong! Obviously things will change in the short term, as the funded elements will cease, but we have every faith in the networks we’ve created together continuing to support and inspire one another. We are going to be making so much use of all we are learning about being online!

Obviously as a team we’re feeling it because, frankly, we’ve loved working together, especially on the events. All our meetings have been virtual, so the events have been our chance to come physically together too. But be very clear about this. The funding for PDNorth isn’t ending because it hasn’t worked, it’s ending because it has – and because it’s time, in this newly digital world, to move into another phase of engagement: one which is genuinely grassroots led. Our event is the first step on this path, bringing together practitioners who would in ‘olden times’ have been separated by geography, real or invisible. 

So our watchword is once again ‘community’, also connection. Building the relational capacity of the sector, so that practitioners can seek one another out, maybe work together in different constellations on projects and ideas that make sense to both. The work will continue but think about this – looking at recent tenders from our funders, the Education and Training Foundation it’s clear that the vision has changed. There’s a move towards the sector organising itself and this is one we wholeheartedly welcome and in fact, our support for practitioner-led CPD over the past three years has helped create the grassroots infrastructure that makes this possible.

So it’s not exactly back to the drawing board, as we have always been people-first, but we are now planning #PDNorth2020 with leaving a legacy of connections in mind. And having a proper good PDNorth celebration too.