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Methods, workshop, language, reading


The move to a virtual and shorter session means that we are not able to accommodate the full range of methods planned in the face-to-face encounters.  Your experience, however will still be rich in learning, skill improvement and social interaction.  We found, in our first session, that the variety in cultures, ages, educational levels and professions contributed greatly to the success of the experience.

Our exploratorium will provide a unique opportunity to participate in and learn about several different, but complementary, methods for working on the complex web of issues related to the Mediterranean impacted by climate change.

  1. Short presentations, films and vignettes outlining the problems.  In our virtual format, this will be reduced, but you will be assigned some basic reading and watching (see below).

  2. A system-dynamics, interactive card game on general issues related to oceans dynamics and climate change.

  3. Issues-oriented foresight exercise:

    • Integration of factors related to oceans, the environment, climate change, sustainability, science, geography, forest, economics, ethics, technology, governance, society, etc.

    • Solution-oriented, project-based, collaborative foresight procedure:  Drawing out specific objectives and actions from collective engagement with the issues, the futures and the solutions.

    • In our virtual format, this is likely to be more like an interactive webinar.

  4. ​​A large-scale, emerging, open-ended, goal-guided, free-form, stakeholder-shaped, data-driven, fully-debriefed participatory simulation** and debriefing:  Negotiating the contents and structure of local/regional programmes and roadmaps* for actions.


Each method is designed to feed into the next method or next higher level of complexity.  The final product will be a (a series of) programmes and roadmap(s)* for prioritized actions to be undertaken in regard to selected literacy issues related to oceans and coasts under the impacts of climate change.

**  The term participatory simulation is difficult to explain in only a few words.  It is a little like trying to explain scuba diving to someone who does not know how to swim and who has never put their head below water.  Participatory simulation is a form of free and self-defined role-play, in which the human participants (stakeholders) themselves make most of the decisions right from the start, such as, objectives, roles, rules, interactions, use of resources (eg, the internet), types of outcomes.  No play acting is involved; participants remain themselves as people.  The facilitator provides structure and coherence during the simulation, and provides a frame for the debriefing.  This kind of simulation is a particularly powerful and enriching form of exploratory and participatory decision making, and has been used in several places round the world (e.g., France, Netherlands, UK, US).  Debriefing is an essential component.

**  The participatory simulation in which you will take part will include the following characteristics:

  • Large-scale:  Essentially a large number of participants, all working together to hammer out roadmaps for the future of the Mediterranean under climate change.

  • Emerging:  The properties and content of the simulation will emerge as the simulation unfolds, mostly from input by the participants.

  • Open-ended:  The end of the simulation will be unknown to all, including the facilitators; no specific overall ending is envisaged at the start.  Participants themselves determine the direction in which the action flows. 

  • Goal-guided:  Open-endedness does not obviate the need for objectives.  Participants will determine their own objectives.  The overall goal (of the simulation and school) is to produce roadmaps for the future of the Mediterranean under climate change.

  • Free-form:  The shape of the simulation is determined by participants.

  • stakeholder-shaped:  The stakeholders participating offer their input in building and shaping the simulation as it evolves.

  • Data-driven:  The simulation will draw its content from real (and verifiable) data, readily available on the internet.  The background and documents used in the simulation will be based on fact.

  • Role-play:  The simulation will involve, as do most simulation, a mild, context driven form of role-play.  Role-plays have been defined loosely as “a social or human activity in which participants take on and act out specified roles, often within a predefined social framework or situation blueprint (a scenario)” (Crookall & Saunders, 1988, p. 15).

  • Fully debriefed:  All learning experiences, including participatory simulations, need to be thoroughly debriefed.  A structured protocol will be used to guide participants through thinking about, sharing, analysing, conceptualising and understanding their experience.  The debriefing is often the most useful, even exciting, time during the simulation+debriefing process.​

​For more information, please visit this page.

[To reassure those who have an aversion to video games (sometimes called serious games), our simulation will not involve computers; it will be a far cry from the typical, so-called 'serious', and often superficial, game that we hear about in the news.  You will not be shooting at anyone! - you will interact with others, mostly in small groups of your own choice, and in a constructive and friendly atmosphere.  Overall, we expect it to be an engaging, exciting and rewarding time for all.]


Participatory simulation overlaps in several ways with the methodology of Companion Modelling (ComMod).  However, please note that this Inter- Ocean-Climate School will not provide training in ComMod or Agent-Based Modelling & Simulation (ABMS).  For that we suggest that you enrol in one or both of two excellent annual training sessions (both in France):

*  The term roadmaps (for action) is used here as it is short and concrete.  The plural is used because participants may decide to develop more than one during the simulation, for example, according to geographical area or cluster of issues or range of actions.  The term pathways to progress is an alternative, but it is less concrete.

Other terms that could be used include:  policies, policy orientations, action plans, courses of action, scenarios, game plans, ground plans, approaches, best practices, guiding principles, governance arrangements, ways forward, modus operandi, master plans, blueprints for the future, action plans, programmes of action, guiding principles, masterplans, action agendas, workplans, guidelines, decision-guidance documents, guidebooks, ways forward, pathways, plans of attack, mission statements, statements of objectives, sketches, field guides, working plans, proposals, etc. 


Workshop in spirit and in deed

Participation, sharing, open-mindedness, creativity and respect will characterise the spirit of the exploratorium workshop.  Most of the work will be conducted in workshop-type activities.  It will involve small groups, with participants interacting and making most content decisions themselves.  Activities will be hands on, that is, participants will be active mentally (and if in the same place, active physically).  The workshop will be facilitated as a series of LOLAs, Live Online Learning Activities, a term coined by Sivasailam Thiagarajan, PhD, aka Thiagi.


The school will be conducted in English.  It is advisable to have a good level of expression and confidence in English - spoken and written.  Participants will work mainly in small groups, and here people will be able to choose their own lingua franca according to their wishes and abilities.

Knowledge / experience

The Inter- Ocean-Climate School is less about knowledge and facts, and more about experience, interaction and human/social skills.  Of course, it is useful to know (about) the issues or areas involved.  The school is a collective experience in sharing and building together.

Despite that, or because of it, we encourage you to find out as much as possible, well before the school starts, about the three areas: climate change, oceans and coasts and their relationship with human communities.  Knowledge and facts can, of course, come from experience that you may have had over time, maybe because you have been working, professionally or personally, in one or more of the three main areas.  However, given the complexity of each of the areas and the even greater complexity when bringing the areas together, we strongly suggest that, before you come, you do some reading or that you watch some documentaries, especially those on our YouTube channel - click on Playlists -

Films & texts

For each School, you will be asked to watch some films and read some texts.

Our YouTube channel is here.

You will find some texts here, and later in our Google Driver.

Even before your application is accepted, you may wish to read some relevant documents and watch some documentaries.


Some organisations also carry excellent articles (in web pages or in pdf documents, which you can usually download for free).  Organisations working in areas related to the IOCS are listed on the Support and Orgs pages.


Please help by telling us about documents, documentaries and organisations that you think will be of interest, so that we can list them as well.


Please note that this web page is based on the original School arrangements, with participants discussing together, in face-to-face and physically-present situations.  The move to virtual interactions, due to the Covid-19, means that we will not be able to offer as broad a range of activities, tools and methods as we would wish.  However, one advantage of being online is that we have participants from many more places and cultures.  Other advantages are that it is easier to participate and that it is less expensive overall (no travel, no accommodation, ...).  Much of what you gain from the session depends, of course, on your own engagement with the session - even more so when it is virtual.  Please also remember that what you gain also depends on other participants' full engagement, just as they will benefit from your full participation.  We thank you in advance for your effort. 

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