REAL Action: Advancing Racial Equity And Leadership in Town & Gown Relations

Creating Communities of Partnership by Peter Block and Jeff Evans
This pre-conference workshop explores the role of university/city leader as community builder and connector of community players. This means acting as a convener of landlords, residents, students, developers, university departments and more. The purpose of this role is to build social capital through initiating new conversations among the parties. This convener of new conversations among citizens is designed to create a future for their community that is geared to resolution as opposed to needing to be right. Many of the issues facing our cities such as crime, alcohol or sexual violence are symptoms of the extreme isolation among neighbors. 

Developed by Peter Block, author of Community: The Structure of Belonging as well as Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting your Expertise Used, the focus will be on experiencing conversations that matter, designing gatherings to create these new and deeper connections and exploring how they can help communities overcome the deep sense of separation that exists. In addition, participants will learn to negotiate new partnership roles among cities and universities and being able to have more influence when direct control is not present.

The training is offered Tuesday, May 29, 10:00am-4:00pm at the 2018 ITGA Conference in Columbus, Ohio. Space is limited. Contact Susan Stafford for more information.   


  • Learn the tools to create deeper and more connected citizens, associations, institutions, and businesses
  • Develop an understanding of how to deal with underlying causes of much of our tensions in a neighborhood. This calls us to overcome isolation that impacts our communities
  • Seeing the role of university and city players in creating alternative futures based on capacity and gifts as opposed to problem solving deficiencies.
  • Learn to design gatherings to create powerful conversations that can shift our thinking and transform our towns
  • Learn to negotiate a partnership role with others through authentic conversation. This means being clear on exchanging wants and coping with resistance that always arises. 

To help this learning stick, participants will have the opportunity to enroll in an ongoing support cohort to share successes and receive support in implementing change. This will be a series of three 90 minute online meetings over a period of 6-8 months, each hosted by Designed Learning.