Mediation and Improvisation: Teaching Mediators to Improvise the Storylines of Mediation
Mediation is the third party facilitation of disputes and is widely used in a variety of contexts to deal with conflict. Internationally, new models of mediation have been articulated which base their practice on storytelling. These new models of mediation, including the narrative model, have a theoretical basis utlising a social constructionist perspective. Mediators need to co-author the story of the conflict that brings the parties to the mediation table. However, generally mediators have not been trained in the art of storytelling. This paper explores the work of Keith Johnstone, Impro (1981) and his ideas in the teaching of improvisation. The paper posits that mediators trained in the art of improvisation will be better able to contribute spontaneously, creatively and respectively to the restorying of the mediation dispute.
Keywords: Education, Mediation, Improvisation, Social Science
University Lecturer, School of Social Science and Planning, RMIT University