Exploring community needs with creative workshop technique ‘Ketso’. A community film series ‘food for thought’

Yana Wengel

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This research project builds on the outcomes of a workshop with members of community volunteer organisations facilitated by Professor Phipps at the Waikato Migrant Resource Centre (WMRC) in November 2013. As an outcome community members raised the need for more cooperation between members, and more community events available and affordable to a wider audience. One idea proposed was to educate the wider Waikato community through films touching issues important for the organisations working within the community. This research project embraced different community groups working together under the umbrella of the University of Waikato’s Network for Community Hospitality. The project aimed to find out what issues community members would like to see put forward and what community events could address them. A free of charge film series was suggested as one of the appropriate events addressing the crucial issues. Prior to the film series a creative workshop with the members of the Network for Community Hospitality was held to determine the scope of proposed film series. The workshop targeted to answer the following questions: 1) What key issues does your community organisation aim to raise awareness of? 2) What would you like to see included in a potential community film series event to raise awareness of these issues? During this project, the data was collected through creative methodology using a participatory community engagement tool. This methodology is aligned with another creative methodology, Lego Serious Play, used by the author. Lego Serious Play allows participants to describe their experiences and identities through a playful process and use of Lego bricks and metaphors (LEGO Serious Play, 2006). Both methods fit with researcher’s constructionist worldview and allow getting a deeper interpretive understanding of the research question. In the recent years, more researchers have engaged with visual research methodologies where participants are not only the source of data but co-creators in the research process (Collins, 2010; Gauntlett & Holzwarth, 2006; James, Brookfield, & Cook, 2014; Packard, 2008). Visual research methods like Ketso and Lego Serious Play allow researchers to see the reality through the eyes of the participants and get deeper meanings and understandings by use of metaphors and reflexive practices (Cunliffe, 2004; Gauntlett, 2007). Ketso is a facilitated workshop technique which was designed and developed by Joanne Tippett when she was working on the project in Lesotho in the middle of 1990s. In Lesotho Ketso means ‘action’, this innovative method allows everyone to participate and be creative. In the last 20 years, Ketso was developed, refined and tested in various communities, businesses and universities worldwide (Ketso, 2015). Ketso represents a participatory community engagement tool which allows engaging different stakeholders. It is “an innovative approach to large group dialogue which allows participation in small evolving dialogue whilst remaining part of a single, large connected conversation” (Watts & Wray, 2012). During Ketso workshop each participant has an opportunity to express an opinion which is aimed to contribute to achieving the mutual goal proposed at the beginning of the workshop. Similarly to Lego Serious Play, Ketso uses metaphors which are presented through different coloured leaves. Both participative approaches, Ketso and Lego Serious Play, encourage the use of metaphors which allow people from different backgrounds to gain deeper understandings and “to create contact and to communicate experiences, which are not shared” (Lakoff & Johnson, 2003) and help to explain values and deeper meanings within the research. This research project allowed to explore the community needs and strengthen the connection between the University and the members of the Network for Community Hospitality. The workshop revealed what issues community organisations aim to raise awareness of. The ‘Food for Thought’ film series was hosted by the Waikato Migrant Resource Centre during 2014. The film series attempted to address the issues relevant to the community and educate people about sustainable development, organic farming, volunteering as humanitarian work, refugees and migration, and physical disability (issues reported as important to the Waikato Community). Each film was followed by a rich discussion with tea and home baking; special guests Professor Alison Phipps from University of Glasgow and Professor Nick Mai joined two of the discussions. As an outcome of the project, an action plan for the future community hospitality events was proposed. This year the Network for Community Hospitality and the Waikato Migrant Resource Centre host a winter film series for members of the wider Waikato community. The project concludes that participative techniques like Ketso offer a useful creative methodology for exploring issues relevant for communities and allow various community members’ effective cooperation with each other.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2015
Event18th Waikato Management School Student Research Conference - Waikato, New Zealand
Duration: 12 Jun 201512 Jun 2015


Conference18th Waikato Management School Student Research Conference
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand


  • community needs
  • Ketso
  • community engagement tool


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