Learning to facilitate deliberation: Practicing the art of hosting

Kathryn Quick, Jodi Sandfort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Deliberation is increasingly embraced as a mode of policy-making, and this paper focuses on how facilitators of deliberative policy processes become critical, pragmatic practitioners of their complex craft. We analyze how deliberation facilitators learn to do their work through ethnographic study of an approach to facilitation known as the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter. We identify three ways in which people learning to facilitate transform knowledge so that they become skilled facilitators. They do so by metabolizing hosting techniques to understand and incorporate or eschew them their repertoire; by situating hosting knowledge to apply or adapt it in particular contexts; and by coproducing knowledge of hosting with a community of practitioners. We demonstrate how these learning processes support public policy deliberations through illustrations and discuss the potential contributions of the Art of Hosting for enhancing societal capacities for deliberative policy-making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-322
Number of pages23
JournalCritical Policy Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Art of hosting
  • Facilitation
  • Knowledge production
  • Learning theories
  • Policy deliberation
  • Pragmatism


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