The role of 'provocateur' - a call for conference facilitators

Margaret.OCONNELL's picture

We have invited prospective conference delegates to consider facilitating a workshop, presentation, roundtable discussion or interactive session, as a provocateur.

What does the role evoke?

Provocateur: shortened from ‘agent provocateur'; a person who provokes trouble, causes dissension, or the like; agitator; challenger (source:

French sociologist, Pierre Bourdieu, was known as an agent provocateur, or enfant terrible, someone who was ready to challenge established orthodoxies and incite action against the violence (both symbolic and real) of the world (Grenfell, M (2004), Pierre Bourdieu: Agent Provocateur. London: Continuum. Page 3.)

Surely, Sociology would not be worth an hour's trouble . . . if it did not give itself the job of restoring to people the meaning of their action. -Pierre Bourdieu, 1962

What does the role entail?

For the ALARA conference, we see provocateurs as being able to:

  • draw out the problematics via the sessions and discussions held throughout the conference,
  • extending delegates' thinking by engaging in active questioning and debate around key themes and issues,
  • warm delegates to deepening their discussion on special interest themes and issues through a proposed Day 2 "working lunch", and
  • facilitating the connection of threads of discussion that we hope will extend beyond the life of the conference and back into daily practices and special interest networks.

If you are interested in exploring the role some more, to participate in this way, you should have a passion for interaction and debate; a grounded understanding of group dynamics; and an interest in engaging in real issues pertinent to action learning and action research, and the broad conference theme, ‘the whole person: sustainable futures in living, learning and working' and register for the conference noting your interest in the role. There will be role support mentoring provided.

NOTE: members can access details about provocateurs by clicking the links below. If you want to see more then join ALARA to enjoy full access as a member!  

The current list of people making themselves available for provocateur roles is:
a. Pam Kruse
b. Jane Fisher
c. Tricia Hiley
d. Shankar Sankaran

Bob Dick will be coordinating the provocateurs during the conference. 

Check out FAQS for more details