1. Introduction:

 The Robben Island Diversity Experience focuses on diversity and its behavioural dynamics. Since its inception in 1999 the Robben Island Diversity Experience has become one of the most powerful diversity experiences in the S. It not only deals with diversity on a content and dynamic level, but it is an intense personal journey in which delegates are confronted with their own reference systems, identity, power and relatedness. Although theoretical inputs and discussion groups are part of the programme, the event is primarily experiential in nature and is based on the Systems Psychodynamic Paradigm.

2. Aims:

 The aims of this experience are as follows:

  • To attain a deeper understanding of diversity and the dynamic forces impacting on diversity.
  • To provide opportunities for learning about the core concepts of diversity dynamics.
  • To provide opportunities for each person to learn about how diversity related forces / dynamics influence the way they act and interact with other people.
  • To provide opportunities in learning about how individual and collective diversity can be managed in appropriate ways.

3. The Essence of Diversity Dynamics:

 The Robben Island Diversity Experience focuses on diversity and its behavioural dynamics. Within this framework, the focus will be on the following core concepts of diversity dynamics:

  • Identity refers to the boundaries that define and differentiate individuals and groups from one another. This experience explores all manifesting identities such as race, gender, culture, religion and different generations.
  • Reference Systems entail the beliefs, attitudes and values according to which a person views the world and evaluates behavior, ideas and feelings. This experience explores the ways in which our reference systems are influenced by our worldviews, socialization as well as our individual and collective identity.
  • Relatedness refers to the inescapable reality that all humans form part of the universal system and that each part of the system is related to all other parts. This experience explores the relatedness between subgroups, the illusion of sameness and their perceived similarities and differences.
  • Power and power relations forms an integral part of living in a diverse world. This experience explores the role, effect and impact of power, powerlessness, empowerment and dis-empowerment in diversity related interaction.

Other relevant issues related to the core concepts:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Religion
  • Culture
  • Sexual preference
  • Disability
  • Similarity & differences
  • Individual & collective identity
  • Stereotypes & prejudice
  • Discrimination
  • Racism, sexism, & other isms
  • Head, hand and heart
  • Values, beliefs & emotions
  • Dealing with the past, present & futureOrganisational culture, climate and mindset
  • Redress through employment equity & affirmative action
  • Creating meaningful and inclusive organisations

4. Methodology:

 Methodologically the Robben Island Experience is based on the Tavistock group relation's conference. The programme consists of various experiential based sessions structured in different learning formats. Consultation to the here-and-now is provided to enhance the learning experience.

The appropriate paradigms are Psycho-dynamics, Systems theory and Object relation's theory. The programme consists of up to 45 delegates and up to 8 staff members. These staff members are called consultants. All consultants are actively involved in the learning taking place. Collectively the consultants have the following roles in the programme:

  • Firstly they take responsibility to provide boundary conditions - task, territory and time. This is done in such a way that all participants can engage with primary tasks of the experience and the specific events.
  • Secondly they try, on the basis of their own experience and observations of the events, to offer working hypotheses of what is happening in the here-and-now.
  • Thirdly they model sensitivity, awareness and the reflection of their experience to the group.