In addition to my artistic practice, I have 25 years’ experience as a professional facilitator as one of the leading innovators in the development of participatory policy and practice in the UK. From the age of 24, this practice has ranged from facilitating events to running long term conflict resolution programmes,  founding four charities/not for profit organisations,  being an advisor to UK government and the devolved administrations, and developing innovative capacity building programmes.  At the heart of all my work is a commitment to sustainable development and the activation of 'whole system' solutions through the indepth engagement of a wide range of stakeholders.

Although I stopped taking major facilitation and consultancy commissions in 2012, I still provide mentoring, consultancy, analysis, advice and small-scale facilitation services on a case-by-case basis. Please get in touch if you are interested in one of these services: I will refer you to  colleagues who are still providing professional facilitation services if I am unable to help.

I am also currently on the Board of the Anthropocene Alliance, a UK-US collaboration that educates and organizes individuals and communities harmed by environmental abuse and climate change.

This page sets out that experience, and contains links for further information.

Founder of:

2004 - 2014             Involve, building democracy that works for everyone

2002 –  present      Lindsey Colbourne Associates. My consultancy, through which I deliver projects with a network of Associates.

2001 – 2016           InterAct Networks   a not-for-profit partnership focused on capacity building for participation in organisations and communitities

1998 – 2011          InterAct, a network bringing together practitioners, academics and policy makers to develop thinking and practice in the field of participation and stakeholder involvement.

1994 – 1997           Vision 21, a Sustainable Future for Gloucestershire.  This multi-award winning Local Agenda 21 process could be considered my first socially engaged art work, and it lives on today! Starting with a global conference on Local Agenda 21, I developed a participatory process that resulted in a network of more than 1,500 volunteers and 65 projects. It included the development and use of a range of participatory techniques, and the arts including ‘guided visualisation, back casting, ‘a day in the life’, appreciative inquiry and Future Search conferences.  1992 - 1997

1992 - 1997            EDGE magazine - Environment and Development in Gloucestershire. This news and networking magazine, with a circulation of 5,000 readers, brought together arts and activism, and received awards and global promotion as an example of good practice.

Leadership roles:

2008 – 2011           Head of Public Dialogue, and Dialogue and Engagement Specialist, Sciencewise-ERC,
the UK’s national centre for public dialogue in policy making involving science and technology issues

2002 - 2004           Founding board member of Cynnal Cymru, an initiative trying to realise the vision of a sustainable Wales and a more sustainable world

2001 – 2009          Commissioner, UK Sustainable Development Commission, the advisory body to UK Government, Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland

1997 - 2001            Director, Projects in Partnership. UK Charity promoting sustainable solutions through participation and dialogue.


Selected examples of work...


Facilitation, conflict resolution and community involvement practice

·     Rhyl City Strategy, using Open Space Technology to enable the town to reduce worklessness by pooling local, Wales-wide and UK wide resources. 2007 – 2011

·     Carbon Reduction Commitment, Defra (now DECC).  Designing and managing a 3-year programme of stakeholder involvmement in the Energy Performance/Carbon Reduction Commitment/Emissions trading scheme. Highly technical programme relevant to 5,000 stakeholders from business and industry, local and national government, museums, schools, hospitals. Engaging 5,000 key stakeholders in developing the emissions trading scheme.  Consultation programme received a UK best practice award. 2006 - 2011

·     Shaldon and Ringmore Flood Risk Project. Working with Environment Agency team to pilot the Building Trust with Communities approach to flood risk. Resulted in acceptance of controversial flood scheme with unanimous decision at planning. 2005 – 2009

·     Global accountability framework. Running international workshops in the UK and Thailand to enable international government, private and voluntary sector organisations to develop a common accountability framework. For the Global Accountability Project. 2005 – 7.

·     Health and wellbeing partnership and strategy. Consultancy, support, advice and facilitation for the community strategy and health and wellbeing strategy for Anglesey and Gwynedd councils, including training and working with support facilitators, gathering of stories from front line staff and carers, major deliberative public consultation programmes, the establishment of ongoing engagement mechanisms and facilitating strategic discussions of partnership boards. 2005 – 2008

·     EU Aviation Emissions Trading scheme. Designing and running BAA’s first piece of stakeholder engagement work.  Included a high level pan-European conference seminar involving ministers, 120 key stakeholders and members of voluntary groups and the public to discuss and shape guidelines for an aviation emissions trading scheme. 2004.

·     Newborough Forest and Warren, resolving a high profile conflict (including community level climate change adaptation) between the community and public sector bodies including the Forestry Commission Wales and the Countryside Council for Wales. 2004 – 2008

·     Magnox Nuclear Power station decommissioning. Facilitation of UK wide discussions with key stakeholders (including local communities) through a 3 year dialogue on options for decommissioning Magnox power stations. Involvement turned round stalemate and conflict to enable delivery of a full report which as been accepted by the new Nuclear Decommissioning Authority. For the Environment Council. 2003 – 2007

·     Pakistan provincial government reform. Designing and facilitating workshops with provincial government officials across to agree mechanisms for improving performance on providing basic health, social and environmental services. For DFID and Oxford Policy Management. 2000.

·     Imagine Lambeth. Running a major stakeholder and community involvement programme based on 10 vision and appreciative inquiry workshops in some of the most deprived areas of south London. The approach has been used as a model for many other community based approaches to place shaping across the UK. 2000.

·     Local Strategic and Community Strategy Partnerships. Leading consultant on partnership and community involvement aspects including West Sussex, Lambeth, Reading, Anglesey, Gwynedd, Powys. Included innovation such as the use of Open Space Technology, Participatory Theatre and whole community workshops.  2000 - 2008

·     Developing and facilitating a vision-based participatory process to involve socially excluded groups in the Brighton and Hove’s Local Plan consultation. RTPI participation innovation award. 2000.

·     Founded and coordinated the development of a community-led Local Agenda 21 change programme. Included the development and use of a range of participatory techniques including ‘guided visualisation, back casting, ‘a day in the life’ and appreciative inquiry. Involved more than 1,000 people in 65 projects. 1992 - 1997

Participation and engagement capacity building and organisational change

·     Stakeholder and public engagement capacity buiding programme, Department of Energy and Climate Change. Designing and running a high level programme for nine priority policy teams, with Sciencewise-ERC. Programme doubled in size within first year due to demand and has resulted in new policies, guidance and tools. 2009 – 2011.

·     Stakeholder engagement capacity building programme, Defra. Designing and running this corporate programme including training, mentoring, case studies, pilot programmes, guidance, toolkits, presentations to senior management. 2008 – 2010.

·     National consultation framework. Developing a new framework and designing the corporate change programme for the Environment Agency. 2008 –2010.

·     Building Trust with Communities/Working with Others. Designing and running this corporate capacity building programme to design and implement a new approach to work with communities, for the Environment Agency. Includes training, coaching of senior staff and mentoring of front line staff, case studies, pilot programmes, guidance, tools. Work has included influencing and changing corporate processes to enable engagement to be fully incorporated.
2005 – 2013.

·     Participation Cymru. Developing a capacity building programme for the voluntary, private and public sector across Wales, including training on ten courses on different aspects of participation and engagement (eg facilitation, visioning, Open Space Technology, chairing better meetings, questionnaires and surveys, participatory strategic planning, designing engagement processes) – some repeated more than 15 times due to demand. 2002 - 2009

·     Facilitator networks. Pioneering the use of local networks of people and training them in facilitation skills to build the capacity of communities to work collaboratively towards a common goal. Includes establishing time exchange and mentoring systems to follow up training.  Networks established from Scottish Highlands and Islands to North Wales to Gloucestershire and Surrey. 2002 – present.

·     Community and stakeholder engagement programme, Countryside Council for Wales. Designing and running this corporate programme including training, mentoring, case studies, guidance, toolkits, working with all parts of the organisation from front line staff to senior management. 2001 – present.

·     Communications and engagement work programme. UK Sustainable Development Commission. Building organisational capacity and practice for participation and engagement internally and as a field of policy advice to government. Innovations such as the use of a Stakeholder Panel have received a Hansard Society award. 2000 – 2009.


Public, community and stakeholder participation advisor

·     Green Deal Advisory Panel (formerly Household Energy Management Panel). Member of this high level panel, established to advice DECC on the delivery work relating to household energy management, including the Heat and Energy Saving Strategy (HESS). Current

·     Development of national climate change narratives, including use of communications strategies and public dialogue for SDC, IPPR and Green Alliance. 2009.

·     What’s next for public engagement? Advice on future directions and conceptual frameworks for communications, behaviour change and conflict resolution for Sciencewise-ERC, UK Sustainable Development Commission, Welsh Assembly Government and Defra. 2009.

·     Low Carbon Communities Challenge. Sciencewise-ERC Dialogue and Engagement Specialist for this community participation programme in 20 communities in England and Wales. Designed to enable learning between national and local initiatives for climate change mitigation. For Sciencewise-ERC/ DECC. Current

·     Methodology for assessing and responding to organisational capacity for participation and engagement. Researching and developing the ‘Departmental Dialogue Index’ for Sciencewise-ERC. 2008 -9.

·     Community Engagement Advisor, Community Adaptation Planning guidance. With Collingwood Environmental Planning, for Scott Wilson and Defra. 2008 – 9.

·     The Big Energy Shift. Sciencewise Dialogue and Engagement Specialist for this public participation programme (England and Wales) to inform national policy. For Sciencewise-ERC/DECC. 2008.

·     Engagement in a new department. Various informal discussions and advice to DECC, to inform how engagement is managed in the new department. 2008

·     National Framework for Greater Citizen Engagement discussion paper. Advisor to MOJ. 2008.

·     Deliberative public engagement in decision-making. Advisor/contributor to Involve/NCC. 2007-8.

·     Adaptation planning/future flooding. Advisor to Defra/Environment Agency on an ongoing basis, including for SD6 programme of Making Space for Water, national discussion of adaptation policy and delivery of major piece of research around mainstreaming participation and partnership working to improve institutional and social responses to flooding (IISRF). 2006 - present

·     An assessment of community engagement and community development approaches including the collaborative methodology and community champions. Member of the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) PDG, evaluating the cost effectiveness of public participation on health outcomes. 2006 – 8.

·     Energy white paper consultation. Advisor to BERR (DECC). 2007

·     UK Sustainable Development Strategy consultation. Advisor to Defra. 2005

·     People and participation. Facilitator and advisor to Involve. 2004 -5.

·     Citizen involvement in public policy. Advisor to IPPR. 2004


Articles and papers

·      Typology for Public Engagement. Science for All/Department of Business, Industry and Skills. 2010.

·       Organisational Learning and Change for Public Engagement: Review and Recommendations for Science for All. 2010.

·       Evaluation of the use of Working with Others – Building Trust for the Shaldon Flood Risk Project. Includes cost-benefit analysis of various approaches to community engagement. Environment Agency. 2009

·       What next for public engagement? Various frameworks, papers and presentations for Sciencewise-ERC, UK sustainable Development Commission, Welsh Assembly Government and Defra. 2009.

·       Engagement and sustainable development. A manual for SDC, WAG and Defra. 2009.

·       National Consultation review, framework and guidance. Environment Agency. 2009.

·       Departmental Dialogue Index:  a tool for assessing organizational readiness for dialogue and engagement. Toolkit with summary and background research paper. Sciencewise-ERC. 2009.

·       Improving Social and Institutional Responses to Flooding: 18 month research project, funded by the Environment Agency/Defra's Science programme. Included analysis of capabilities, skills, culture and practical ways forward for collaborative work on flooding.  Includes evidence, corporate level recommendations and three practical toolkits on 'how to work collaboratively with communities', 'running effective partnership meetings' and 'good practice in running drop ins and surgeries'. Environment Agency/Defra. 2009.

·       Community Adaptation Planning guidance. For Collingwood Environmental Planning, for Scott Wilson and Defra. 2008 – 9.

·       Resilience and sustainable development. A discussion paper and online discussion. For SDC. 2008.

·       Congress for the Future. A proposal and winner of the SDC’s ‘breakthroughs’ award. 2006.

·       Deliberative Public Engagement in Decision Making: 9 principles. Contributor. Involve and National Consumer Council. 2008.

·       An assessment of community engagement and community development approaches including the collaborative methodology and community champions. Contributor. NICE. 2008.

·       The art of facilitation: Mainstreaming change. Chapter in pamphlet for involve. 2006.

·       How we’ll interact: Vision for future of governance in UK, including ‘councils for the future), chapter for the Sustainable Development Commission. 2006.

·       Review of UK literature on public participation and communicating flood risk for Environment Agency/Com Coast (European Collaboration project). 2005

·       People and participation. Contributor. Involve 2005.

·      The True Costs of Public Participation. Contributor. Involve 2005.

·       Building Trust with Communities: Toolkit, literature review, how to guides, evaluation reports. Environment Agency. 2005 – 2013

·       Turn me on and I’ll turn out: chapter on the role and forms of governance and involvement required for sustainable development.  Sustainable Development Commission, 2001.

·       Evaluating participatory, deliberative and co-operative ways of working. 2001.

·       Author, Sustainability in Practice: a guide for voluntary and community groups. Published by Projects in Partnership/London Voluntary Service Council 1998.

·       Advisor, Participation Works!  Published by the New Economics Foundation.  1998.

·       Training manuals including: Visioning, Facilitation foundation; effective partnerships; chairing effective meetings; stakeholder engagement; open space technology; designing participatory events and processes. 1998 - present

·       Contributing author, Guided Visualisation – a guide.  Published by NEF. 1997.

·       Editor, The Vision 21 Facilitation Toolkit.  1997.

·       Editor, Sustainable Gloucestershire - the Vision 21 Handbook for creating a brighter future, 1996.

·       Editor, EDGE Magazine (sustainable development in Gloucestershire). 1992 – 1997.