Graphic depictions of the Spectrum of Public Participation

The Spectrum of Public Participation (Image by Yvonne Hollandy collected by Tim Bonnemann)

The Spectrum of Public Participation (Image by Yvonne Hollandy collected by Tim Bonnemann)

Tim Bonnemann, the founder of Intellitics and a previous board member of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) in the USA, has been collecting graphic depictions of the Spectrum of Public Participation and its variations for a number of years. You can find his impressive collection of over 60 images here.

It is interesting to see the ways in which people have tried to adapt the Spectrum. Sometimes they have used the original levels with their corresponding goals and promises, and just changed the graphic design. Sometimes they have kept it largely the same but with some minor changes to terms (e.g., partnerships instead of collaborate). Sometimes they have tried adding new levels or made other quite significant changes.

I think some of the changes detract from the Spectrum. For example one of them implies that it is a cyclical process – which is not the intention of the spectrum.

I find it interesting that more of them omit the Empower level than the Inform level, and that none have made Inform a foundation rather than a separate level.

Tim’s collection provides useful insights into some of the different ways people perceive the Spectrum and associated ideas.

If you liked this post please follow my blog, and you might like to look at:

  1. What is the Spectrum of Public Participation?
  2. An introduction to community engagement
  3. 10 things I’ve learnt about strengths-based community engagement
  4. What is asset-based community-driven development (ABCD)?
  5. Bottom-up community development
  6. A community engagement reading list

If you find any problems with the blog, (e.g., broken links or typos) I’d love to hear about them. You can either add a comment below or contact me via the Contact page.

About Graeme Stuart

Lecturer (Family Action Centre, Newcastle Uni), blogger (Sustaining Community), environmentalist, Alternatives to Violence Project facilitator, father. Passionate about families, community development, peace & sustainability.
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