May 26 2015 Posted: 15:32 IST

Members of the Galway City Community Network and interested members of the public are invited to a unique workshop on Saturday, 6 June, which will focus on wellbeing in Galway City. Organised by the Galway City Community Network (GCCN) and NUI Galway, the aim of the interactive event is to develop a ‘Statement of Wellbeing’ for current and future generations in Galway City. The workshop runs from 9am – 1pm in the Arts Millennium Building, NUI Galway.

While traditional economic models have often equated wellbeing with economic growth, new research is showing the importance of the wider question of what really matters in life. This in turn has triggered an ongoing debate about how best to measure and foster individual and societal wellbeing.

Tommy Flaherty, GCCN Chairperson said: “Wellbeing is something we should all be aiming for. It is more than the absence of ill-health. It is about how we plan our communities, our cities, and our environment so we can have a sense of wellbeing. We want to get individuals, groups and organisations from the community, voluntary and environmental sectors in Galway involved. We want them to share their visions for how we can embed wellbeing in Galway city for ourselves, our children and our children’s children.”

The workshop will use a technique called ‘collective intelligence’ to allow the gathering and structuring of ideas to inform the wellbeing statement. Michael Hogan, co-leader of the Health and Wellbeing research group at the Whitaker Institute, NUI Galway said: “Galway is such a wonderful place, we’re so delighted to be able to contribute to the great work that is ongoing across the city. Our role at this collective intelligence event is to act as facilitators - the people who come to our event have all the intelligence.”

Michael Hogan added: “This work is difficult in part because when many minds converge on the issue of understanding and promoting wellbeing, many different ideas emerge and research is slow to establish coherence. Increasingly recognised as important is empowering groups to work together to establish a shared vision of wellbeing that they can act upon – and promoting systems thinking in groups such that they can understand how their different wellbeing objectives relate to one another. Notably, international best practice suggests that understanding well-being and developing well-being actions is best approached by focusing on the key strategic objectives and goals that guide our collective efforts to enhance wellbeing.”

International perspective will also be brought to the event with the participation of Professor Benjamin Broome of Arizona State University.

Commenting on the logistics of the event, Ann Irwin GCCN Co-ordinator, said: “The workshop will consist of six working groups of about 20 people each. In the working group participants will be asked to brainstorm a series of ideas that will eventually lead us to a Wellbeing Statement for Galway. This process will be facilitated by an experienced facilitator and start at 9am. Anyone interested is asked to register using the online registration process as soon as possible as there is a trigger question that all participants are asked to answer before the workshop. This enables the facilitators to prepare the session. All the details are on the website www.galwaycitycommunitynetwork.ie.”

Galway City Community Network is the Public Participation Network for Galway City which ensures extensive input by organisations and groups in the community, voluntary and environmental sectors into local decision and policy making bodies including at local authority level.

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