Beyond the bookclub: DIY peer-to-peer learning

A DIY guide to help you design peer-to-peer learning journeys within your neighbourhood.

In 2022, CIVIC SQUARE and Huddlecraft (formerly Enrol Yourself) launched 12 peer-to-peer learning journeys for renegade neighbourhood economists, across the UK and beyond, to put the principles of Doughnut Economics into action in local neighbourhoods.

If you've been inspired by the peer-to-peer neighbourhood doughnut journeys, or just by the book itself, you might be thinking of how you can create your own learning journey with others locally.

So we're:
• Open sourcing the learning journey structure we co-designed with CIVIC SQUARE
• Sharing some tips and tools for how to get started, based on our experience of supporting over 600 people to participate in peer-learning journeys with Huddlecraft

If you’re keen to host a more traditional book club, check out this co-created guide on the DEAL platform.

How does a peer-to-peer learning journey work?

Part 1: Chapter Chews. In this type of peer-to-peer learning journey, a group gathers and then each take it in turns to design a workshop or activity to bring a chapter of the book to life, teaching it to the rest of the group, over a series of weeks.

Part 2: Neighbourhood Doughnut Experiments.  You can also extend your peer-to-peer learning journey to put the principles of Doughnut Economics into action into your neighbourhood. You might do this by meeting regularly as a group to co-design and/or support each other to design and  launch experiments in your neighbourhood aligned to one or more of the seven ways.

Why use this tool?

  • Engage a range of people who might not typically feel called to join a book group
  • Explore the book in an interactive way
  • Bring together people locally

Who is it for?

Local communities who want to gather around the ideas of the Doughnut.

How long does it take?

We recommend a minimum of 10 weeks: 1 to set up your group, 1 for each chapter of the book, and 1 for a 'what's next' session. You might choose to structure your peer-to-peer learning journey over 6 months, to allow time for people to go deeper, digest the ideas, and have a few months to put their ideas into action.

How many people is it for?

Groups can vary in size, but 6-12 is a great number to allow for deep relationships to form over the course of the journey.

Step 1: Gather your group

Craft and share an invitation with people who might be interested. How can you make your invitation warm and curiosity-provoking? We love the question-based postcards that CIVIC SQUARE designed for this journey.

Consider inviting people you already know, people in your local neighbourhood, or neighbours you've not met yet. Reach out to existing community groups, street Whatsapp groups, and post your invitation on digital and in-person noticeboards. Here's an example of an invite that peer-host Lorna created in Dudley.

You may also like to share your ‘why’  to give people a sense of who you are and why you’re hosting this, as well as giving them a flavour of what they can expect. You could do this in writing a bit more about yourself,  and/or hosting an open coffee meetup so that people can meet you.

It’s also worth thinking about any collaborators you want to bring on board to help you host this journey - perhaps that’s a co-host, or a community organisation who are supportive and would be happy to let your group use their meeting spaces.

Invitations created by CIVIC SQUARE

Step 2: Create the conditions for connection

The key ingredient of a brilliant peer-group is relationships. Before diving into the book content, take some time to plant seeds for relationships between folks in your peer group. 

Here are some ways we love doing this at Huddlecraft:

  • Object show and tell: Each person brings an object that represents why they are taking part in this learning journey, and has time to share this with the rest of the group. Invite the group to listen with their whole selves and hold each others' stories with curiosity and care.
  • User manual for me: This tool, shared by Cassie Robinson, is a great way to enable people to share more about themselves and their needs within a group. Adapt the user manual with prompts relevant for your group. You might like to get your group to fill these out on A3 paper, and then share them with each other in pairs.
  • Creating and sharing learning questions: Sharing learning questions out loud with peers helps the group find points of connection and mutual support. More on learning questions here. You might like to play with Huddlecraft’s learning question generator!
  • Role cards: These peer-group role cards help people to think about what roles or archetypes they typically like to play in groups. Invite people to think about and share what roles they play in their comfort zone, their stretch zone, and their panic zone. Invite everyone to share learning intentions based on what roles they'd like to grow into, and invite people to let them group know what kind of support to do this. 

Training up P2P Neighbourhood Doughnut Hosts

Step 3: Each one teach one

Divide up the 7 chapters between your group. Each of you takes it in turns to design a workshop or activity to bring a chapter to life, and teach it to the rest of the group, over a series of weeks.

You could point people towards these chapter summaries and animations or these Miro World chapter prompts if reading the whole chapter feels a bit overwhelming or if not everyone has access to the book. You might also choose to partner up, so that you are co-creating a chapter workshop together.

What are the most creative, most imaginative, most fun ways that you might get across the key idea of a chapter? 

Some ideas from previous groups:
• How can you create a game with balls of socks to  demonstrate thinking in systems?  
• How might we nurture human nature, by doing our learning session out in nature?  
• How can dancing help us change the goal? 

Step 5: Bring your learning to life

In the neighbourhood doughnut peer-learning journeys, the 'chapter chews' (sessions to digest the book content) were just the first phase of journey. In the second phase, peer-groups looked at how they might bring the principles from Doughnut Economics to life in their neighbourhoods, and supported each other to do this in lots of different ways, for example, through creating a virtual reality walkthrough of the local high street, hosting a street party to gather people around ideas of retrofit, experimenting with a local currency, starting a ‘guerilla gardening’ project in a front garden.

If you're also doing this with your group, we recommend having some sort of sharing event or co-produced output that everyone is working towards, for example, a Miro world, microsite, blog series, zine collection, podcast, or digital/printed publication.) This creates a focal point for the group to work towards - there's nothing like a deadline to inspire action!

This could be in the form of a joyful, creative and immersive public event (like this one in Cheltenham), or for something more intimate your group could have a story-telling supper, sharing what they've learned, discovered, and created through the journey.

Photos from Planet Cheltenham and Immy Kaur

Most of all - make this journey your own! And share how it goes:  we'd love to hear how you've brought peer-learning to life in your neighbourhood. Get in touch with us by emailing or tagging us and CIVIC SQUARE on social media (@Huddlecraft and @CIVIC_SQUARE).




    cristina sarris

    Athènes, Αττική, Grèce

    I wish to promote the Doughnut Economics framework in Greece to explore its applicability at the public and business sectors.


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