Watch this video to see '9 Whys of Liberating Structures' in action...

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The purpose of '9 Whys of Liberating Structures'

“Rapidly clarify for individuals and a group what is essentially important in their work” (from here

Activity description

  • Useful for
  • Preparation
  • How to do it
  • Duration
  • Technical requirements

Encouraging listening and open interviewing while encouraging the speaker to dig deeper into their motivations simply by being asked why multiple times.


Full description here:

The video demo just shows the pairs activity, going one way.

5 minutes each in pairs - so 10 minutes for a first round.

You can then go in fours, where each person shares the experience of their partner in the previous round.

Breakout rooms to do this in pairs or small groups.

Additional resources

9 Whys on Liberating Structures website:

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How do I use these resources?

We have created a welcome video and some introductory text that explains in detail how to use these resources. You can also find answers to some key questions below. 

Yes you can. We have included descriptive text and slides that you can reuse / adapt for this reason. We have suggested some variations for activities to help you make adaptations.

We show how much time an activity should take and what resources you need to help you make a decision.

As we include more resources over time you will have a greater choice of activities and more information about the different contexts within which they work best. 

Any technique can block some people out, make them feel unwelcomed, or be used in a way that privileges some and makes it harder on others.

All of these techniques should be used in conjunction with pedagogies of care and what we call Intentionally Equitable Hospitality

If you try an adaptation of this activity, or try it as is and have interesting results to share, please contribute your adaptation/reflection in the comments or get in touch through social media / email.

Coming soon: there will be room to discuss these activities in private discussion forums in OneHE’s.

Please join the OneHE mailing list to make sure you know when this community space has been launched.

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