- Posted by Sera Thompson
This excellent video was just released from the Art of Hosting based work that our friends from the CYCC Network (Children & Youth and Challenging Contexts) and I have been leading. Check it out. If you see this and it's not too late, join W2A in Halifax on February 25th.
- Posted by Sera Thompson
I had a funny feeling during the first 2 days of the Art of Hosting (it was a feeling that I have had several times in the last few years). I was aware that as the work of the Art of Hosting spreads into more organizations and more people are sitting together in World Cafes in their organizations and communities, that the work is becoming somewhat commonplace.
As someone who regularly teaches the Art of Hosting, I am noticing that ideas that used to really blow people's minds - now seem a bit more obvious and common sense. Our dominant systems which have been wholly ruled by linear thinking and hierarchical structures, are slowly shifting and reconfiguring around us. We are watching TED talks about complexity. Where once relationship was a dirty word, we now find that the search to break down silos and build genuine collaborations is becoming ubiquitous.
Philosophically a transition is well underway. Here at home in Nova Scotia and globally as well, partly brought on by the emergent and highly networked world of social media - the metaphors which inform the way we see our world are rapidly shifting.
The Art of Hosting is no longer articulating a possibility far off in the distance.
Being someone who loves teaching and learning, I am always looking for the edge - the place where we are stretched - where we can enter new territory and navigate unknown terrain - where we are growing, deepening, becoming fuller versions of ourselves - bringing our gifts more fully to our family, team, organization or community.
The growing edge for those of us that are smitten with the idea of "complex adaptive systems", or longing for genuine participation, or hell bent on "breaking down silos" is to get our hands dirty.
One of the greatest gifts of the Art of Hosting, is its fierce practicality - we often say it is like training to become a surgeon: see one - do one - teach one. This work will only matter if it is grounded in our actions, we need to become practitioners. We need to dig in and get dirt under our fingernails.
The world is begging us to step up and practice hosting deeper and more meaningful conversations. But conversations aren't enough, we need to harvest our individual and collective clarity into relevant and accessible communications, and from that clarity we need to catalyze action. We need to try stuff and innovate, to mess around and see what works.
I have this sense that as more and more of us are starting to "get it" in our heads, but the real learning is where the rubber hits the pavement. Where we do good work together to create projects, teams, and communities that can rise to the challenge of these times we find ourselves in.
As we get ready for DAY THREE of this Art of Hosting on March 25th - use the link below to let us know where the rubber is hitting the road for you and what you need to bring this course home. And SIGN UP to dig in and learn by doing - join a team to help deliver day 3.
PARTICIPANT REFLECTION AND SIGN UP
After our compressed two-day training, I'm holding the following questions as inspiration for how we could explore this work further:
And so much more.
There was some part of me that was hoping I'd come away from this training having answers--something concrete to show for the work we've done. While the past couple days have definitely offered good introductions to the world views and forms that could comprise the practice of hosting, I've also come away with sparked curiosity--which is far more inspiring.
A door has been opened on the landscape of questions one must ask when considering how to engage human beings. More than ever I understand why it's referred to as an "art". It feels like the beginning of a very long, very worthwhile journey.
It is 5:15 on a cold January afternoon in Halifax and the room is still full of conversation. We all just raised our voices together in an impromptu choral celebration and we sounded great, if I do say so myself. It is the end of Day 1 of the Art of Hosting and we are full of ideas and conversation but still have so much to share.
I had been anticipating the transformative power of being in an AoH space and it was an interesting experience to have to suspend that anticipation while a blizzard passed through yesterday. I had still anticipated fun, good conversations, new connections, ideas about how to achieve outcomes from the work I am currently in…but forgot about how hard it is sometimes to show up authentically and fully into a new group of people. Despite feeling some fatigue, I still felt enough mental and emotional space and clarity today to completely brainstorm some approaches to a challenging community building project I am engaged in. That in itself is so helpful…the next step is how to create that for other people.
We are a diverse group from community organizations, government, academia and the private sector. There is a range of ages, from youth to elders, and everyone is learning. The hosting team has done a great job today of holding the space with a clear structure but adjusting that structure to respond to the weather challenges of yesterday and who is in the room. These adjustments are transparent and add to the coaching that has been happening.
The room is growing quieter as people wrap up for their plans and how we will all help hold the space for each other tomorrow.
- posted by Sera
Our hosting team of 12 people, (ranging from senior practitioners to those who attended last year for the first time and are back to learn more) are all excited and ready to greet you. The room is set up and looking beautiful. As of this morning, the three day agenda was all mapped out. As it goes with many well laid plans, they were blown aside by the storm.
In an excellent lesson on agility and adaptive-ness when hosting conversations, we spent the morning together changing tack, moving to imagining a two-day event with a one day follow up in the near future.
For us the training has already begun and we wanted to welcome you into what is cooking for us as a hosting team. Below is some of the framing that I was going to share this morning.
We create our world.
People have been thinking about how we create organizations, communities and societies throughout the ages.
How do we get good work done, bring our best, have important conversations, rebound from crisis and/or respond to opportunity?
How do we find the way forward when faced with enormous uncertainty and risk?
As practitioners and trainers in the Art of Hosting (AoH) we are exploring these questions with extreme practicality. Let's not just talk about engagement, let's practice it. My assumption is that if we invite people to truly participate, we will find that together we are highly resourceful. Across our diverse perspectives we can see the bigger picture, find clarity and commitment and act wisely.
We can face uncertainty and figure it out together.
THEMES SO FAR
In the conversations we are having, a few clear themes are coming up from what we are experiencing in our lives and work that are informing the training that we are going into.
WHat is Possible?
It maybe that when we no longer know what to do