Last weekend I was in Sweden! And although I studied abroad in Sweden (in 2004/2005), I really didn’t remember much of my Swedish language courses. I did remember how to ask if we could pay by card in the train, but the Swedish answer was so long (and so Swedish), that I was forced to ask the salesman to repeat his answer in English. This much to the amusement of my fellow travelers by the way, who were from Mexico, Germany and Slovenia, and were headed to the same training as me.
The Art of Hosting training attracts many international participants, and participants from all walks of life. I do think that many of the people you meet at trainings such as this one are mostly honest, open and passionate individuals who care about the world and each other. When my partner identified my training weekend to his friends as ‘Hippie Camp’, I protested at first. But to be honest, it is a bit like hippie central. There is just a lot of hugging and sharing going on! And although that’s a little out of my comfort zone, I was very thankful that one of the organisers shared her house with me, so that I didn’t need to pay for an expensive hotel in the city. Also, whenever there were hugs, I was mostly grateful to share a hug.
Art of Hosting is a way to facilitate (host) meetings and conversations for groups of people. In this line of teaching there are very many useful models that you can use when you want a big group to share knowledge and inspire them to have valuable conversations. This monday, for example, I will be hosting a World Café for a conference on health & research.
In this training, I learned many things about hosting groups, presenting to groups and learning with groups. We practiced:
Check-in & Check out
Collective story harvest
Designing for wiser action
All of which I plan to use in future sessions with either my students or external groups. Furthermore we had teaching sessions on:
The 4-fold practice
8 Breaths of design
I am so excited to put into practice all the new models and methods I have used! Are you curious what we could do together with Art of Hosting methods? Just invite me over for a coffee!
Pricing products that you made by yourself can be very scary. Are you really going to charge this for something you made by yourself? It’s so easy to undervalue your own products and so scary to charge a higher price… I wanted to organize a meeting to support all of us around the city of Amsterdam who are going through this, and so I did, one event in Dutch and one in English:
I figured it would help to all get together, bring our products, have tea and cookies, and I will set up a system where you can get everyone’s input about the price of your product. Hopefully you will feel better and more confident about your price, once you know what everyone else thinks of it!
There are many different ways to determine the price of your product; market research, determining your costs and adding a certain percentage, your own opinion, your moms opinion, etc. And there are so many values that customers attach to the price of a product! They think the price represents the quality of a product, if it is really handmade, and, if they will buy your product! Mostly, you are on your own, with your product, in your house. Let’s struggle with our prices together and help each other out here.
Mike & Wims furniture has arrived at its first official selling point! Lokaal Spaanders in Amsterdam Noord sells beautiful local products and delicious coffee and cake. We’re so proud! Thank you Roos for giving our furniture a place to live!
This is so inspiring! And I am not even an artist. But in the spirit of Neil Gaimans Speech, I am just going to pretend I was one of the graduates in the audience who listened to that speech. And you can do that too!
Last Sunday I hosted my very first Open Space. I have attended Open Spaces before, but never had I organised and hosted an Open Space by myself. The participants were +- 25 creative festivalorganizers. They are active! Enthusiastic! Loud! Quick! Full of ideas! And it was great to work with them.
Young Art is a cultural organization from the city of Beverwijk, in the Netherlands. Once a year they organize a festival, and I have been a part of it in one way or another for 11 years now. I started as an ‘artshopper’, in a course on documentary making, then worked backstage, and last year I was their stagemanager for the B-stage! I grew with the organization and the festival, and now I was able to try out one of my current ambitions; to practice Art of Hosting and Open Space Technology.
If you want to know more about Open Space Technology, have a look at this website:
It’s about providing a framework and a method to let the attendees talk about subjects that are important to them. One of the main principles is that attendees should feel like they are either learning from, or contributing to the conversation that they are attending. If they feel like they are not doing either of those,
they should use ‘The Law of Mobility’ and move on to a different group or conversation.
It works great if you have a complex question, want to generate new energy in a group or if you want to know what the burning issues are for your employees, community or organization, this is a great method to try out.
If you want to organize an Open Space (or a different meeting / brainstorming / planning) model for your organization, contact me!
It is a good way for me to think of 2015. We worked, struggled, slept, ate, and build half a house. Next year, I hope to continue to live, in the glass bottle of life. That’s all. I nééd this sometimes. I need to get away from the news and focus on the nows.
Just a little addittion for any Dutch readers, the Daily Delusions by the Dutch news blog De Correspondent does exactely the same thing. But then in an hour and instead of a philosphical retrospect you get all the non-news (waan) of the last year. Fun to watch, same result. We work, struggle, and then continue to live.
I joined the last edition of TEDxAmsterdam as a volunteer and looooved it. Even though your pretty busy as a volunteer, I got to see the main part of the talk of Damiaan Denys. And it might very well be one of the best talks of this edition. It makes you laugh at your own fears. It’s in Dutch as Mr. Denys is at his best in Dutch, but since I live in the Netherlands and many of my clients are Dutchies, I really wanted to share this with you:
I would definitely recommend volunteering at a TED (x) event if you got the chance! As an event organizer, I got a very valuable peek at all things going on backstage. All the stagemangers, the timing, the food and the decor, it was very well done. Plus, you get to be at the TED conference!
Last week was the very last class of my course Intercultural Communication and Leadership at the office of CIEE Amsterdam. I will miss my students! The last class of the semester is usually a ‘digital story viewing party’. All students make a digital story of some of the lessons they learned during their study abroad. These lessons can be very personal and provide insight in how different the experience of different students can be. Today I want to share two stories of students who shared their stories publicly on YouTube.
This is a great story about culture shock. There are so many different degrees of culture shock! I am so glad that Emma decided to share her story and hope that others recognize some of their experiences in this story.
This second story is about language. In some time of the semester many of my students suddenly realize how lucky and privileged they are to have English as their first language.
Now I start my holidays checking the last papers and sending out final grades. It is such an amazing and valuable experience to see these students grow and learn during their stay abroad, I am happy I get to do it again next semester.
Yesterday I saw an amazing TED Talk by Stanford Professor Tina Seelig. Now there are amazing TED Talks all over the web, and one of my students even told me that watching TED Talks makes us stupid. But I’m telling you, this talk was a-ma-zing.
Professor Seelig indicates several different possibilities to grow creative abilities and thereby innovation, and gives examples of how to stimulate these factors. It struck me that all of them, the internal “imagination – knowledge – attitude”, and the external “habitat – resources – culture”, are separate factors that a person or organization can actively work on. You could make any of these a focus area of a meeting, event or policy if you want to improve your creativity & innovation skills as an organization or even as a freelancer.
Because I am fascinated by Dr. Seelig and because she stated so many interesting concepts at once, I chose to make a drawing of the talk:You will only be able to understand some of the analogies if you watched the talk (like the shoes with little umbrella’s on them), so watch it! But it will hopefully help you to remember the talk and the concepts in a clear way. In any way, it helped me!
I started to practice to actively draw out concepts and brainstorming sessions after I followed an Art of Hosting training in the summer of 2015. I love drawing, it helps me to understand and remember, in Art of Hosting they call it ‘harvesting’. I know that I still have a lot to learn and to develop my drawing, and I am excited to share my progress in drawing interesting concepts on this blog.