Art of Hosting in Karlskrona

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.

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The Art of Hosting training in Karlskrona in action

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.

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This is the (very Swedish) house I stayed in! Veeeery nice people, and lots of wooden interior walls and Knäckebröd.

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.

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Me in Karlskrona, happy to arrive safely and trying to not fall off the dock
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When I recognized myself and my experiences in Karlskrona in this image, made by the ‘Harvesting team’ of the meeting, I knew that I was at ‘Hippy Camp’, and really it didn’t matter.
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The surroundings of the training facilities were very beautiful.
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View from the training room.

In this training, I learned many things about hosting groups, presenting to groups and learning with groups. We practiced:

  • Check-in & Check out
  • Harvesting
  • World Café
  • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Circle practice
  • Fish Bowl
  • Open Space
  • Collective story harvest
  • Rope game
  • 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
  • Mental models
  • 2 Loops
  • Powerful questions
  • Graphic recording
  • 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 your handmade products – help!

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:

Facebook Event Dutch
Facebook Event: Wat is het waard? – Prijs je product.

 

 

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!

 

Facebook Event in English: What's

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.

I hope to see you there!

Useful articles about pricing your products:

The Etsy Blog – A Simple Formula for Pricing your Work

Creative Live Blog – 5 Tips For Effective Wholesale Pricing

Anke Panke’s Blog – Wholesale (Nederlands)

Above all – Make good Art

While I was browsing the website of the really inspiring initiative of the Milagro Arts Center, which I found through Kickstarter, I stumbled upon this video of a speech of Neil Gaiman to the graduates of the University of the Arts in 2012.

Neil Gaiman Addresses the University of the Arts Class of 2012 from The University of the Arts (Phl) on Vimeo.

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!

My very first Open Space

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.

Starting of in a circle

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:

Open Space (Technology) is a simple way to run productive meetings, for five to 2000+ people, and a powerful approach to leadership in any kind of organization, in everyday practice and turbulent change.

Providing a framework and a method

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!

Co-creating the agenda

Happy last day of 2015!

A while ago, this made my day:

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.

Happy 2016! May your struggles be enjoyable.

 

Fear (in Dutch)

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!

End of the semester videos

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.

Intercultural Communication and Leadership is taught at CIEE study centers worldwide. More information on the CIEE website.

Unlocking Creativity

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:Summary of the talk of Dr. Tina Seelig at TEDxStanfordYou 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.

 

Bijeenkomsten rond vragen die er toe doen.