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To bring heart to the courageous work of public engagement through the patterns and practices of Art of Hosting.
To be together better.
These were the two key goals set for 27 faculty and staff from across the University of Minnesota who participated in the first two days of Art of Hosting training last week.
Language matters. Talking about facilitation and hosting as a practice instead of an expertise invited us participants to try it out without waiting to feel like experts. Taking about gatherings and conversations instead of conferences and meetings sets the tone for a participatory environment. At the same time, the language used in Art of Hosting won't resonate with every audience. I realized it's important to be intentional about your language, pushing those you are with out of the status quo, but making sure your language choices don't alienate.
Creativity matters. Drawings and movement were incorporated throughout the two days. Not only did this help me remember the concepts so much better, but it stirred up my creative self that I tend to shush in my professional interactions. Thanks to all the folks at the training from the School of Design who added so much to these conversations!
Hosting skills matter. One of the conversations that took place during open space technology was "How do we get more students trained in Hosting techniques?" We had a great discussion about where this might be incorporated in curriculum or service learning opportunities and how this might look if it was a stand-alone center/program at the University.
We have two more days of the training Thursday and Friday of next week. I can't wait. After the last two days, we set intentions for ourselves to focus on until the second half of the training. Mine was to build more creativity and nuance into my day-to-day work.
In closing, I have two gifts for you. The first is the questions our trainers asked us to reflect on prior to the training. I encourage you to take a moment and reflect yourself on these potentially transformational questions...or take them to your next staff meeting:
What time is it in the world for me or my center/unit as we work to pursue opportunities for change or concern for Minnesotan?
How does this change need to be different from what has happened before?
What is the change I am inviting in myself by inviting a change in the system?
How do we keep our actions connected and sustain the momentum?
The second gift is a great poem that set the tone for our training:
Not just any talk is conversation
Not any talk raises consciousness
Good conversation has an edge
It opens your eyes to something
It quickens your ears
And good conversation reverberates
It keeps on talking in your mind later in the day;
The next day, you find yourself still conversing with what was said
The reverberation afterward is the very raising of consciousness
Your mind and heart have been moved
Your are at another level with your reflections.
I believe we need the meaningful conversations that can spark in a carefully hosted space more than ever. Hosting techniques need to be spread, not just among students but among even more faculty and staff. I hope this summer's Art of Hosting training serves as the drop in a lake that ripples out across our University.
Offices/Schools/Centers represented in this summer's University of Minnesota with InCommons Art of Hosting training:
Office of Human Resources (Organizational Effectiveness, Center for Teaching and Learning), Extension (Children, Youth, and Family Consortium, Center for Community Vitality, Humphrey School of Public Affairs (Public and Nonprofit Leadership Center, Center for Integrative Leadership, Urban and Regional Planning), College of Liberal Arts (Community Service-Learning Center, Office of Information Technology), Carlson School of Management, College of Education (Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development), School of Veterinary Medicine (Center for Animal Health and Food Safety), School of Social Work, Academic Health Center (Center for Spirituality and Healing), Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center, College of Design (Design, Housing, and Apparel, Center for Sustainable Building Research, Center for Changing Landscapes), Medical School (Center for Magnetic Resonance Research).
This is a cross posting from Time to Lead, the Center for Integrative Leadership’s conversation about the nature and practice of leadership that crosses business, government, and civil society sectors to advance the common good. You can read the original post here.