Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NBCO 2009 Highlights 2

Wood brigade from Georgie Donais on Vimeo.

A few more highlights:

Open Space
: Colloquium means "to talk together", and we natural builders had a lot to talk about. To make sure everyone got a chance during the afternoon sessions to have the conversations they were craving, James applied a process called Open Space. Anyone who had a topic they wanted to cover/presentation to make/question to ask, wrote it down on paper and posted it on a board. Then we were all invited to come read the postings, and put a dot beside the events that we wanted to attend. Then, all events were arranged by venue according to the number of dots; lot of dots meant a bigger venue, fewer meant a more intimate space. I've never seen a process work so smoothly or include everyone so readily. Very impressive.

The Law of Two Feet: Directly related to Open Space, this law states that, if you are no longer getting out of a presentation/lecture/conversation that which you would like, then it is your prerogative to (respectfully) remove yourself – with your two feet – and take yourself where you would rather be. No insult implied nor inferred. This reminder to take responsibility for our own fulfillment at the colloquium made sure that attendees were enjoying themselves, finding challenges that were appropriate and interesting to them, and avoided a whole load of potential bellyaching by participants that wished for something different than what they were getting but imagined they were obligated to stick it out.

Silks: I struck up a friendship with a couple of attendees who also study aerial silks, and they were only too happy to join me in silking most afternoons. They've been taking classes for much longer than I and so had much to teach me. I had a couple of moves for them too, but mostly they just kicked my butt. Four years older than my own kids, and also unschooled, they were a blast to hang around with and learn from.

Conversations: At one point, organizer and natural builder James asked us, "How many people's most memorable conversations here at the colloquium so far have involved just one or two people?" Many of us raised our hands. Indeed, casual conversation during unprogrammed time is where much of the down-and-dirty sharing of information happens. It's also a chance to connect in with old friends who, like me, have been attending these events for years and count on moments like these to maintain those friendships.

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