The Art of Hosting

At the recent stewards gathering I hosted an open space session with this title: 'What's possible beyond the 3 day training?'. I called this session because so often after AoH trainings participants come up to me and say how inspired they are but that they aren't sure how to continue/integrate what they learned. Some ask what to do if they wanted to start making this their work, where could they learn more.

So I was curious to find out form colleagues how they deal with this and what kind of formats people had already been experimenting with instead of 3 day trainings or as a follow up.

Formats were shared, we talked about diffusion strategy, how to spread the practice widely and steward the essence at the same time. On this note Juanita Brown (from World Cafe) shared that their diffusion strategy has been the book, to make resources and stories available. Amy shared about the World Cafe online course, which is an 8 weeks online program with some life sessions and some homework for participants to do in their own time. People are working together and creating projects beyond the course.

We also talked about language.Is training the right word for what we are hosting? In some contexts other language might be needed.

In France they call it workshop. In Brazil they call it encounters. In the European Commission it is not called Art of Hosting but Art of Participatory leadership. Like with everything, adapting to the context seems key.

And here is what I learned about formats:

Instead of 3 day trainings

In Minnesota there have been several experiments (for more info ask Jerry Nagel):

  • 2 + 2 days with 10 days in between. This was to let the learning sink and give people a chance to practice before deepening their learning.
  • 3 x 4 days 9am-3pm. This format was designed especially for low income parents, who could not be away for a weekend and had to return to their homes after 3pm
  • 7 days - 3 + 2 + 2 over 3 (?) months. This was especially for people with projects they wanted to apply Aoh to

As follow up to the 3 day training

  • Stewardship development program in Australia (for more info ask Stephen Duns)
  • 9 month train the AoH trainer intensive cohort in Minnesota. Training mostly on the core methods circle, world cafe, open space etc. (for more info Jerry Nagel)
  • AoH Beyond the Basics - Tim, Chris, Tuesday and Caitlin are working on the next level of training for experienced practitioners working with systems
  • Art of Hosting integration - more than an online course. Hendrik, Rowan and I are working on creating this. For more info please get in touch with me.

Peer support activities

  • weekly breakfast meetings in the European Commission where practitioners can come and talk freely about their work and challenges (for more info ask Ursula Hillbrand)
  • monthly Peer Coaching Cafe where people can bring cases/design challenges and be supported by peers (for more info ask Ursula Hillbrand)
  • every 3rd day of an AoH training is open for practitioners in Austria to join for a small fee (for more info ask Ursula Hillbrand)
  • Salon evening sessions where practitioners can be together in Pro-Action Cafe are being hosted by Rainer and Lena in Austria (for more info ask Lena Jacobsson)
  • Self hosted monthly practitioner evenings in Egypt. Each 1st of the month someone steps forward to host and announces on the AoH Egypt facebook group where the gathering will be (for more info ask me)
  • Monthly hosted community meetings for peer support in Brazil. Everyone can bring a question/challenge and will be supported by the community. (for more information ask Tamara Rezende de Azevedo)
  • Elders - apprentice mentorship connections in Blekinge Institute in Sweden (for more info ask Tracy Meisterheim)

Some interesting questions to leave with:

Was the 3 day training format designed based on the needs of participants or the needs of the hosts? Could we shift the format towards catering more to the needs of participants?

How to support those who caught the spark to become master hosts?

How can we together be intentional about seeding depth and mastery of the practice in service of life?

How can this kind of work be converged online?

What is the business model for hosting a community of practice?

If you have been experimenting with other formats, please add your comments here.

Views: 345


You need to be a member of The Art of Hosting to add comments!

Join The Art of Hosting

Comment by Nadine McCormick on March 9, 2014 at 9:08am

In Switzerland, we've had several "Practice the Practice" sessions, self-organised between some of the participants and hosts of the training that I attended back in December 2012. I just went to one yesterday and was inspired all over again (and reminded of this Ning hence just signing up). Virtually, we also set up a LinkedIn group as everyone seemed to have a profile and wanted a "safe" space to share ideas/suggestions with people they'd met. While it doesn't replace yesterdays in-person session, it helps to keep the connection going too.

Comment by Jeff Aitken on December 29, 2013 at 12:07am

Thanks for this Simone and everyone. As we enter 2014 I'm excited to consider formats for growing the art of hosting in California (glad you are here Simone!)

Comment by marco valente on December 18, 2013 at 4:32pm

Hello Simone, and all.

I really like the question. To add to your list of ideas & other formats. In both Scandinavia over the past few years there have been two formats that I am aware of: one is the dojo of practitioners, the other is the learning village.

Dojo comes from Aikido as the place of practice, and the dojo gatherings have started as places where all practitioners could meet to simply learn from each other and talk about topics of interest. The ones I have been attending have been 1-day events with a self-organized agenda, in a loose open-space format to get a sense of what people are interested in;

The Learning Villages I have attended are the ones that happened in Copenhagen around New Year's. They are designed as a 3days village for practioners to meet, share learnings, work on projects that people are involved in.

Both format have been serving their purposes really well of keeping connections active and deepening the learnings by providing spaces of practice. All the best,


Comment by Mirona Constantinescu on December 10, 2013 at 5:53pm

I like the different formats and support offered after AoH

Comment by Judith Stemerdink-Herret on November 21, 2013 at 2:53pm

Thank you very much Simone!

This harvest is a good inspiration what next steps we can try here in Kenya too ;-)

Love, Judith

Comment by Niamh Swanson on November 21, 2013 at 2:37pm

Thanks Simone, this is a really helpful summary and some great ideas for possible events in the UK.

Comment by Paolo Giusta on November 8, 2013 at 8:28am

Lot of wisdom in Simone's post.
I like the focus on participants' (and potential hosts') needs.
The key, as I see it, is: Are we training practitioners? Will the trained practitioners actually practice?
Or are we transmitting a theory they'll never, or rarely use?
Plus: are we transmitting techniques and methods, or a different spirit of seeing and doing things (the "depth and mastery of the practice in service of life" - how beatifully said!)?
Thank you Simone for launching this!

Comment by Nancy Bragard on November 6, 2013 at 3:46am

In France we are embarking on our second day of pratcitioners' gathering. The first in mid March focused on the 4-fold practice, AoH and me, the collective and the individual: how have we hosted ourselves and what have been our AoH moments of magic in 2012? How can we nourish AoH so it nourishes us and our practices? And next week we're holding a day on our interior posture when we host. What do we do when we are really present and aligned? Where are our strengths in hosting the process and where can we benefit from adopting a lower profile to allow for emergence? An intimate day on looking closely at our hosting practices and supporting each other in sharpening them. We limit these days to 25 participants, all have attended an AoH 3-day seminar so we have a shared common denominator and language. Happy to contribute to your rich harvest, Simone! Thanks for this...

© 2024   Created by Rowan.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service