The Art of Hosting

Tatiana asked a question (on the AoH listserve/emaillist) for Susana and Pablo in Bogota, Colombia seeking to bring AoH to universities in the city and perhaps find a way for them to recognise this as essential education for the future of the country... this is the overview we got so far...

I teach a PhD studies in leadership course which has at its core a 2.5 day retreat which is somewhat like an Art of Hosting.  I've done it for many years.  Last fall I hosted a 2.5 day retreat for faculty, students and community at St. Petersburg branch of University of Florida which also followed the same line.  Because I was the only one hosting the space, they were not really AoH -- but close. (Bob Stilger)

You may have already heard from others at Ohio State University, but we have an active community of practice going at Ohio State.  I think over 200 people have gone through multi-day trainings, and others have been working with World Café and AI methods. (Rick Livingston, Monica Nissen, Toke Moeller, Tuesday Ryan-Hart and Phil Cass)

Several pieces of work with Deakin University in Melbourne on Participatory Leadership (different three day trainings and have people sent to open AoH trainings).  We are doing a major piece with Deakin University using AoH as the basis of culture change, management processes and even pedagogy. (Stephen Duns & Co, Monika Nissen, Toke Moeller, Mary-Alice Arthur)

Using AoH with University of Tasmania on creating their values statement. They have also sent people to open AoH training.(Mary-Alice Arthur, Monica Nissen, Toke Moeller)
In the middle of exploring with Acadia University how Participatory Leadership can be built into the training of every student who goes through - they are developing a leadership track that all students go through - PL as part of that is what we are talking about. Early stages. (Tim Merry)

At university in PoliDesign - the training was on 5 days and it was on 7FP, a very special course dedicated to design and cooperation (Daniela Terille)
*note: I have asked for more detail on what University, then another person wrote related to this:
"I know that my two friends and mates Daniela and Paolo have used/applied AoH techniques in their regular workshops in two different universities in Italy, and some of them, in particular Paolo's students, have started applying the techniques themselves." (from Ursula Hillbrand)

About Sergio Montiel, Toronto,  "He is a good man, with many experiences in South America and in universities. I know him from the AoH participatory leadership in NYC , June 2010," (Gertrud Graf)

And an uncountable number of people from universities who may have been on AoH trainings - we haven't kept track...

Please add your knowledge here - or stories of how AoH was and is applied in universities!

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Hi Ria,

After having been hosted by Toke, Monika, Phill and Laura (in ALIA Europe) I am now looking forward to getting funding, creating space and opportunity to have a AoH workshop at Exeter University, UK. In my plan a number of staff (academic and professionals), undergraduates and postgraduates (including MBAs) will take part of this training. Any suggestions or ideas on how to go about this will be greatly received.

All the best,


Hello Inma, I guess it would be good for you to connect with other AoH practitioners, living and/or working in the UK - thinking of Linda Mitchell, Jennifer Jones - you can search the member list here, or look at the Group from the UK (tab Groups).
I started a conversation with a staff member of the new Social Entrepreneurship Academy that is currently starting in Munich, Germany by four major universities and a network of foundations. They are interested in an "Art of Social Innovation". Let's see where this conversation will take us...

Here is a message from Linda, that she couldn't post from where she is in Greece:

"Hi Inma and Ria - thanks for putting us in touch - I'm out in Greece at the moment setting up and preparing to co host the Axladitsa Immersion - have a look at http to see what we are up to.  

Also have a look at the invite for the Art of Collaborative Leadership for social change UK training we are hosting in June (also on the ning here).  Its part of the art of hosting family.  
Generally in order to get a training off the ground its wise to first sense into who might be part of a core group to help you develop this, the core group should have a couple of experienced stewards or hosts who can hold the pattern of a training and also support you in developing the purpose and your ideas.
When I get back (18th May) shall we have a chat and see how I might be able to help you think through what you are wanting to do.  Id love to connect with you.  
Finally there is a fledgling community of practice in the UK - have a look at the UK group on this site to see the invite and harvest of our last meeting in March...  are planning another for October
great to meet you here, lets speak soon  
Linda xx

Hi Everyone,


I’m using art of hosting and systems thinking to deliver a program at Swinburne University, aiming to improve student motivation and engagement. The program runs for 10 weeks and I’m currently in week 7.


There are 3 distinct phases in the program; the first is a self exploration for students to find meaning related to their studies and their learning goals, extending beyond the bounds of university; the second is focussed more on practical skills that help with successful learning, with the hope that the greater self awareness from the first phase will contribute to successful acquisition of these skills; and the third phase is confronting thoughts and behaviours students might have that detract from their ability to learn (however the final workshop is a celebration of the journey and is intended to provide a sense of accomplishment and hope for change).


I have used mentors in the program to provide leadership in discussions, that’s leadership in a participative rather than directive sense. The promise to both students and mentors (and me) was that I wanted to create a learning opportunity for all involved.


There are several art of hosting methods I’ve used, some of which I modified or borrowed from to suit the purpose of the workshops I was running. Each workshop begins and ends in circle, and from the very first week I sought comment and reflection from attendees that expressed their personal commitment to change. It has been a great privilege to be part of, a very powerful approach to have used, and seems to have made a profound difference to participants.


I’ve also used AI, world café, open space technology, pro-action café, and a couple of improvised approaches to provide the designs for the conversations and dialogue that were the main thrust of the program and the weekly workshops. If there was going to be a shift in students self-belief as learners, the most likely medium for this to occur was through engaging each other in meaningful conversation.


I would love to know if there are similar programs occurring elsewhere. I would be very happy to also share my experiences. I feel very fortunate to have had the forum and opportunity through this program at Swinburne to explore how some art of hosting approaches can be used to connect and engage students (and it would seem there’s great potential to engage and connect teaching staff at the same time :-).


Kind regards,



I am thrilled to be apart of a growing community at the University of Minnesota that have trained and are practicing the Art of Hosting. On Feb. 29, 2012 we are gathering as a community with the purpose to share the stories of our Art of Hosting practice to deepen our understanding and relationships with each other at the University of Minnesota.  We have initiated discussions with our mates at Ohio State with the shared purpose of bringing hosting deeper into the academy. 

Waauw Jen, this great news to read!

Very curious what will unfold from there?!?

With love from Belgium,


You will find our University of Minnesota community page on facebook and we also have a community harvest site on Posterous. We look forward to connecting with other communities of practice at universities!

Thanks for posting this! and maybe also good to mention it on the AoH emaillist - if you are part of that of course... Thanks,


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