The Art of Hosting

Most Art of Hosting trainings and related events use a Handout - Workbook - Journal for the participants to use, read, write notes etc.
Please share yours by adding a comment below, give it a good, visible title (make it bold, so it is easy for others to recognise), and add a little bit of the context you used it in, and why it might be different than other workbooks; or what is new in your case.

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Hello friends,

Here is a new offering into the field. There is a little story to frame this, worded by Steve Ryman : as stewards on the hosting team for the upcoming Art of Hosting Belgium, we (Steve and Helen) volunteered to produce the workbook.  We began with comments from Ria on one of the more recent versions of the workbook and then reviewed the entire document.  Our assessment is that it was old and had evolved into a collection of cut-and-pasted sections without continuity between them and it contained a number of sections that no longer reflected current teachings and thinking. It felt a bit like the unloved Velveteen Rabbit.

Our work soon transitioned from revising to totally re-writing the book.  In the process, we came to realize that what was emerging was a different book entirely, what we have come to think of as a companion guide rather than a workbook.   Frequently we struggled with how to maintain the freshness of emergence while freezing ideas into words.  Our response to this was to repeatedly reaffirm our hope and intention that this will only be the first version of the companion guide and that it will be an invitation into ongoing co-creation and evolution.

We have also been feeling trepidation in addition to the excitement. How dare we presume to replace the old workbook (we haven't; this is merely another option available to hosting teams) and to sacrifice some of the sacred cows in the old book? Will this companion guide become the vehicle for continued co-creation or will it be seen as the product of only two people? In writing it, we were certainly aware of how often we were merely the channel for the wisdom and contribution of so many people over the years. What we produced may not be what everyone would like to see in a resource for trainings.  After all, needs can differ significantly between trainings.  What we can assure you is that this was produced with the intention of being in service of the community and with deep humility and appreciation for the richness of our collective work.

The resulting companion guide looks and feels quite different from the old workbook and we realized that our decisions were informed by a number of design principles which became more apparent and explicit as we worked. We want to share these with you both to test their validity and their service to the field and also for you to use in assessing the companion guide. So, we invite ongoing conversation on at least two levels - the principles and the content/structure of the companion guide.  Our principles:

  • Reflect current knowledge and state of the art.  Working in emergence, it is most important to express what we are currently learning and using, and less important to include historically significant material that can be accessed elsewhere.
  • To the extent possible, illuminate the deeper patterns within the Art of Hosting so that this book can companion practitioners as their practice deepens. This means not shying away from deeper, more esoteric concepts such as consciousness, energy and spirit (although language needs to be adapted for different audiences).
  • New wine skins for new wine. Acknowledge and accept that this work is transformational, even revolutionary, and consequently the companion guide needs to operate and communicate as much as possible from 'the new paradigm'.
  • This companion is intended to illuminate the distinctive work of Art of Hosting. Methodologies developed and supported by other communities of practice are not ours to describe. Our contribution is the emergent approach to process design and the holding of space for these methodologies to maximally contribute to conversations.
  • Less is more.  Focus on core processes and models and eliminate peripheral material – the place for that is online.
  • If the information is readily available, do not include it in the companion (provide a link if necessary).
  • There are core themes that run through all of the methods and models. One of the purposes of this companion is to illuminate these themes as they show up in various ways.
  • The Art of Hosting is so much deeper than what can be experienced in a basic training. The methodologies are a small part of the essence of AoH.  The purpose of the companion is to identify the breadth and depth of the practice and for the material in the book to roughly correspond to the relative importance of our collective learning. Thus, methodologies have a significant but not overwhelming presence in the companion.
  • The companion guide should be easily adapted for use with future trainings.  Toward this end, we will also be providing a step-by-step guide to customizing it.

One of the challenges that we faced in this work and which still feels unresolved is how to handle attribution for personal contributions to the material.  While much of the material has been co-created by the field, there are are some processes and models that were the creations of individuals and some of the source materials that we used were written by specific individuals even if we edited or revised it for this book.  So, how do we acknowledge the contributions of some without risking the inevitable problem of overlooking other contributors.  Or, do we truly hold all of this material to belong to the field without need for personal attribution? 


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