What do you need for your hosting practice to thrive?
What can we–as a community–do to help meet those needs?
How can we sustain a flourishing community of practice?
These were the questions that formed the heart of the inaugural meeting of AoH@OSU (2.0). This blogsite is one response to the first, most identifiable need: an accessible, common place to share information, questions, and ideas about hosting. We’ll work on making access more open, so everyone will feel comfortable posting and answering posts. In the meantime, I’ll be blogging semi-regularly, to make sure there’s fresh and interesting community news.
A second clear need was for some kind of structure that would allow the community to come together at regular intervals, without feeling like an obligation or extra work for people. There was, I think, a general sense that we should have a variety of reasons for gathering: chances to talk through practical challenges to hosting, opportunities to learn how to work with different hosting formats, and occasions to touch base with core patterns and principles of the Art of Hosting. Our goal is to keep learning, and to that end we agreed that our community is open to anyone interested in holding better conversations, whether or not they’ve attended formal AoH training.
Among the potential topics for future gatherings there surfaced: asking better (powerful & wicked) questions; planning and convening conversations; where to begin hosting groups accustomed to more linear, outcome oriented forms of meeting, uses of AoH in classroom, teacher-training and other settings, and the possibility of looking more closely at the resources assembled in AoH training workbooks. Most of all, it seemed, members are seeking connection: many of us work primarily on our our own, with little opportunity to learn from and share resources with others. So one thing a community can do is to allow us to acknowledge and appreciate this need.
In our small group, I mentioned a book describing experiences with the Art of Hosting at the University of Minnesota. You can find that book–Cultivating Change in the Academy: Practicing the Art of Hosting–here.
For those of you interested in thinking about patterns of practice, here’s a link to the Eight Breaths of Process Design. I believe there’s also a version of this diagram in our Art of Hosting training workbooks.