I discovered the Art of Hosting methods and retreats not long ago. I was in Madrid standing in line for the cinema with my friend Diego, when Jesús bumped into us. They started talking about the projects they had done, which involved interventions with people in specific locations and also participatory processes. They talked about how much something called the Art of Hosting helped them put these participatory processes into pratice and get where they wanted with those projects.
At first I misheard “Art Hoffman”, and I was puzzled. Who was this guy who benefitted these two fellows’ work so much? I wasn’t shy and asked, and they corrected me: it’s the “The Art of Hosting”, a method that didn’t impose a single viewpoint when developing specific interventions and that included many layers of interaction, interactions including people but also environments. As its name implies, it is about shifting the underlying guiding principle of leadership from authoritarianism to participation of everyone involved and following the principles of care and dialogue.
“Wow! I am happy something like this exists”, I said Jesús and Diego. This is exactly what I was looking for to move my work with workplaces striving to generate collaborative processes, freelancers and entrepreneurs one step further.
As they explained to me, it is a method that combines theory with practice and is thought to be applied in projects involving any kind of collective and collaborative process. Carlotta and Santiago, two among the rest of the organizers of this year’s edition of the Art of Hosting, state that “it’s going to be three days in a rural and quiet environment to connect with an international network of people committed to change.”
The objective is to become -better- facilitators in group dynamics developed around key questions, and to be able to design and lead satisfactory and useful meetings. If it’s possible to make a meeting satisfactory and useful, this is revolutionary I tell you! They also apply other “social technologies” as they call it, “very useful to develop new projects and fulfill the potential of our collective intelligence”. Sounds great.
Diego later shared with me that:
“Participating in an Art of Hosting retreat opened a space for me where I could learn new techniques for group work, practice other collaborative methods and explore the emergence of new leadership styles together with the other participants. I was able to apply this in my workplace but not exclusively: it can be applied to many other situations.¨
As they state on their webpage, this if for those “unsatisfied with the way we live and are looking to strengthen their skills for a respectful and balanced leadership that takes into account our environment”.
This all is going to take place from the 29th of september to october the 1st near Barcelona, in Can Armenteras. Find all the information on their website and on their Facebook event. The facilitators speak English but the activities will be in Spanish. You can drop a line to email@example.com for any inquiry.
If you’re still giving it a thought, check a video of their 2015 workshop near Madrid.