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TRANSFORMATIVE DIALOGUES - A TI Summer Workshop Institute

Sun, June 24, 2007

The Taos Institute held its first ever TAOS INSTITUTE SUMMER WORKSHOP INSTITUTE


At the University of New Hampshire
Durham, New Hampshire. JUNE 24 - 29, 2007

The Summer Workshop Series brought together academic leaders and outstanding practitioners from diverse professional fields for Transformative Dialogues with an international array of over 100 participants from 18 countries. Each morning began with a thought-provoking plenary followed by a day of workshops. The participants told us it was the best learning gathering they had ever attended.

WORKSHOP SERIES OVERVIEW

The Taos Institute hosted its first Summer Workshop Series designed to bring together academic leaders and outstanding practitioners in diverse professional fields for Transformative Dialogues with an international array of participants. As their focused activity, registrants selected two workshops from a wide-ranging group led by Taos Institute founders and board members and other Taos associates.

TOPICS INCLUDED:

  • Social Construction: Relational Theory and Practice with Kenneth and Mary Gergen
  • The Art of Positive Living with Bob Cottor and Sharon Cottor and friends  AND · Appreciative Inquiry: Unlimited in Your Options with Jane Watkins (two workshops together) 
  • Re-constructing Inquiry (for inquiring adults) with Sheila McNamee and Dian Marie Hosking
  • The Therapist as Coach with Harlene Anderson
  • Social Construction Meets the Buddha with Dian Marie Hosking
  • Appreciative Leadership with Jim Ludema
  • Improvisation: Creative Coordination in Organizations and Everyday Life with Frank Barrett, Ken Gergen and Mary Gergen
  • Relational Practices in Education and Training with Sheila McNamee and Sally St. George



Each morning began with cross-cutting conversations among the entire community generated by inspiring speakers, many of whom have been headliners at previous Taos Institute meetings. Following this "whole group" time, participants entered into their chosen workshops. There were additional opportunities for informal gatherings, lunch time topical tables, showcase presentations of new organizational and community practices and activities.

Plenary Topics Included:
 
Sunday Evening: Kenneth Gergen
Social Construction and the Challenge of World Conflict

Monday: Sheila McNamee
Living Responsibly in a Complex World

Tuesday: Harlene Anderson, Sally St. George, Dan Wulff, Sylvia London
It's About Time: Let's Make Room for Conversation

Wednesday:  Mary Gergen
“Spin” and Social Constructionism: Can I Tell the Truth?

Thursday: Jane Magruder Watkins
The Power of the Global Conversation

Friday: Dawn Dole, Jane Watkins and Bob Cottor
Making a Difference in our Worlds: Bringing it Home

Well all experienced the wonders of New Hampshire's natural beauty and charm - through explorations of the sea, mountains, and quaint villages of New Hampshire. Sports activities, family vacation opportunities, and lively fellowship were all a part of the gathering on the beautiful campus of the University of New Hampshire just minutes from the shore and mountains.

»»PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Taos Institute is hosting its first Summer Workshop Series designed to bring together academic leaders and outstanding practitioners in diverse professional fields for Transformative Dialogues with an international array of participants. As their focused activity, registrants will select two workshops from a wide-ranging group led by Taos Institute founders and board members and other Taos associates.

Morning Plenary topics will be announced soon.

CHOOSING YOUR WORKSHOPS:

The Summer Taos Institute Workshop Series is designed to have participants engage in a particular topic of choice as well as the opportunity to enter into dialogue with participants attending other workshops. Each morning all workshop participants meet together for a plenary presentation, cross-dialogue and activities followed by the respective workshops. Each workshop will run 2 1/2 days.

You will choose 2 workshops for the week, one from session A, and one from session B. Also, choose your second choice workshops for each session in the event that your first choice becomes full. 

Session A is held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
A.1. The Art of Positive Living and  A.3. Appreciative Inquiry: Unlimited in Your Options (we have combined these two workshops)
A.2. Re-constructing inquiry (for inquiring adults)
A.5. From Counseling to Collaborative Coaching
A.6. Social Construction: Relational Theory and Practice

Session B Wednesday afternoon, Thursday, and Friday.
B.1. Social Constructionism meets the Buddha
B.3. Appreciative Leadership
B.4. Improvisation: Creative Coordination in Organizations and Everyday Life
B.5. Relational Practices in Education and Training


Session A
choose one workshop to attend
(you will also choose your second choice at the bottom of this form)

A1- The Art of Positive Living - this workshop will be held on Monday only and the second half of this workshop will be:    A3- Appreciative Inquiry: Unlimited in Your Options

A1- The Art of Positive Living - Monday 
with Bob and Sharon Cottor
Positive Living is a creative thinking and action process that can enable us to construct a satisfying life in a world of unpredictable turbulence, uncertainty and, also, unexpected possibilities. We can learn to transform our challenges and crises into opportunities that invite us to experience our lives and work as positive, affirmative and meaningful. This is an ongoing process that utilizes curiosity, collaboration, appreciation, imagination, dialogue, and hope to construct new chapters of success and satisfaction in our lives. Relational and constructionist thinking inform the actions that can build and sustain a positive life. This workshop will be interactive and experiential. It will blend theory and practice. All participants will have the opportunity to share personal and professional stories about challenges to our functioning and well-being. We will explore these stories for opportunities to create life-enriching outcomes for ourselves and others. Bob and Sharon have worked together for 40 years in their clinical, consultative and coaching practice. They have also raised four children and now have four grandchildren. A major emphasis in their practice and their lives has now become Positive Living.

Tuesday and Wednesday only......

A3- Appreciative Inquiry: Unlimited in Your Options with Jane Magruder Watkins
This workshop takes participants from the start of this remarkable field to its current connections to many areas of organizational, personal and communal life. Beginning with a social constructionist orientation, Appreciative Inquiry has sprung from these roots, and is now the "Beanstalk" that Jack always dreamed of. Originally formed within the organization consulting community, it has spread to other groups of practitioners, as well.   Appreciative Inquiry (AI) seeks for the positive core in relationships and groups, and is not a  problem-solving endeavor. Participants in the workshop will actively engage in encounters that  bring the spirited nature of AI into reality. Workshop leader, Jane Watkins, is an early pioneer of AI, a close collaborator with David Cooperrider, and a world-renowned consultant; she is also currently engaged with Ralph Kelly in "home workshops" involving AI and couples. Mary Gergen is situated at the crossroads of AI and social construction, and has written and spoken about AI in the therapeutic milieu, schools, and personal life. They will be joined in this workshop by Taos Institute Associates, who are active in global AI practices.

A2- Re-constructing inquiry (for inquiring adults)
with Sheila McNamee and Dian Marie Hosking
This workshop will focus on modes of inquiry that blur the traditional distinction between research and social change (e.g., consultation, program development, etc.). We will explore what research from a constructionist orientation looks like, how is it different and similar to traditional, empirical modes of inquiry, and how it research informs the everyday practices of all participants. Emphasis will be given to the transformative potential of inquiry. In particular, participatory research, appreciative inquiry, action research, and autoethnography, will be used to make the case for widening participation and involvement in research in order to maximize the relevance and accessibility of studies. This theme resonates with the constructionist call to recognize the ways in which all social action rests in a matrix of relationships with other actors. During this workshop, time will be spent exploring participants own "contexts of inquiry" and designing relational forms of practice that both serve the members of those contexts while contributing to our general understanding of a wide range of social practices. In other words, we will take workshop participants' "research topics" and design methods for "producing research results" while importantly contributing to the process of local change and development. To that end, this workshop will redefine research as an everyday practice with relevance beyond professional, scientific communities. Sheila McNamee and Dian Marie Hosking are co-editors of The Social Construction of Organization (Lieber Press, 2006) and collaborate on many projects, including the articulation of constructionist forms of research.

A5- From Counseling to Collaborative Coaching with Harlene Anderson
Learn the Basic Assumptions of a Collaborative Approach to Coaching and How to Create a Successful Coaching Practice -- Coaching is a natural way for mental health professionals to expand their identity and create new possibilities for their careers. Harlene will present a collaborative approach to coaching that translates the assumptions of her postmodern collaborative therapy and its heart and spirit -- the philosophical stance -- to the arenas of life and business coaching. The key characteristics of the philosophical stance are: conversational partnerships, shared expertise, mutual inquiry, not-knowing, being public, uncertainty, and mutual transformation. The workshop will review the similarities and differences between coaching and counseling; help you identify your key counseling strengths and talents that are applicable to coaching; discuss expanding your professional identity; suggest the basics of setting up and promoting a coaching practice; and provide coaching and being coached exercises.

 

A.6. Social Construction: Relational Theory and Practice with Kenneth and Mary Gergen

This workshop serves as an excellent introduction to social constructionist ideas, and their applications to relational practice. Participants are introduced to the dramatic shift from realist views of the world, and the hierarchies of exclusion they invite, to a constructionist orientation to multiple worlds.  The interdependence of meaning, and the multiplicity of self receive special attention. Discussions may also include the power of appreciation, language and meaning-making, poly-vocality, transformative dialogue, values and spirituality. In addition numerous practical applications - in organizations, therapy, education, community development, and more - are explored. Participants with a background in social constructionism have an opportunity to explore issues of special relevance to their projects and practices. 

 

 


Session B
choose one workshop to attend (you will also choose your second choice at the bottom of this form)

B1- Social Constructionism Meets the Buddha
Workshop leader: Dian Marie Hosking
This seminar will combine experiential exercises and practical theory to actively explore links between key concepts and themes in Buddhism, relational constructionism, and the variable local-cultural histories of 'the self'. Explorations will include attention to (a) individualist, constructionist & Buddhist narratives of Self, the phenomenal world, and their relations (b) busy mind & resting the mind, the senses and embodied construction (c) the dominance of vision and 'coming to our senses' (d) not knowing and emptiness, openness and appreciation, and (e) practices for developing an enlightened society.

B3- Appreciative Leadership with Jim Ludema
This workshop is for leaders seeking to develop skills in positive change -- leaders for whom authoritarian and hierarchical ways of doing business and managing people no longer work. Discover and build upon your Leadership Positive Core: your unique strengths, skills and talents as a leader. Develop your capacities to ask positive yet provocative questions; to solicit input from colleagues and front line employees; to bring out the best in people and organizations; and to design innovative structures for organizing and accomplishing work. Join in this time of learning and reflection using Appreciative Inquiry to enhance leadership for positive change.  Jim Ludema, Professor of Organization Development at Benedictine University, is an internationally recognized organizational consultant, and a Founding Partner of Appreciative Inquiry Consulting.  He is currently authoring a book on Appreciative Leadership with Diana Whitney, a Taos Institute founder, and Board Member Emerita.

B4- Improvisation: Creative Coordination in Organizations and Everyday Life with Frank Barrett, Kenneth Gergen, & Mary Gergen
Because meaning is always created with others, we never control the outcome of our actions. To live productively and harmoniously in a continuous sea of change requires continuous innovation. This workshop explores fundamentals of effective improvisation. Through dialogue, movement and music we explore the birth and death of ideas, actions, and relationships. The workshop will emphasize both organizational applications and relational well-being. Participants will be actively involved in innovative exercises in a relaxed environment. (Wear casual clothing and comfortable shoes, please.) Workshop leader, Frank Barrett, a professional jazz musician, is also an early pioneer of Appreciative Inquiry, a close colleague of David Cooperrider, and an organizational consultant and professor. Ken and Mary Gergen are scholars and academic performers, deeply involved in expanding social constructionist and relational ideas into vast crevices in the universe.

B5- Relational Practices in Education and Training
with Sheila McNamee and Sally St. George
This workshop will explore social construction and relational resources in the context of education and training. How might education be different if we orient the learning process relationally?  While many view education as a "stabilizing" institution creating the sorts of people who will "fit in" to our already existing world, the institution of education is also recognized as transformative - one that creates the world. We educate children so that they can learn how to live in the world as well as learn how to create the future. We educate adults to provide new resources for becoming engaged citizens. Yet when we look into the dominant activities that constitute education, we see forms of practice that are conducive to conveying knowledge. This orientation provides mechanisms to help people fit into the already existing world, rather than constructing knowledges for new worlds. There are significant implications here for training in professional fields as well as in academic education. In this workshop we will explore alternatives to education and training that emerge from a social constructionist sensibility and play with the possibilities of creating engaged learning environments. Sheila McNamee and Sally St. George both practice and write about relationally engaged education and are interested in the transformation of pedagogical practices.


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