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Art of Hosting

a short guide
Last update: Dec 16, 2021

The AoH website reads โ€œThe Art of Hosting is a highly effective way of harnessing the collective wisdom and self-organising capacity of groups of any size.โ€ As well as: โ€œGroups and organisations using the Art of Hosting as a working practice report better decision-making, more efficient and effective capacity building and greater ability to quickly respond to opportunity, challenge and change.โ€

The Four Fold Practice

The Four Fold Practice is a foundational framework and practice in the Art of Hosting Conversations that Matter.

  • Host Yourself
    Becoming part of a learning community begins with your capacity to show up, fully present to yourself, to your learning community and to those you are accountable to. Exploring what you need to be fully present and engaged is essential. We ask participants to practice self-care so the host can navigate the path of collaboration and innovation for the sake of your community. (A good nightโ€™s rest? A cushion to sit on? A conversation with a trusted colleague?)
  • Be Hosted (being a participant)
    A learning community thrives on full participation of its members. Each member can ask themselves the following questions. Often, it requires curiosity, the capacity to listen to others, and the willingness to support others in your learning community.
    • What conditions support you in showing up as a fully engaged participant?
    • What can we do collectively to enlist everyoneโ€™s full participation?
    • Who do we need to become a fully participatory learning community?
    • When engaging your own community - what invites full participation?
  • Co-create (hosting others)
    A learning community runs on the self-organisation, passion, drive and responsibility of its members, being willing as a group to step up for what they believe in.
    The hosts are willing to work in a self-organising structure where they ask for what they need and offer what they can to support those in the community.
    Useful questions:
    • What is your passion and what are you willing to host to create change in your community?
    • What conditions will allow you to be brave and lead change?
    • What conditions are needed for collective presence?
  • Host & Harvest Conversations that Matter (becoming a community of practice)
    When we are engaged in the four-fold practice, it is in service to co-learning and co-creation for the sake of something that we care about. A community of practice lives in the questions and explorations, experimentation and implementation that may or may not work. In this dynamic process, however, the community continually reflects on what is most needed to find the way forward, together. Found within is a willingness to fail, learn, and iterate for the greatest impact in addition to learning and increasing our collective capacity to navigate complexity. When we engage in this kind of learning together, we multiply our capacity and enter the field of emergence.
    Useful questions:
    • What is our community of practice's purpose?
    • What need are we aligned around and in service to?
  • How might having shared language, practices and ways of working and being support us?
  • What principles can guide how we want to work together?
  • Purpose (the invisible leader)
    And, in the center of the Four Fold Practice is Purpose, the invisible leader - the reason for coming together to learn and work together in the first place. Have a strong purpose that attracts those people that care to the work. When things get challenge, refer to the purpose of the work to help you overcome and navigate the challenges and have the difficult conversations.
Manila School Strike Organizing Camp โ€“ Student climate advocates from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao gathered in Manila for a day of joint skillshares, planning and organizing for the upcoming global school strikes (Kathleen Lei Limayo, 2019)

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