Deze hartekreet van een docent in het hoger onderwijs is zo goed verwoord dat ik ‘m hier wel even móet linken. Ik ken haar niet, het is zomaar een pareltje dat voorbij kwam rollen doordat iemand in mijn LinkedIn netwerk er een hartje aan gaf.
At last I was able to join an Unhurried Conversation. The idea stems from Johnny Moore, a friend who kindly hosted me and the Man during the Summer of 2013 in his big house in Cambridge. I remember Johnnie talked a bit about this concept of being more unhurried back then, but it was all really new.
The concept is relatively simple:
We don’t specify a topic, rather letting people talk about whatever they want. Apart from briefly describing our idea, we use one very simple device to support the conversation. It’s a talking piece. We pick an object and whoever holds it gets to talk. And everyone else listens. Which means the speaker won’t get interrupted. (And I add that you can hold the object and not speak… you can hold silence until you’re ready to speak.)Johnnie Moore on Unhurried Conversation in 2015
As Johnny’s based in the UK and I’m based in NL, I couldn’t attend any of the meetings he hosted. Over the years more people came on board of the concept and started facilitating these Unhurried Conversations in their own countries. Among them Nadia von Holzen, a Swiss living in NL, who was waiting for an opportunity to facilitate conversations in Dutch. She teamed up with Ton Baan and scheduled a few online meetings (since meeting face-to-face is impossible these days).I immediately jumped on the opportunity to finally experience an unhurried conversation first hand and reserved my spot.
I participated this morning with five others and it was a very pleasant, and indeed unhurried, conversation. The fact that one person speaks and the others listen really creates space and short silences in between the stories shared. This short space in between helps to slow down and listen to your inner voice. What have I just heard? Is there something I want to tell? There is no goal to pursue, there is no outcome needed. Therefore the conversations meanders to wherever the participants take it. Sometimes you share something because someone else triggers a memory. Sometimes you think of something completely unrelated and tell that. And then a few minutes later the stories turn out to be connected in an unexpected way.
We talked about enjoying nature, longing for mountains, being blessed considering the circumstances, social interaction in corona-era, being connected, how to create the same urgency for climate change as we feel for COVID-19, Dutch clouds and other stuff in between. It felt refreshing to be able to just share stories, uninterrupted. There are few moments in life when you get to do that. Unless you join in for another unhurried one.
I follow the podcast called The Future of Everything in which “host and Stanford bioengineering professor Russ Altman explores how technology, science and medicine are shaping our lives.” Over a month ago Altman interviewed Seema Yasmin, a medical doctor and journalist. She talks about how disinformation is spreading faster and wider than accurate information and the state of journalism in this pandemic era. I’m educated as a communication scientist so this topic is right up my alley. Her conclusion is that becoming better storytellers is an absolute must for medical scientists, public health experts and journalists too.
One thing Yasmin mentioned is inoculation theory. It’s like giving people a communicative immune response to false claims. Through pre-bunking you can teach people to be more suspicious of the information they take in. I’d never heard of this theory before (or forgot I learned about this at uni twenty years ago), but it’s something that is now on my list to research further.
Listen to the episode. It’s less than thirty minutes and well worth your time.
It translates like this in English:
[…] if you haven’t got a mask you can buy one in our onboard bistro in compartment 25. And finally for all our conspiracy theorists on board, please remember the federal government secretly collects saliva samples to produce clones that will replace you. Therefore wear your face mask at all times to prevent the government gathering your DNA. Thank you, also in the name of fellow travellers.Source
Daughter watched her second online concert this morning. The first was a ‘pots and pans’ concerts, inviting kids to join with their own kitchen tools. Daughter hit the pans enthusiastically.
This morning the theme was farm animals. A little bit less interactive, but still fun to watch and we could sing along with the songs we knew.
Yesterday we were discussing in an online meeting what we wanted to keep from corona-era. These type of low-threshold concerts would be on my (short) list to keep. For five euros I buy myself access to a streaming link. I can decide to buy a ticket literally last-minute. There is no such thing as sold-out. I don’t have to take into account travel time. Daughter can watch in her undies. She can talk, scream and jump during the performance as much as she likes. No, it’s not the same as visiting a theater, but adding online performances to the mix would expand opportunities for artists (and for viewers who can’t visit the theater for whatever reason you can think of).
At the beginning of this year I started logging a few things in a very analogue manner. Crossing boxes on a single sheet of paper in my new organizer. One page is dedicated to keep track of the amount of fun things we do as a family. Visiting the zoo, going on holiday, going out for lunch, visiting family. My goal was to have such an event at least once a week.
As stay-at-home measures were announced, family trips were no longer an option. I struggled a bit to define what would count as family fun considering the new circumstances. On the one hand we were together all the time, on the other hand we stayed at home almost all the time. I decided to only count events that involves the three of us going somewhere outside our neighborhood or involves meeting other people. As you can see we only had one such event in April. We went for a long walk with friends in a very spacious park near Utrecht.
Starting June, provided we don’t see a dramatic rise in new hospitalizations in the coming weeks, museums are allowed to reopen. That at least widens the options for family fun again. For instance going for a walk on De Hoge Veluwe and visiting Kröller-Müller-museum. The local zoo is about to reopen too. But we’re not the only family looking for things to do outside of their home. Reservations need to be made so claiming a spot might get difficult.
What my one-page log tells me is something I already knew: corona-era is a bit boring.