I recently spent a weekend in a space which looked like the Death Star, a creative bubble and the former JPMorgan trading floor. It was Improbable Theatre's annual open space: Devoted & Disgruntled - What Are We Going To Do About Theatre And The Performing Arts?
Over two days conversations were held on all manner of subjects from Edinburgh to Brexit, Youth Theatre and Education to supporting new producers, and myriad topics called by the hundreds of attending artists, makers, and supporters.
What was most fascinating to me were the conversations surrounding education and youth theatre, collaboration, making work while parenting, producing theatre, and actor (self)representation. Many of these conversations are continuing in my thoughts.
As usual, discussions get animated as passionate people discuss issues they're passionate about. It's a sharing of ideas, values, experiences, ambitions, and expectations. The mood is positive, engaging, and the principals of Open Space enable free thought:
Principal of two feet - the freedom to move, to leave and return, or not.
Whoever comes are the right people - a discussion may be 3 people, 5, 10, 20, 50 or it could just be you. If nobody comes, take the time to have a discussion and work on your topic by yourself. If loads of people come, that's a great opportunity to share, listen, and learn
Whatever happens is the only thing that could happened.
It's over when it's over. Your question or problem could be answered or solved in 5 minutes or 5 years. Creativity doesn't work to a time limit. If the allocated time runs out, continue it elsewhere, or at another time.
Be a bee. Drop into conversations, pollinate discussions with new thoughts, or ideas taken from other conversations.
Be a butterfly. Hang out and start conversations here, there, and everywhere.
Whoever comes are the right people is a principal I use regularly in life as well as in work. Never get hung up on who didn't come, celebrate and enjoy the people who do. If you're stood up, it's a gift of time: time to think, work, ponder, or create.
It's a good lesson and one of the best I've learned from D&D.