Pig catching on 1 March: How to connect across gender, race and generation gaps

Flying pig

You are invited to catch flying pigs with us

In-person pig catching in Johannesburg

Topic: How to connect across gender, race and generation gaps
Date: Friday 1 March
Time:  7:30 am – 10:00 am
Place:  Floor 21, University Corner, above Wits Art Museum, Corner of Jan Smuts and Jorissen, Braamfontein (parking can be booked 8 days in advance)
Facilitators: Tshego Khutsoane, Petro Janse van Vuuren, Les Nkosi, Palesa Xulu
Cost: R280
Dress: Comfortable clothes you can stretch and move in
RSVP: by Wed 27 Feb to petro.jansevanvuuren@wits.ac.za (unless you want parking, then let me know as soon as possible)

Live online pig catching in a Zoom room

Topic: How to connect across gender, race and generation gaps
Date: Friday 1 March
Time:  2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Place:  In Zoom room with ID: 2828282259
Facilitators: Petro Janse van Vuuren
Dress: Comfortable clothes you can stretch and move in
RSVP: by Wed 27 Feb to petro.jansevanvuuren@wits.ac.za

More about the topic

I am tired of people not hearing each other, not sitting down to listen and connect on the level that can bring healing to rifts and wounds. So, Les, Tshego, and I sat down and decided to experiment with stories that might cross these rifts. We are still experimenting, and we are having fun doing it. Come join us and let’s find our way to each other through our stories.

What does it mean to catch flying pigs? Look at this : https://prezi.com/jxgstjc_ckmx/about-pig-catching/

‘Trash, Boer and Brat’ and ‘Through the Eye of a Doughnut’

Two Story shows at the Stellenbosch Woordfees 6-7 March.

Trash, Boer and Brat

The work invites you into stories we tell about how we were moved by fellow South Africans. It plays with dominant and habitual narratives, disrupts boundaries, challenges stereotypes and hopes to move you. It may upset your sense of political correctness and we apologise if it doesn’t.

Where: Pulp Cinema, Neelsie, Stellenbosch
When: Wed 6 March, 13h00-12h00 and Thu 7 March at 11h00-12h00
Tickets: R60
Tickets at computicket, the door, and the Woordfees office: +27 (0) 87 238 2078 or adminfees@sun.ac.za

Director-facilitator:           Tshego Khutsoane
Performer-facilitators:      Petro Janse van Vuuren, Les Nkosi and Palesa Xulu

Through the eye of a doughnut

Stories shatter stereotypes, open us up and move us towards one another. Let me tell you about the year I was the only white student  in Goldfields residence, or the first time I took a local taxi in Johannesburg, or the day I was unmasked as a bigot by a worker from Idas Valley…oh…and about the doughnut.

Where: Pulp Cinema, Neelsie, Stellenbosch
When: Wed 6 March, 15h00-16h00 and Thu 7 March at 13h00-14h00
Tickets: R60
Tickets at computicket, the door, and the Woordfees office: +27 (0) 87 238 2078 or adminfees@sun.ac.za    :

Director:         Tshego Khutsoane
Story teller:    Petro Janse van Vuuren

Online improvisation and embodiment in Paris

Petro and Christian at the Applied Improv Network conference in Paris 2018

Petro Janse van Vuuren and Christian F. Freisleben have been working together since 2015. Based on a steadily deepening friendship they explore possibilities how to use methods and the mindset of Applied Improvisation also in Online-Rooms. Petro invited Christian to her flying pig-sessions. “When pigs fly” is a figure of speech that says something is completely impossible, even unthinkable. For example: “Can people really change for good?” “Yes, when pigs fly.” For Petro and Christian a flying pig is the moment of insight that brings shift and transformation in our clients, students, participants…

As academic at Drama for Life, University of the Witwatersrand school of Arts, Petro contributed her research, findings and experiences with Strategic Narrative Embodiment SNE). This is an Applied Theatre methodology that has been developed for application in leadership and organisation development contexts (you can find more background information here).

Christian added his know-how as a teacher and trainer using Applied Improvisation, as a expert on the didactics of higher education and blended learning e. g. out of his work at the University of Applied Sciences St. Pölten.

Petro and Christian offered various Online-Workshops with participants from all over the world and evolved a process combining Applied Improv, SNE and the embodiment of the flying pig. 2015 was also the year in which Christian started with the work on his doctoral thesis on using Applied Improvisation in the field of higher education online and offline. Petro and Christian realised during the year 2016, that they have embarked on a journey of action research. They started to look more closely at their didactic designs, recordings of various sessions and of reflections of participants in order to critically evolve their processes and record their discoveries.

Findings of this journey can be found online here http://www.playingmantis.net/applied-improvisation-exercises/. Together they wrote a paper and presented it online at the 9th International Drama in Education Research Institute (IDIERI, 2 – 9 July 2018, Auckland New Zealand). In addition they facilitated a 90 minute workshop at the conference using a live-unline tool (see this review). This paper , now including findings from this experience will be published within this year.

Join us in Paris!

Here is the ZOOM Link to join online;

if you are not participant of the conference and want to join please send an application to Petro at the latest till 23th of August

Note: the session will be recorded an used as data material for the ongoing research.

How to catch a flying pig at IDIERI 2018

A paper and a workshop at The International Drama in Education Research Institute

Christian and I (Petro)  presented a paper and a workshop at The International Drama in Education Research Institute (IDIERI) 2018 in Auckland New-Zeeland this past weekend. The theme was The Tyranny of Distance. IDIERI is the premier drama education/applied theatre research institute held triennially around the globe. IDIERI focuses on developing and expanding research in the community of drama education/applied theatre and aims to engage rigorous academic discourse within the field. Read more on the conference theme and programme.

Our own response to the theme was to look at how online rooms can be used to over come distance and its tyranny by connecting PhD students across Africa with each other through embodiment processes.

Below are some resources you might like to access if you are interested in this theme:

If you were there, you can download our presentation slides here: Paper slides – Embodiment in online rooms

and our workshop slides here: Workshop slides IDiERI

You may also be interested in some of the applied Improv games we played with their online adaptations:

Sound ball

Gifts

Here are two articles you may like to read:

This one is an overview of the principles we shared at IDIERI and

This one is about principles I learned from interacting with other applied I,prov facilitators who use online processes.

You may also like to buy the complete facilitator guide for The Flying Pig Signature Move (for $7,50) for face to face and online rooms here. It comes with a case example of how it worked in the life of one particular participant.

For more context, this was our abstract

An important aspect of Applied Improvisation and drama is using and perceiving the body: your own and those of others in the room. What happens when this room is virtual? Can adaptations be made to do embodied work online without jeopardising impact? Is this a flying pig? At Drama for Life, Wits University, Johannesburg, students of the PhD cohort are scattered across the African continent able only to travel through virtual space to engage with peers. This paper focuses on adaptations and inventions two academics had made to engage these and other participants in online embodiment processes over the past two years. While much is written about e-learning processes, or about incorporating online technologies in face-to-face drama work, little is said about embodiment work in online rooms. This study aims to address this gap making recommendations for online facilitation of embodiment work. While the study identifies a number of challenges including access to wifi and reliable electricity sources on one hand and the loss of physical touch and three dimensional engagement on the other, it highlights the value of online engagement using the body for PhD students that are isolated and struggling to maintain focus on their studies.

 

Key words: Applied improvisation, applied drama, online facilitation, embodiment

 

Flying Pig for February: Aligning with Associates

Flying pig

What are the values that bind us?

How do these values help us grow the pie and share it?

 

Face to face Pig Catching in Johannesburg
TOPIC: Aligning with associates – The values that bind us.
DATE: 23 February
TIME:  8:30-11:30 – Experience – stay afterwards for more coffee and afterglow.
PLACE: Emakhaya Foyer 19th floor University Corner Building Corner of Jan Smuts and Jorissen Braamforntein.
FACILITATOR: PetroJanse van Vuuren
DRESS: Comfortable clothes you can stretch and move in
RSVP: by  Wed 21 Feb to petro@playingmantis.net

COST: R280/ $24   Pay with paypal: 

Online Pig Catching
TOPIC: Aligning with associates – The values that bind us.
DATE: 23 February
TIME:  14:45-16:00
PLACE: Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/406130239
FACILITATOR: PetroJanse van Vuuren
DRESS: Comfortable clothes you can stretch and move in
RSVP: by  Wed 21 Feb to petro@playingmantis.net

COST: R280/ $24   Pay with Paypal:

More about the topic

In view of my wanting to grow Playing Mantis as a resource for facilitators, it follows that some of these facilitators, as have already happened, would fall in love with the processes, make it their own and want more and more. This means that you can then become part of a network of people who use SNE to serve client needs, while Playing Mantis serve yours.

I have changed my mind a little since I sent out the muse-letter two weeks ago: I will be looking specifically at the ethical principles that we all want to build our work on and if we can agree on what they mean?

So, whether or not you have received the SNE training  you are welcome to chip in with your thoughts. If you have received the training, but we have lost touch, come too and maybe we can find synergy with where we are now.

Figuring out a new business relationship that is mutually beneficial AND where parties agree on the underlying values that the work should embody, can sometimes be like catching flying pigs – especially when money is scarce. Let’s grow the pie and share it – there is enough to go around.

RSVP: by  Wed 21 Feb to petro@playingmantis.net

Complete your success story spiral this Friday with Susan

Flying pig

Join us for Part 2 of:

How do I find time for meaningful focused work in the midst of living and surviving?

You are invited to catch flying pigs with us

Face to face Pig Catching in Johannesburg
TOPIC: Doing focused work amidst the business of living
DATES: Part 2 Fri 1 Dec. (Part 1 not needed to enjoy Part 2)
TIME: 8:30-11:30 – experience (Please come on time for coffee or tea, we start at 8:30 sharp.)
11:30-12:30 reflecting on the methodology
PLACE: 21st floor University Corner Building Corner of Jan Smuts and Jorissen Braamforntein.
FACILITATORS: PetroJanse van Vuuren and Susan Williams
COST: R350 for Part 1 only
R500 if you book in advance for Part 1and 2
DRESS: Comfortable clothes you can stretch and move in
RSVP: by  Wed 29 Nov to petro@playingmantis.net

Note on the online course:
We did not have enough interest in this version of the course to justify it. We will go back to the drawing board and try again with a different format. Let me know if you are interested so tht I can let you know when it happens. Thanks.

More about Susan Williams, my co-facilitator

Susan has an MA in Philosophy through Pretoria University. In her dissertation, she provided a perspective on ethical agency in complex adaptive systems through sense-making methodology and storytelling. She entrenches arts-based methods in her ethics practice to help organisations develop a culture of responsive accountability.  As a facilitator and strategic organisational storyteller, she uses her skill and experience in coaching, facilitation and training to engage organisational leaders and departmental teams to grow as individuals and value-adding employees, who fulfil their own and their business’s potential.  She says that SNE, together with other methods, provides her with a toolkit that works for every situation.

Susan Williams

Susan’s encounter with SNE

I met Petro several years ago on a cold, overcast winters day over a cup of coffee in Melville, and we told stories to each other. To this day, no meeting happens without at least two stories being shared.

Being a storyteller, the concept of SNE has intrigued me since that first encounter.  Strategic narrative embodiment processes are used to get diverse and unconnected people together in an interactive space in which they use their whole body to explore beliefs, feelings, and thoughts. Through these interactions they make connections between themselves and others, and with bodies in the world through which they move.

Movement and play become the vehicle for deep exploration, reflection and learning, which often result in a deeper understanding of oneself and the relationships that are co-created in a shared environment. This understanding, and subsequently, the questioning of the known and safe spaces, is the first, tentative movement towards transformation and living a life of integrity.

More on the topic

At the previous pig catching session we covered stages 1 to 4 of our plans to do more meaningful work in spite of our struggles to survive. Usually, as you try to make the plan happen, you hit obstacle after obstacle. Now it is time for step 5 to 7. Join us as we guide our success stories through failure, disappointment and procrastination.

IMPORTANT: You do not need have attended the previous session to get joy and value from this one.

You may read in the place of ‘meaningful deep work’ any of the following: time for studying further, time for writing, for painting or designing a new process, or just remembering what gives you courage and significance.  Perhaps you are making a career change and you need time to strategise and execute new ideas.

quil and writing

For the past 10 years my husband, Gerhi, have been figuring out how to write the elusive novel and this year he is cracking the mystery. During the same time I have produced a PhD and published a number of research papers. Through all this we have raised our children and worked either on our own businesses or on teaching. We have tried and failed in so many ways; we have also found ways to succeed. What the course shares with you are the narrative heuristics that will allow you to improvise your own strategies for accomplishing your meaningful work.

The pig catching experiments will become part of my own journey towards writing the online course and perhaps a book on the subject. For now I call the process: ‘The success story spiral’ and I would love you to come and experiment with me while at the same time focusing on your own meaningful work.

Book now to secure your place by sending me an email petro@playingmantis.net

About Pig Catching

Pig catching is what coaches and facilitators do when we chase the moment of insight that brings shift and transformation in our clients.
Please note: No pigs get harmed, our pigs are purely metaphorical and they have wings.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Coaches, facilitators, game changers, thought leaders like you who can accept the following:

  1. This is not a showcase or sales event geared to impress or win you over. If you come, you already believe that metaphor, embodiment, improvisation and imagination are powerful, fun ways to bring about transformation and you want to know more about using them in coaching and facilitation.
  2. Experimentation and mistakes are part of the process.  You must be willing to play with ideas that may not work or may be a bit uncomfortable, but that could lead to new heights of freedom and insight.

Join our group on Facebook:

Upcoming dates: Fri 25 Aug and Fri 1 Dec.

WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING INSPIRED BY YOU. OINK!

Triggers, curious questions, and judgement –

OD practitioners making a circle

Reflections on the IODA/Flourish conference in Stellenbosch 6-8 Sep 2017

 
I am posting this one day earlier than usual so that the conference goers who may read it can do so before they hit the bustle and business of Monday’s return to work.

  • Trust me to make mistakes
  • Trust me to make them boldly
  • Trust me to reflect on them (if I am liucky enough to spot them)
  • Trust me to say I am sorry
  • Trust me to make the same mistake again.

 

Disclaimer:

This post may trigger you, provoke some confusing feelings or cause you to judge me or some of the others in the story. I apologise if it doesn’t.

Reflections on the IODA/Flourish conference in Stellenbosch 6-8 Sep 2017

Day 1, Episode 1

It is the session before lunch. We are facilitated through a process of visioning. The method includes systems mapping and embodiment .Three quarters in, after mapping the problems concerning diversity in our organisations, we are asked to take a position that expresses our desire for the future of OD (organisation development). The large majority of people go into kumbaya mode: holding hands, or standing arms on each other’s shoulders in a circle. I don’t want to be locked into this picture, and I don’t want to be separate from the group, so I stand against the circle where people are clumping and packing themselves tight in order to get into the circle. Accross from us the circle is thin and people are reaching across furniture unable to reach each other’s hands. The woman behind me nudges me and tells me to go and help them. I say “no thank you, I like it here.” She accepts it.

We reflect on our experience and I tell my reflecting partner (call him X) how I did not want to conform and how I am very weary of being peer pressured into conformity as an answer to dealing with diversity. . He tells me to ask myself a curious question about my response. Immediately I am triggered. I feel irritated by his remark. I notice the feeling, and do not react on it.

Day 2, Episode 2

It is the last session of the day – an integration session meant to help us all reflect on our experiences of the day. It is set up as a thinking space. It starts and ends at specific times and we all sit in a circle, but there is no other structure. Anyone may speak about an experience or where they are at. I am one of three new people in the group. The others had all come to this same integration session the day before.

There is silence and a few contributions. Then one participant, call her A) reflects: “I would have liked to build on what we did yesterday, but I do not want to exclude the new people. So I am saying nothing.” One of the new people say that she came precisely because she heard yesterday was so meaningful, and did not want to derail the flow of that. I say I don’t mind if they pick up from the day before, I did not mean to intrude. Participant A responds: “I did not mean for my words to make you feel like intruders.” I smile and respond: “So, by trying not to exclude us, you made us feel like intruders?” Immediately another participant (B) cuts in: “That is your interpretation.” “Yes, I own that.” I say, and again I feel triggered in the same way as the day before.

I notice my response and sit with the feeling, stewing, while others offer more contributions. When there is another lull, I say: “May I say something uncomfortable?” Having obtained permission, I say: “I have been triggered the same way a few times now and I want to talk about it.” I explain how B’s remark irritated me. “The phrase ‘that’s your interpretation’ made me feel shut down and like my interpretation was invalid. We judge judgment with phrases like ‘that’s your opinion/interpretation as if we have a choice as humans not to judge. Judging is what humans do. I did not mean to be judgmental, though, I meant to summaries what I heard A say – yes, offer a perspective and therefore a judgment, an interpretation.’ I saw some vigorous nodding from others in the room. There were a few more remarks and the session ended.

Day 3, Episode 3

We are 5 women in a van on the way to a site visit. One from Chilli, four South Africans – two coloured, 1 black and 1 white (me). Yes, I name the races because race plays a role in every South African story. The black woman is sharing an experience in a session the day before. She tells how the presenter said in a passing remark “we all learned these things in Grade 8.” The black woman tells how she put up her hand and said that we cannot assume that everyone here did Grade 8, or that they learned the same things.”

After the session, while she was reflecting and writing in her journal, one of the white participants came to her with her ‘coachy-coachy voice” saying “My colleague and I are curious about what you said. You seem so angry. We wonder why you offered such an unproductive remark. Would you like to talk about it?”(My paraphrasing). The black woman felt irritated at the interruption and even more irritated by the sense of judgement coming from the woman. She responded that she did not want to talk about it. The women renewed her invitation saying that they are available if she changed her mind.

The next day (day3), the white women’s colleague approached her, the black women. Again she was interrupted by the white woman while she was in an engaging conversation with someone else. Again she was invited to talk and again she declined. Sitting in the van we all talked about how we use the phrase ‘I am curious” as a judgement, instead of being truly authentic and curious. We also talked about white people’s need to understand what black people mean and how they try to avoid discomfort, requiring black people not to rock the boat.

Judging is what people do. Everyone’s judgement is a valid perspective. Our judgements are informed by our experiences and they are our stories. As coaches and facilitators our job is not to judge judgement, but to accept every contribution as a contribution. We have only two kinds of curious questions that are useful:

  1. The kind you ask yourself of your own triggers. What has made me feel this way? Act this way?
  2. The kind that is genuinely interested in another’s point of view, authentically asked because you really do not know.

We cannot use curious questions to be helpful to someone else and in the process judging their judgement as being judgemental.

Graphic of White work and black work

Note to white people:

For heaven’s sake do not interrupt black people, it is rude. When you do talk to them, do not do so in order to make them explain themselves so you can understand. It is not their job to help you with your fragility. If black people always have to explain themselves and in doing so be careful not to upset you, they will never be free to voice their experience, tell their stories and air their judgements. Go and do your own questioning and reflecting, that is your work, not theirs. Also, dear white people do not try to understand everything black people say, our attempts to understand are too often renewed attempts to control. While you are at it, don’t do any of these things to anyone else. If you do, reflect, say you’re sorry and try again. You will fail often, but don’t stop trying.

Thank you to the two coloured women for enabling the space for this conversation, for your compassion and contributions in the discussion. Thank you too for your humour. Without you, it could not have been possible.

Thank you to the Chilean women for your silent witnessing and curious attention that contributed to the holding of the space.

Thank you to participants x, A, B and the black woman for helping me see clearly what I only saw vaguely before.

We are united in our brokenness.