A couple of nights ago, I attended a Collective Story Harvest event hosted by Illinois Art of Hosting and the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), Chicago Chapter.  I arrived there by a series of seemingly random events.

It all started the week before when I took part in a YNPN Chicago Linkedin group discussion about the importance of ending the overhead myth in regards to operation costs for non-profits (more on that in a later post).  Dan Bassill, President and CEO at Tutor/Mentor Institute, was also chiming in on the topic.  Based on our mutual interests in non-profits and mentoring, we decided to meet over coffee early Monday morning to brainstorm on how we can partner together to promote the proliferation of effective mentor/tutoring programs across Chicago.

connecting people puzzle

During our discussion, Dan mentioned the event that was happening later in the evening and I decided to forgo my usual routine of spending evenings with my laptop, phone and television to engage in actual human interaction.  I am so glad I did.  I enjoyed a challenging yet engaging  evening of storytelling, group sharing, and collective learning.

The Methods

This was my first time hearing about Collective Story Harvest: a method developed by Art of Hosting practitioners that combines individual storytelling and small group process to collectively identify insights and learning.  I am glad I listened to Dan and took the chance to attend the event.

Collective story harvest banner

We also discussed Dialogue & deliberation (D&D), developed by the Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement at UIC Chicago. This method includes a variety of small group conversational processes that allow people to share their perspective and experiences with one another, as well as examine options and trade-offs to make better decisions.

Dialogue and Deliberation for Civic Engagement

Lina Cramer and Renee Jackson facilitated the event, which featured stories from several storytellers:

• Lauren Grossman, creator of Across the Table, facilitated dinner discussions bringing together Chicagoans of diverse backgrounds to explore a common topic.

• Maria Hadden, project coordinator for the Participatory Budgeting Project and Thea Crum, Great Cities Institute, participatory budgeting in Chicago. (to be confirmed)

• Kevin Johnson, co-creator of the Marketplace Learning Community, a multi-cultural, multi-generational non-profit calling people from all walks of life to transformative conversations.

• Treyonda Towns, POWER-PAC leadership council, develops Peace Centers to bring restorative justice practices to Chicago schools.

These are all amazing organizations, and I recommend learning more about them and attending local events.

For me, the entire day was an exercise in being in the moment, acting with purpose and listening with intent.

You can read on for more information on the organizations.


Related Organizations

Illinois Art of Hosting is part of a global community of change-makers dedicated to harnessing the collective wisdom and self-organizing capacities of groups. For more information on the Art of Hosting see http://www.artofhosting.orgor contact copillinois@gmail.com.

International Association of Facilitators (IAF), Chicago Chapter fosters the growth of the field of facilitation and all related practitioners, processes, technology, and research, by providing a mechanism for networking, exchanging, and sharing best facilitation practices. For more information see: http://www.iaf-world.org/iafworldwide/unitedstates/ChicagoChapter.aspx

Chicago Dialogue & Deliberation Community of Practice sponsors regular networking and learning events and hosts a listserv. For more information contact tcrum3@uic.edu.


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