|water group: too many balls in the air |
(photo courtesy: Julia Day, STEPS)
The two weeks of summer school ended with a conference day where the participants were supposed to present, either individually or in groups. Interestingly, no specific theme or format was defined for the presentations (no boundaries, gotta love that). One could present their own work, something they had learned at the summer school or something they planned to do in the future. A whole world of opportunities awaited us. In the first step the participants organised themselves in groups around common areas of interest. These groups would ultimately either present together or organise a thematic session. People got to work, churning out ideas. At this stage at least I couldn't have imagined the kind of brilliance and creativity that would emerge on the conference day.
|The usual suspects|
Finally the conference day arrived. For the last two weeks one of the key concepts that we had been discussing was 'diversity' and the conference day epitomised it. The day stared with the water group taking to the stage. They literally had several balls in the air. Yes, there was an expert juggler in the group. The group used juggling to explain multiple narratives of water scarcity, access and grabbing. This was fantastic and scary. Scary because they had excelled at both entertaining and informing the audience and set the bar very high. Our group was to follow them and there was every chance that after this performance we would be dead meat.
|The politician explaining his transition pathway|
This was followed by some more presentations in groups and in individual capacities, more following the traditional formats. The last few presentations of the day were again off beat. A group fused the formal and informal methods and followed a pannel discussion with a dance bonanza. We were all on our feet learning the new dance moves of power, politics, knowledge etc. And last but not the least, another role play which as a key actor had Prof. Andy Sterling of the SPRU and STEPS. He was pulled into the act by students who wanted to display and discuss interview tactics. And what an act it was.
|Interview techniques: students trying to disrupt |
Prof Sterling to get more information out of him
PS: A friend at the summer school told me about Bright Club who have really taken a step in the right direction. Hopefully more of us would find these new methods interesting and engage with them.