Echoes from Ouishare Fest21
Last June in Paris, we gathered 600 people for a 3 days in-person festival on long term thinking and collaborative culture.
As co-developer of the program, my main mission was to invite visionary thinkers, doers, activists, entrepreneurs, facilitators & artists from my network for 3 days of dialogs, workshops and sensory experiences near Paris.
Breakdown or breakthrough ?
My intention was to explore narratives “out of denial & despair” as well as new ways to bridge cognitive complexity with embodied wisdom.
You will find below a collection of resources and highlights from the tracks I have curated for this 7th edition of Ouishare Fest.
Table of contents
1. Pre Fest online events
a) The blindspots of decentralised organisations
For this first online event, I invited Francesca Pick (Ouishare alumni and founder of Greaterthan) to co-host an online conversation with some pioneers of the teal, self management and decentralised organising space.
Like a drum circle improvising around a single beat, group coherence is about combining individual diversity with collective alignment.
Some of the questions we asked ourselves : how to embody multiple political visions as a single organisation? How to play with implicit power dynamics, individual and collective shadows? How to balance individual expression with the need for group alignment?
Francesca invited Lucia Die Gil (Greaterthan) and I invited James Priest (Sociocracy 3.0) and Richard Bartlett (Enspiral).
b) Schumacher college with Satish Kumar
With a focus on ecology and economy since decades, I wanted Schumacher College to be part of the adventure. With Olivier Maurel (ChangeNow) and Taoufik Vallipuram, we organised a live Q&A with its founder, Satish Kumar (and some friends from Plum Village!) >> replay here
We need a marriage between passion & patience.
2. Roundtables & Keynotes
a) Organisations without hierarchy don’t exist
Last year, I conducted an internal process within Ouishare to measure our value/practice alignment. With “do-ocracy” being the most embodied value and “care”, the least, the conclusion of this collective inquiry was that we needed to clarify and reinforce our boundaries as a community.
According to Peter Koenig, an organisation with weak boundaries is a symptom of the source (founder) not taking full responsibilities. This is very common among “decentralised” organisations, especially the ones with male founders.
It seems the fear of “toxic masculinity” is making it harder for men to fully step into their leadership and set clear & explicit boundaries. The result is often implicit boundaries with shadow hierarchies which can lead to a culture of conflict avoidance and toxic power games.
What is the etymology of the word “hierarchy”? hieros archos : sacred order.
The potential to reconstruct healthy hierarchies with clear roles & boundaries makes “source work” one of the leading edges in the field of organisational transformation.
This is the reason I invited Peter Koenig with two other brilliant panelists, Alizée Lozach’meur and Francesca Pick, that brought deep insights about their own “decentralised” organisations : Makesense & Greaterthan.
Check out below a short interview of Peter just after the panel.
>> Go deeper
b) Activism in a polarised world
For this panel, my intention was to explore the relationship between system change & inner change.
The way we see the problem is part of the problem.
“Take the best, leave the rest” is the art of developing a more nuanced & complex view, closer to reality. One that has the capacity to identify “signal from noise”.
Leadership today is about recognising how the old system is still living inside of each one of us (Naresh). Doing “shadow work” and exploring the subconscious mind develops ones capacity to move away from the “good guys vs bad guys” narrative, the root of polarisation.
From reaction to response
Increasing awareness of our physical sensation, emotional awareness and automatic reactions (fight or flight mode) is the first step to transform our unconscious projections on others / society and integrate parts of our shadow.
To explore this topic, I invited and moderated a dialog between three emblematic activists :
- Janine O’keeffe (co-founder Fridays for the Future with Greta Thunberg)
- Naresh Giangrande (co-founder Transition Town Totnes with Rob Hopkins)
- Lu Yen Roloff (Extinction Rebellion & German parliament candidate).
>> Go deeper
c) Regenerative Technology with Naresh Giangrande
Tech won’t save us, but if we are saved, technology will be part of the equation. Naresh Giangrande (co-founder of Transition Town Totnes) represents this new impulse within activism towards regenerative or more conscious (high) technology. He invited us to explore a new “sympoesis of tech, human and ‘other than human’ ”.
Technology that can heal systems we all depend on, while also improve the ability of said systems to heal themselves.
d) Metamodernity with Lene Rachel Andersen
Metamodernity aims at integrating the best of each of the indigenous, premodern, modern, postmodern human eras to help us navigate increasing complexity.
If you are familiar with integral theory & spiral dynamics, you will enjoy Lene’s political & cultural approach of cultural development, one of the most coherent and academically grounded I had the chance to encounter.
>> Learn more about Lene’s work on metamodernity.
a) Warm Data Lab
Warm Data Lab is a group process developed by Nora Bateson which highlights interdependency and generates understanding of systemic patterns. The driving question of this session was : how to renew our relationship with finitude ? (death/collapse)
Facilitators : Nadine Lyamouri & Barbara Pellkman from iiCoS
b) Collective Presencing
A practice to act in more life-affirming ways, using the collective wisdom of the participants. Based on deep circle practice, it weaves authentic, individual contributions into new synergy, needed for the complex issues of our times.
c) Social Presencing Theater
Drawing on the arts and contemplative traditions, Social Presencing Theater brings to the surface a clearer sense of the relationships, hidden dynamics, and emerging possibilities inherent in a team, organisation or larger system.
Facilitator : Agathe Peltereau-Villeneuve from www.presencing.org
e) Money game
The Money Game is a way to help us think about, and deconstruct, our relationship to money. A group experience to explore our habits and unconscious beliefs around money.
Facilitators : Francesca Pick & David Weingartner from Ouishare & Greaterthan
f) NVC Beyond Borders
How conscious communication can help us to slow down and increase our presence and awareness? When used with an intention of connexion, NVC is a powerful tool to learn from the “enemy’s perspective”.
Facilitator : Solène Garreau
a) Contemplative activism
Skills and practices that can inform our responses to our collective cultural process of deep and lasting change >> Contemplative Activism by Lifeitself
b) Sensart by UDN
c) Disc0punk Soundsystem
Closing of the Fest with a vinyl b2b dj set exploring this liminal space between post punk & early dance music >> disc0punk manifesto
Thanks to all participants, speakers, facilitators, artists, volunteers, staff… To La prairie du Canal for hosting us. To my friends, family and Arbre qui Pousse for supporting me during these preparation months.
Thanks to the Ouishare France team for trusting me, to Solène Manouvrier and Linda Rousso from the program team for such a successful collaboration. And to the whole Ouishare community for being this unique family where everything becomes possible!
Timothée Brès — Embodiment, complexity, culture. Catalysing the regenerative renaissance through collective shadow work and underground dance music. Learn more at timotheebres.com
If you‘ve enjoyed this article, please share it with your networks and show your encouragement with some claps !
Thanks to Francesca Pick, Clothilde Sauvages & Clément Grenier for the feedback on this article.