Nourishing Bowen retreat, and new phase emerges!

Sue's picture

The core team is fresh off a fabulous session on Bowen Island (a short ferry ride from Vancouver, B.C).  Very nourishing to return to Dave’s gracious hosting and home, the site where many of the patterns were born, and where inspiration crystallized to publish the group pattern language as a deck of cards!

A core purpose of this session was to ‘go meta’, to reflect on—and celebrate! —all that has been achieved in the past six and a half years since Tree founded the project in 2008.  The project has never really truly paused to take a deep breath together, especially since the first Group Works printing at the end of 2011, so this gathering was special. 

With Nancy White’s artful facilitation we gained new perspective on our overall trajectory, and discerned ways to simplify back to essentials.   Clarity about the minimum work required to keep decks moving out into the world opens up space for rest and renewal for core team members.  Deleting tired old task/to do lists (along with the guilty consciences that went with never getting to them!) frees energy to focus on emergent initiatives such as nurturing the quickly expanding community of Group Works enthusiasts—that would be all of you reading these posts! ;-) 

While we have decided to take a break from organizing Group Works workshops for the coming year, we are putting out a call for any of you to organize one yourself in your home community!  For ideas on how to construct an experiential workshop of your own, check out the “workshop segment compilation” handout on our resources page.  Feel free to ask for our consultation if need be, and/or invite us to come design and facilitate a custom workshop for you.  You’ll notice we’ve created a space on a new ”Workshops and Consultation” page with the names of core team members available for consultation and facilitating workshops, and as well a place for listing names of other Group Works community members who self-identify as qualified to offer workshops on Group Works.  Write us at if you are looking for workshop facilitation or you’d like your name added to the list.

We’ve also decided to subscribe to Adobe Connect so as to have a web-based (with telephone access) platform for convening Group Works conversations/application calls amongst our geographically dispersed community of users/learners.  Let us know if you’re interested in hosting calls.  We’ll need a month or so to get set up and the system tested, but welcome others stepping up into convening roles.  Everyone who has attended a face-to-face workshop says the best part is talking with others about how to use the deck and/or actually practicing reflective exercises together. There is no reason we can’t be doing this in small groups across geography!

Another thing we’re doing with Daniel’s guidance is working to clarify what our “CC BY-SA 4.0” (creative commons) license means in practice.  This includes working to make source files of all open source aspects of Group Works (for example, all the pattern titles, text and related patterns, and photos) more available to anyone who wants to build derivative works.  So look for clear guidelines coming soon for what can be freely used, and how you can seek our permission to use protected (“branding”) aspects of the cards.

We’re excited to be heading into this new phase, whose contours are not yet known!  We do know that we will be listening extra carefully to what is happening with Group Works in your hands in the world; as well as collecting (& amplifying) more of your stories; as well as looking for new ways to support (or get out of the way of) your own Group Works related initiatives. 

Deep appreciations for your role in nurturing more effective and satisfying group work in the world.


Sue Woehrlin (for the core team)

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