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xskool: breathing the same air

Last weekend the first xskool class took place at West Lexham in England.
As previously reported, xskool at this moment is more a question, than a project: Does the world need a professional development program to support designers, architects and their teachers making the transition to a new kind of design?
The class of West Lexham soon decided that this initial question [posed by me] was too worthy and portentous. We converged, instead, on the idea that “X” means: this place, this moment, these people. Breathing the same air. Only here, only now.
Our group also embraced the idea of no curriculum, no standardised process, no teachers, and no certificates.
It was also liberating to realise that there’s no special virtue to being unique in the world. If a thousand experiences similar to xskool happened last weekend – well, lucky them.
The question nonetheless arises: was last weekend’s positive energy, attention, and mindfulness a happy fluke? Or could one reproduce the conditions that nurtured them? Otherwise stated: in which ways might xskool be an intentional part of ‘the change we wish to see in the world’ ?

A serious, grown-up Business Plan would contain chapters on Value Proposition, Users, Key Activities, Partners, Key Roles, Costs, Revenues, Governance, and so on. But it feels too early to start constructing
a formal business plan. Rather, we left it that we’d continue collecting and testing ingredients. Then, a bit later, we will see how these fit together – much as we did for the pizzas cooked in the cob oven on the Saturday evening.
The ingredients I would put on the table – to be tasted, prodded, and if need be, fed to the dog – are:
1 An explanation: Xskool enables people to create unique events in which change-minded people participate, interact, and reflect.
2 Xskool is not for people who see themselves as leaders, role models, experts or ‘change agents’. Xskoolers might well be leaders, role models etc – but that is not for them to decide.
3 New participants should be introduced by current members of the xskool community.
4 People will participate who should participate – not just those who can pay. [How, we will work out in due course].
5 At each xskool encounter, a host venue or location will present a task or a question for the visiting group to work on. At West Lexham our task was to build this path:
6 Each xskool group will also work on a question or questions of its own. This question will not be posed in advance; rather, it will emerge from a mindfully-orqanised process [such as Open Space or World Café] when the group first assembles at the location.
7 Nobody has suggested granting certificates to Xskoolers. But we might consider a two-way evaluation protocol accredited by the community – of the kijnd that seems to work on volunteering sites such as the excellent HelpX.
8 Certain skills and capabilities are needed to make an Xskool work. Someone will usually be needed to:
• produce and co-ordinate each xskool journey and event;
• be a host at the venue;
• facilitate meet-and-greet activities, Open Space, and other group sessions;
• be a steward of the Xskool community to “maintain a drumbeat” between events;
• be a storyteller, and collector-selecter of images;
• look after a website, facebook page, carrier-pigeon, or whatever;
• be a very experienced person whose role is to smile benignly as other people do the work.
9 If-and-when Xskool needs to become a formal enterprise, an appropriate next-generation co-operative model will be devised with help from people who know about such things – such as some among West Lexham’s x-class:
One practical next step will be a design session, probably in the UK, to look at Xskool as a type of journey – and to design a service to support such journeys.
Before then, a next discussion is in New York City on the morning [09-12h] of Wednesday 8 June hosted by Cameron Tonkinwise at Parsons. If you would care to join us, email me at: john at doorsofperception dot com
Oh yes: Here is the path that we made:
and here [with heartfelt thanks to Liane Fredericks] are more xskool at West Lexham pix.

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