After the practice AVP facilitator teams had each led their practice sessions, the lead team led one more session called “Advanced challenges in facilitating.” We put together condensed versions of each session and asked the practice teams to pick new people to lead these activities in this final session.
During this second round, one or two facilitators did something in the role of a participant that required a facilitator leading the activity respond in some constructive way. These included situations like: someone began telling a long winding story, two people kept chattering with each other when a facilitator was addressing the group, someone was overly competitive in a friendly game, someone began deeply sobbing when recounting a painful event, someone told the large group a traumatic story a partner had told them in private, two people starting yelling profane insults at each other in a simple role play, someone kept laughing during a serious activity.
While major disruptions are rare in workshops, facilitators frequently need to cope with minor disturbances by tactfully reminding people about the community agreements that require that people respect themselves and others in some way. If things go astray, facilitators are encouraged to pause the activity and consult with each other to decide how they wish to proceed.
I have to admit that I enjoyed playing the “bad boy” in this session because it gave me a chance to step out of usual role as the calm and thoughtful facilitator. Some people were genuinely shocked to see me acting roughly and spewing Spanish slang vulgarities. While these scenarios did pose genuine challenges for the inexperienced facilitators, they appreciated the chance to try and think through how they might handle such situations in an actual workshop.
AVP Practice team discusses accomplishments and challenges
"While concepts like punctuality, mutual respect, no put downs of self or others, and listening when someone else is speaking may seem like obvious guidelines to form a positive community, a commitment to actually practice and hold each other accountable to observe these agreements is profound in a culture where showing up late, malicious gossip, and interrupting a speaker are painfully common."
"Artisan facilitators should of course share what they know, but beginning and experienced artisans all benefit by remaining humble, enthusiastic about learning, and committed to encourage and affirm their fellow artisans. So many artisans said that the thing they most wanted to bring back to their communities was this spirit of working in a mutually supportive environment."
"Both men and women wore garb made with bleached llanchama tree bark painted with graphic figures from Bora clans. Several wore headdresses made with the feathers from macaws and parrots. They discussed the importance of nature and craft-making in their culture and then launched into a lively dance where the men chanted and pounded sticks into the ground to the rhythm of moving around in a circle. Visitors joined the undulating lines to share the vibrant energy."