I am still thrilled about the prospect of the “You can’t do that in Museums” Camp in Santa Cruz (see here for the background). I think it is going to be amazing and great professional development. My experience as a trainer suggests that I will be right.
Over and over again, I have seen people leave my workshops thrilled. It would be nice to think that I am solely responsible for their inspiration, but I don’t think so. Yes, I am a highly experienced and very popular trainer. I have been training for many years and I have learned a lot. I do a good job and most people leave my workshops happy. But some go further, they say they are transformed by the experience. This is lovely and I am delighted for them. I think they deserve at least half the credit for it.
My friend Gordon MacLellan of Creeping Toad is also well known as an inspirational trainer. I talked to him about this and he suggested that the inspiration comes when what we provide matches what the learner most wants to know at that time. When they encounter us at just the right stage of their learning journey, something alchemical can happen that is about good fortune, not about how brilliant I am or even how well I have prepared. It is more about learners being open and actively seeking what they want and my being able to understand what they need and respond. It is a two way street.
I am learning from being on the learner’s side of that highway. Watching myself, I can see that I have done five things that may prove valuable in making sure I have the best possible time.
1. I have allowed myself to be really enthusiastic. I have told people why I am so excited and why I have high hopes of this event. In so doing, I am refining my learning goals. Okay, it doesn’t feel like that, but I am.
2. I went on-line to find as many of the other participants as I could. I was curious because the people I am with makes a lot of difference to me. For the record, they look like an exciting group. This experience is about what, and how, museums and other heritage attractions can learn from the way people use social media. So turning to social media was an easy and obvious thing to do. I think that I found about 2/3 of the group. I was amazed how easy it was and how closely linked we already were. Most of them were half a world (mainly from US and Canada it seems, but at least two from New Zealand and maybe one from Japan) but no more than friend of a friend away on Linked In (and usually that mutual friend was Tim Merriman of Heartfelt Associates).
It seems that strangers with a common interest are not strangers at all, but possible kindred spirits – that’s at the heart of the Museum 2.0 philosophy and insight. Look at how just knowing about the Camp has set me off exploring and reflecting.
3. I have bought and started to read ‘The Participatory Museum’ by Nina Simon and am enjoying it hugely. It’s feeding my conviction that I want to spend time with these kindred spirits, who are barely strangers, thinking more about what this means in practice.
4. As a result, I have started to look more closely and critically at participatory activities in museums and will write a blog about that soon.
5. I am moving beyond my cultural comfort zone – whilst also recognising where that zone is. I have very nearly stopped giggling at the word ‘Camp’, which to my English ears sounds so very American. (I still use ‘workshop’, not ‘Camp’ when I tell my UK friends , otherwise they would just giggle too.)That’s a lot of learning so early in the process. I am liking this voyage to Santa Cruz.