San Juan, BATANGAS – OSA Training and Education facilitated Open Space Technology with the Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) in their annual Integration, on June 6 to 8, at La Luz Beach Resort, San Juan Batangas.
In preparation for the Association’s 50th foundation, this year’s Integration comes with the theme “PETA BEYOND 50.” PETA leaders initiated an invitation for an “open space” to call on their members and staff. OSA consultants, Orly Agawin and Gem Taopo-Manlansang headed the facilitation of the open-space activities.
Attended by mostly PETA artist-teachers, employees and staff, the two-day event initially gathered 25 various theme-related topics to initiate the first day discussions. Relevant conversations on health and wellness, higher order thinking skills, employee/member engagement and development, the PETA Institute, the Metropolitan Teen Theater League, and potential programs beyond the association’s 50th year ran in parallel during and within the participants’ desired space and time.
“The Marketplace” opened around 3:42pm on Day 1, allowing participants to enrol in their preferred discussions. Most contributors opted to express their intention to attend more than just one discussion. There was a moment of initial “chaos,” as a natural part of the open space. This engineered chaos, became a needed phase during the opening events of the creative process.
Brought about by the flexibility of open space technology, participants managed to merge both discussions and recreation during the 3-day Integration. By allowing the PETA members and staff to fully maximize the space and meet only during their agreed time, they were able to flexibly conduct their conversations efficiently and with a more standardized result.
“Even though it (OST) was an informal and unstructured space, it surfaced a lot of break out sessions that (were) relevant and meaningful,” said one PETA artist-teacher in an interview. “It was very interesting to learn about the ideas of other people in a flexible space and time. What I like most about the OST is that when we think we’re done, we’re done! It’s over. It’s time to move on to do other things; like enjoy the beach.”
PETA’s Director for Theater Center Programs, Ms. Queng Reyles said that, “the OST is quite relevant to our group of diverse artist-teachers and employees. Our leaders have always wanted to tap on what our people want as the association moves forward from our 50th year. Using the OST opened doors where we freely talked about ideas and topics that we are passionate about. The outputs will hopefully map a way for us as we move forward.”
The “closing of the circle” started at 2:13pm on June 7. A total of 18 completed discussions surfaced out of the initial 25 topics proposed from Day 1. This was brought about by the fusion of some topics with other related discussion, and the natural disintegration of other ideas.
After the presentations, PETA’s Executive Director, Ms. Beng Cabangon, synthesized the presented outputs by summarizing the points and posed potential questions for reflections among leaders and stakeholders. Ms. Cabangon also opened the floor for volunteers who will lead to the actualizations of the proposed projects as they aim to make use of the collated insights as potential programs in the future.
The formal closing of the open space took place by La Luz Resort’s beach front around 8:35pm on the same day. The participants reconvened in front of a bonfire, following the old tradition of native villagers who assemble to tell stories, share experiences and take part in the refections. PETA President, Ms. Cecile B. Garucho, formally thanked the members and staff for taking part in this year’s Integration, and shared her amazement as a new breed of artist-teachers and staff take the lead in marching beyond their 50th year. To cap off the evening’s event, the PETA choir rendered excerpts from PETA’s original musical “Batang Rizal.”
Open Space works best when the work to be done is complex, the people and ideas involved are diverse, the passion for resolution (and potential for conflict) are high, and the time to get it done was yesterday. It’s been called passion bounded by responsibility, the energy of a good coffee break, intentional self-organization, spirit at work, chaos and creativity, evolution in organization, and a simple, powerful way to get people and organizations moving — when and where it’s needed most (Herman, 2000).
SOURCE: Herman, M. (2000, March). Michael Herman |Open Space Technology: An Executive Summary. Retrieved from http://www.michaelherman.com.