New Fieldbook / Arts in LO LO11483

W.M. Deijmann (
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 00:43:35 +0100

Art Kleiner wrote to Winfried:
>You ask for comments, and my comments are looking forward: "How can this be
>The question for me is: How to translate the use of art into a
>Fieldbook-like format, where it's rooted in experience and somehow linked
>to some kind of results.
>Having a background in the arts myself, particularly the literary small
>press, I'm open to the idea but also deeply aware of the ways in which talk
>of the "arts" quickly becomes self-referential.

IMO the purpose of arts in LO is to empower meta-learningabillities. Not
by _talking about_ it, but by metaphoric self-experience in the context of
organizational issues. Arts need to be seen as catalysators that
translate and transform individual mental reality (values, concepts)
through shared experience into collaborativ commitment and -capabilities.
If the usage of arts is related -before or after an exercise- to a
fundamental organisation issue one avoids self-referential effects. A
serious debreefing afterwards by sharing experiences from the exercise is
therefor needed. It's essential to _do_ arts-based exercises and let the
experiences do their work.

Allow me to give an example from my own practice.
Try this one. It's one of my basic exercises. I share this one with you
because in Systems Thinking we talk about a "pedigree of Archetypes"
It's a six-steps exercise to help novices in LO-principles to discover the
picture-language (new English word?) a tree can present us with.
( PLEASE NOTE: my use of english words might not match everywhere the
proper use of english!)

**STEP 1**
Go out into an area with several trees. Choose one to observe.
Try in an objective manner to perceive what you see. Walk around the tree,
observe it closeby and from a distance.
What do you observe:
- -- on the stature
- -- the trunk, the bark
- -- the branches, the position of the branches
- -- the leaves: colour, shape, movement
- -- the change-over trunk-earth
- -- on the direct surroundings of the tree?
Note down your observations.

**STEP 2**
Close your eyes and tuch (finger, feel) the trunk, the bark, the branches,
the leaves.
- -- What do you feel?
- -- What do you hear?
- -- What do you smell?
- -- What strikes you?
Note down your observations?

**STEP 3**
Try to imagine what you cannot observe with your senses at the tree.
- -- try inwardly to move downwards along with the roots and upwards into
the branches that get smaller and smaller.
- -- the yearrings
- -- the movements of the fluidstreams inside the tree.
- -- the changes on the tree in the loop of seasons
- -- the growing-prosess of the tree from little seed and germ-plant until
now and in the future.
- -- What "gestures" does the tree make?
- -- What do you experience as the characteristic, the gist of the tree?
- -- What has the tree to tell you?
Note down your observations.

Render your observations in an Image/picture, a story or a fairytale about
a tree. Try to capture the tree in motions with your own body and limbs (
"Dance" the tree). Make a drawing or painting. Find a vocal or
consonant-sound that would represent in your opinion the fluidstreams and
gesture of the tree? A tree in your garden, in a parc or street, or a tree
that you pass every day can become this way a real "Life-tree" because of
your regular attention, respect and -yes- love for the tree that is being
returned to you by pictures/images that give inner strenght and

**STEP 5**
>From this point in the exercise its much easier to introduce f.e. the
language of System Thinking: links and loops, archetypes etc. etc.

**STEP 6**
Visualize a department or an organization along these 5 steps. Find a
metaphor for what you observe. Is your organisation more like a dinosaurus
or more like a flock of birds?

(Feel free to use the exercise if you like it, but don't forget to mention
your source. I appreciate it to be informed).

>That's about all I could say without seeing more about the specific
>exercises you talk about. "Art" in itself is neither positive nor negative
>in my book. It all depends upon the details.

Does this help you Art?

Greetings from Christmas-bussy Holland


Winfried M. Deijmann
Deijmann & Partners
Artists and Consultants for Organizational Learning
Het Zwanevlot 37
NL 7206 CB Zutphen
Netherlands                                     Email:
 tel.: +31 (0)575-522076  fax.: +31 (0)575-527310
"An educated mind is useless without a focussed will and dangerous without
a loving heart" (unknown source)

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