We're all in this together
Showing uncanny similarities to the first episode of ‘Lost’ combined with the opening credits of Friends …. it was with a mixture of excitement, fear and wide-eyed eagerness that our first Australian fellowship kicked off in Melbourne today! The animation and anticipation was palpable as our fellows arrived at Donkey Wheel House with bright eyes and bushy tails and memory sticks full of ideas and dreams this rainy Saturday afternoon.
We started the day with thanks to the traditional owners of the land on which was are meeting and thinking and learning: The Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. This thanks means more to us than lip service, especially this week when most of Australia is celebrating Australia Day. The Un-School is committed to exploring and exposing the stories and cultural learnings of native peoples around the world.
We began proceedings with a now regular Fellowship ‘getting to know you’ exercise—who would have thought, standing on one leg and going around in a circle remembering names and traits actually works. Infact, the further around the circle you proceed, the better the memory banks seem to work. Did I mention that our Melbourne cohort are extremely smart, well balanced (as far as balancing on one leg goes) and (not that it matters) extremely good looking… They are also super keen, smart as whips and wonderfully different.
Next up came a session of individual Pecha Kucha presentations by both fellows and Un-School team members. Three minutes each, nine slides x 20 seconds each with no way to stop the progression and no extra time at the end. Three minutes to sum up who you are, what you do, and what you want to get out of the week. It’s harder (and more daunting) than it might sound... We heard a lot of personal narratives, private quirks and details, fantastic achievements in diverse lives and generally everyone left the presentation with insight and awe of their fellow fellows.
So, the days ahead are already promising to be absolutely chock full of invigorating and challenging discourse and learning outcomes on all sides. These fellows are definitely going to give us a run for our money—and we can’t wait!
"Bridging the gap between knowledge and action" - Leyla Acaroglu
Leyla explained how the Fellowship week would work, laying the foundations for our "strong house”, encouraging fellows to interject, participate and "pimp their knowledge”. Tactics were discussed and the un-school idea of developing a mental toolbox, followed by a loud and somewhat animated exercise that involved each fellow coming up with the top 5 things they wanted to get out of the fellowship in 5 quick connections with other fellows, kinda like speed dating, but for purpose.
Themes surrounded the distillation of messages, communication of ideas, waste systems, networks and how to best utilise them, motivation of self and others, practical tools (not theoretical ideas), how to hold onto ones passion, incorporating ideas in a system that is already established, the infiltration of standard corporate and government structures, entrepreneurial tactics, how to challenge yourself to really make the changes you think and talk about, how to maintain focus and a core agenda, authentic leadership, intentionality
After a short break we stood up, dusted off our already full brains and walked out into the very timely Melbourne sunshine to begin our walking, talking and socialising tour of Melbourne.
It wasn’t just any walking tour though...
We forged a winding trail up, down and around the Melbourne city, hitting on the following spaces and places:
- Flagstaff Gardens
- Queen Victoria Markets (QVM Precinct Masterplan)
- The William Barak apartment building
- RMIT Design Hub (and from the architect’s website)
- 1000 Pound Bend (for a quick refreshment stop)
- Brothl Site
- Council House 2 (and from the architects website)
- City of Melbourne Pedestal Shops
- The Pop Up Patch
Finishing up for dinner, a well earned drink, a meal, and a seat in the wonderful surroundings of Shebeen.
Stevie who manages Shebeen gave us a quick rundown of their not-for-profit model that gives back to the countries from which they source their beer, wine and cider—a wonderful example for our fellows of how giving a leg up to those less fortunate and working to lift communities out of poverty can also be a viable business model and engender pride and loyalty in staff and customers.
The end… of day one… of seven!