Day 5 of #UnSchoolNZ started off at our homebase, ArtBox, with a brilliant breakfast and a (much needed) caffeine hit from Sherpa Coffee. UnSchool fellowship programs are intense, so our team always makes sure that everyone is fed, caffeinated and ready for the next session!

Our pieces of brain food from Tuesday's reflection session magically reappeared on the walls of ArtBox (thanks to Craig). Fellows digested the brain food (and real food) over breakfast, reflecting on their journeys so far – funny conversations inevitably ensued.

After breakfast, we had an incredible morning session with our guest mentor, Rebecca Mills, a sustainability innovation specialist. She kicked off her session with a focus on “new ways of being and seeing, and practical innovation methodologies to create a more beautiful, equitable world”.

Rebecca shared a wealth of knowledge and experience with the fellows – describing her work with The B Team, discussing planetary boundaries and talking about ‘sticky donuts’. (Yes, really.) A statement that really resonated with the fellows was that ultimately we should be “living on the earth as if we intend to stay.”

Rebecca told us about the five things she believes someone needs in order to be a successful changemaker and her “jump up and jive to transformation methodology.” As the morning unfolded, she set a selection of group tasks, such as putting measurements in place to create your ideal world. With her help, fellows worked on applying the concepts she presented in a  tangible practice approach.

Rebecca's session beautifully tied things together, as it illuminated how all the concepts we have been exploring this week can be applied to real-world scenarios.

Making the most of another sunny summer day in Christchurch, we enjoyed a picnic lunch (this might be the most picnics we have had in a single fellowship so far), fueling up on an amazing variety of healthy goodness, including a freshly picked green salad from co-producer Nita’s own garden. Everything really hit the spot and the fellows were charged for Leyla’s final session for the week.

Leyla took fellows through a crash course on the disruptive design method and then unpacked other concepts and arenas that would help equip fellows for the last important part of the UnSchool fellowship (spoiler alert... the 24-hour challenge!). Reading the room, she shared her wisdom on systems mapping, life cycle assessment, disruption, problem-solving via problem loving, and procrastination as a tool for motivation (this led to an ‘ah ha’ moment for many!).


Putting systems mapping into practice, the fellows dived into a connected circle mapping exercise focused on guns and law (their choice, not ours!). Clusters of chaos were created.

The session continued into the late afternoon with Leyla’s ten golden rules of ideation and, by the end of it, our UnSchool notebooks (cover designed by our fellowship intern, Megan, and printed by The Misprint Company) were bulging with incredibly useful information and ideas for making change.

Fellows were then challenged to pour their creative juices (which were really flowing at this point) into an ideation session focused on guns. With the systems mapping they had done earlier laying a foundation for all the nuanced connections around guns and law, fellows dove in, thinking up ideas for creative interventions. After everyone pitched their ideas, we rounded it off by playing an empathy game, which Leyla used to demonstrate the application of the Disruptive Design Method in action.

After the game, fellows hopped into a reflection session with our fellowship co-host, Craig. This time it was focused around four symbols (brain, eyes, hands, heart). Each fellow had to choose one symbol that they wanted to reflect on and share their thoughts with the group. Craig even themed his outfit, wearing his symbols cardigan!

Just as they thought the day was done and dusted, we had a little surprise for the fellows… the announcement of the 24-hour challenge! Fellows were put into teams and given the first clue about the challenge: their client would be the Christchurch City Council. UnSchool Team members, who had already participated in a challenge like this, shared some insights on how to effectively collaborate within the team challenge dynamic, and, with that, fellows were sent off to eat dinner and prepare for the two days ahead. The actual challenge will remain a mystery until 9AM on Day Six…. Check back to see how it all unfolds!