Learnings from the Collab Salon

Reflecting on the past, present and future

The Collab Salon was started in 2015 before Zoom became a household word. We have been meeting monthly worldwide in real time over Zoom to engage with others on a particular topic. Initially featuring well-known narrative teachers, we discovered a diversity of emerging voices with fresh ideas over time, and committed to a co-learning approach. With a deepening understanding of intercultural considerations, differences, and accountability, we brought together over 100 presenters with presentations across narrative generations around the world.

Thank you to all who joined us for our last Collab Salon as we celebrated what this project has meant to us collectively and individually, the fresh ideas and inspiration, and the importance of the community we’ve built. Together, we reviewed our history, a growing sense of community, the importance of bringing diverse voices and perspectives, and intrigue with exploring new ways of practicing narrative therapy interfacing with expressive arts, with attention to emotions and the body. We also acknowledged the challenges and rewards of maintaining this project and a shared commitment to evolve in new directions to bring in fresh ideas, energy, and leadership to keep it alive.  You can view this in our library of past salons. Please watch for announcements and then join us for the NextGen Collaboratory.

The Spirit of the Collab Salon

The Collab Salon is like opening a window wider, leaning out, and seeing more of the landscape around me. I’m online so much for my work that I really appreciate the shorter Collab sessions – plenty of time to exchange with folx I would not normally meet from around the world without zoom fatigue fallout.

I HIGHLY recommend any practitioners who want great Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to join Collab Salon, the monthly webinars have great presenters and the online software used rarely has glitches, even logging in from Australia.

We are grateful beyond words to all our presenters and participants who came together to create this learning community. Wondering what Collab Salons were like?  In November 2018, Sasha Pilkington (Auckland, New Zealand) presented on Virtue Inquires at the End-of-Life. You can watch this on our YouTube channel, and below. For subtitles, click on “CC” just below the video.

The Centrality of Community, Collaboration & Co-Learning

Over the years, one of the changes in the Collab Salon was a shift from being a forum for narrative therapy teachers to teach others, to becoming a space for co-learning and co-mentoring among participants. The community became more diverse, with younger people in the field and those who came into the field later bringing new perspectives and ideas. This led to increased cross-pollination, creativity, and possibility within the Collab Salon. Additionally, the Collab Salon provided a sense of community and support for those in private practice, combating the loneliness and potential dangers of working in isolation.

During the final collab salon, we heard over and over again the importance of community and collaboration. Together we co-created a context for collaborative learning, fostering a sense of belonging and support within the community and the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with others from around the world. Participants also mentioned missing the opportunity to share and receive new ideas, perspectives, and practices related to narrative therapy. Some people in independent practice spoke about the isolating challenges of private practice and the need for ongoing inspiration and creativity in narrative therapy.  Everyone will miss this opportunity to share and receive new ideas, perspectives, and practices related to narrative therapy.  And look forward to whatever comes next.

Embracing Technology – with Caution

 Re-authoring Teaching began in 2008, shortly after Michael White’s death, as an online study group guided by the vision of becoming an island of belonging where people drawn to narrative practice and other collaborative approaches could find each other across geographic distance and build a learning community that transcends geography, professional status, and other differences. Originally envisioned as an extension of the book Re-Authoring Teaching: Creating a Collaboratory by Peggy Sax, which showed online possibilities in higher education. What began as discussion forums turned into options for real-time communication, interactions across distances and multi-media. How might we offer a counterstory to the narrative of technology as frustrating and distracting? Could these advancements help preserve and sustain the integrity and legacy of narrative therapy into the future?

Sharing Hidden Treasures Across Narrative Generations 

While we began with presentations by well-known narrative therapy teachers, over time, the Collab also served as a platform for exploring new ideas and approaches.  Our concept of one-way mentoring changed to fully embrace “co-mentoring” as we co-sparked with newer generations who demonstrated new possibilities. Presentations brought us into new territories such as exploring the interface between narrative ideas, emotions, and the body, mindfulness practices, expressive arts, and possibilities beyond the traditional therapy room. 

Library of Past Salons: Each Collab presentation was recorded and then added as that month’s Collab, along with materials for further interest.We’ve accrued nine years of excellent presentations, which can now be easily searched according to Keywords, Presenters name and/or “Hot Topics.”

Earn Continuing Education Credit: Members can earn Alliant CE credit for the last four years of series.

Featured video recordingsNon-members can easily rent a video of their choice. Hopefully, higher education teachers can also take advantage of this feature.

With heartfelt gratitude to all who have presented and participated in the Collab Salon!

We will turn on “comments below if anyone wants to share any reflections.