Creative Tensions

July 12, 201911:00 am11:50 am
Creative Tensions is an interactive dialogue, a physically active, collective conversation where participants indicate where they stand on a question or issue by the place they stand in the room. Instead of the audience watching a speaker or panel discuss a topic, the Creative Tensions format invites the entire audience into the conversation, through movement. An interactive way to approach group conversation, Creative Tensions is a method for inclusive conversation and a way to show both where our differences and similarities lie but with specificity and nuance. Creative Tensions prompts reflection, invites openness, and celebrates the rare moment when someone changes their mind. Most importantly it stokes curiosity, promotes optimism, and inspires real empathy in participants.

The way we practice it, we start in large room with a line down the middle, separating it in two parts. Everyone is standing while the moderator offers a prompt or question. The tension is created by two possible answers and the spectrum of answers in between. Participants than choose where to stand based on how they interpret the question, how they interpret the answers and where along the spectrum they believe they lie (or stand). At that point, the fun begins. The moderator gets a volunteer to tell why they are standing where they are standing and invites others to move in response to any shared answers (whether it changes their mind or enriches their position or causes them to understand the question or answer in a different light). From then on the moderator may ask others who move in response, why they moved, while allowing others to respond why they didn’t, all while inviting others to continue moving in response to what they are hearing and sparking more and new conversations. All of this is facilitated with microphones so all can hear the openly shared responses.

We usually organize the prompts or questions around a theme so that some questions or prompts build on previous ones or provide a twist on a previous one. This allows an even greater depth of conversation than if we had questions and prompts on random topics, starting at the surface level with each one.

The physical form activates people viscerally, places them in close proximity to one another, and encourages eye-contact — all of which enhance one’s ability to hear and absorb perspectives that may differ from one’s own. The volleying nature of the conversation, which evenly engages audience and speakers alike, sparks a desire to hear from as many people as possible. Lastly, the invitation to move if one’s perspective shifts during the conversation, opens participants to the possibility of change, a crucial step toward a growth mindset, learning, and adopting an optimistic point of view. Beyond being educational, it’s also just fun and focuses and brings the body into connection with the heart and mind while navigating different issues.

12:00 am Victor Udoewa
12:00 am Bianca Flokstra