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The 1st Table Dinner has been laid and cleared

Looking back first over what was said, and how, and what was suggested, and how, I think we were almost surprised at the energy as well as the thoughtfulness with which everyone who came to The Table responded — with delight, warmth and real ideas — as if this project already has an energy of its own to draw on.  There was debate — and disagreement, productive, grounded — stimulating. There is something about the idea of productive, intimate conversation that seems somehow timely — I’ve been thinking of other tables and other hosts lately — and some were mentioned last night. The idea of tables as places where things are forged, sealed, and yet which operate through invitation — feels very powerful. It isn’t without its downsides, we don’t want to be a club, a supper club, or a clique — we want to grow, so The Table has to be a real forum with a focus.

At this table part of the focus, or the discussion as it happened was about styles of leadership — about the aesthetics in a way of making things happen, and about trust in people who can make things happen — what we want to join in with and what we don’t, what we have time for and what we don’t. And we dreamed — a small table in Dublin, a staged listening space where a conversation might be heard, recorded and archived — shared as part of an online, virtual, conversational space. A large table in a filed in Poland — images of exchange that are also images of pleasure and play.

Many of us were/are performers — and a sense of what that has meant and how it might inform The Table in future was definitely present — but we are not all performers now. So many of us have been ‘through’ and some out the other side — varieties of kinds of teaching, research and leadership — there was as strong sense both of wanting to do things differently now, with what we have learned, desiring to move towards uncertainty and to share what we don’t know — and don’t now how to do — as well as what we do know, and a sense that we have histories and practices to draw on. It’s the next day, as I write — there was sound recording, images, memories that have to be discussed and re-membered — before we go on, that’s what’s next.

Claire MacDonald

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