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Facilitator's Journal - Hsiao-tzu TIEN

To be a facilitator, I ask myself, “What is the role of a Facilitator?”

“A facilitator is a person who helps a group of people to work together better, understand their common objectives, and plan how to achieve these objectives, during meetings or discussions. In doing so, the facilitator remains ‘neutral’, meaning they do not take a particular position in the discussion.” - WIKIPEDIA

- How to be a Facilitator?

“The higher-order skills involve watching the group and its individuals in light of group dynamics. In addition, facilitators also need

1. a variety of listening skills including ability to paraphrase;

2. stack a conversation;

3. draw people out;

4. balance participation;

5. make space for more reticent group members (Kaner, et al., 1996).”


- Why do artists need a Facilitator?

It’s never easy to be neutral but it’s so important to be neutral in this role. How do I put down my subjective perspective after listening to someone? In this role, I am not the one who needs to lead or guide the artists but the one trying to be a neutral listener and to throw out the questions. Asking questions is difficult as well. When I ask questions, it relates to my understanding of the artists’ views and it’s easy to present my own perspective. During the process, I need to keep reminding myself not to be the artist and the creator but a calm listener who learns how to ask questions and not take a particular position at the same moment.

Jared and Jodi were very talented artists. At the very beginning, we started from chit chat to share information about ourselves, the things we’d focused on, the point of view about performance and to sense each other’s personality in the process. The personality was shown by talking and it was always related to the culture, the circumstances, the history of the country and the personal context. Due to the information, we could keep digging out “why we are interested in this issue”.

I think “Accompany with”, “Listen to”, and “Ask questions” with a “Neutral ” attitude was what I tried to do this time. When I am a choreographer, what would I need? In which position could the third person (eye) participate in the project? I tried to stand by their side to think about this question and provide. These two artists were open-minded and we had good conversations. We also focused on the clips they recorded from rehearsals and discussed “why”, “what” and “how”. Online meetings are never easy because of the distance, the unstable situation and the fact that we can not meet face to face. But because of this, we can give each other more space, patience and flexibility to think and talk.

I kept learning from the process and giving each other encouragement, endorsement and useful information in the working process. It also related to the topic which Jared and Jodi tried to talk about this time: “Softness" and “Hardness”. How do we balance them?

It was really great to have this opportunity to work with the team and I really had lots of fun (and also anxiety)!!! I got a lot from these artists and the process. The most important thing I learned from the process was how to get close to “neutral”.

The process

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