The mind works in mysterious and inscrutable ways and today I came out OPENLAB remembering suddenly there is something called The Long Table.

I cannot remember how long ago it was but Chisenhale Dance Space organised a sort of dance artists and producers mixer day.

There were several guest speakers and Natasha Davis was one of them. After giving a talk about her experience as both producer and self-producing artist, she decided to use Lois Weaver’s Long Table as and activity for all attendees to join.

The Long Table is part of a series of projects grouped under the title Public Address Systems. These projects aimed to create “spaces that are hospitable and open, where alternatives can be modeled and critical questions staged.” (from the Public Address Systems’ website)

Rather than me writing about it, you can read more about the Long Table and the Public Address Systems by following that link.

I just thought that the “etiquette” of the Long Table was great. It looked to me like a great inspiration for OPENLAB and for form that facilitate open spaces constructively. The inspiration has been there as a sort of background reference but I today came out of OPENLAB thinking that I should more directly used this inspiration and make maybe one or maybe more sort of OPENLAB session’s to take away… maybe of the sort of guerrilla actions (although polite, respectful and addressing responsibility… obviously, whatever people do with them or not – whether the decided to be polite, respectful and responsible or not — it is entirely up to them; I can only respond to my own actions taken and not to the actions taken by others).

For the time being I haven’t written these potential take-away sessions (watch this space) but I would like to share with you the Long Table’s Etiquette. Who knows, you may get inspired by it too, or maybe want to try the Long Table (or any other of Public Address Systems’ projects) for yourself.

The Long Table Etiquette

  • This is a performance of a dinner party conversation
  • Anyone seated at the table is a guest performer
  • Anything is on the menu
  • Talk is the only course
  • No hostess will assist you
  • It is a democracy
  • To participate simply take an empty seat at the table
  • If the table is full you can request a seat
  • If you leave the table you can come back again and again
  • Feel free to write your comments on the tablecloth
  • There can be silence
  • There might be awkwardness
  • There could always be laughter
  • There is an end but no conclusion
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