Cambridge notes

Sunday June 27, 2010

A magical summerday fourty people from many parts of Europe met for gathering at Möllers centre in Cambridge. All of us with our personal expectations and hopes. After some introduction and connecting we shared our expectations with each others and created shared images for the gathering. Peter Lang shared some of his and KCCF`s exiting background stories and Elspeth McAdam, Susan Lang and John Shotter also shared some of their “passion” background and hopes for the future.

We spent the evening together over dinner and conversations that lead us towards midnight.

Monday June 28, 2010

Open space

The open space for exploring own learnings ended up in many very interesting themes that were explored in different group settings both inside the building but also in the grass ouside this wonderful summer day. In the afternoon everyone shared  their thoughts in various ways.

After Elspeths wonderful story about drinking red wine and discussing Wittgenstein while punting nearly all of us walked down to Cambridge to punt. The punting gave us various experiences of for example beautiful surroundings, relaxation, wonderful conversations, laughter and muscles…  I don’t know if Wittgenstein arrived but maybe we lost him on the way when we bought cider and white wine:)

Tuesday June 29, 2010

Elspeth McAdam and Kicki Oljemark

Morning session with Elspeth sharing her passion about working with children, families and schools. The passion could be seen not just in her stories but in her body language and Elspeth shared stories full of magical moments and laughter. Elspeth also gave us an introduction to our “physical reactions” and hope about that we can create “new beginnings”through encouraging peoples oxytocin through appreciative approach and touching eachothers in a way that is respectful.

Kicki (Oljemark) also shared a piece of her passion working with organizations and how organizations can be built by stories from the past, present and the future. The seminar brought us from an individual perspective to HIV prevention.

John Shotter

In the afternoon John invited us to follow a journey to explore our meaning making. John gave many exiting examples and used themes like for example “knowing from within”, “mastering and possession”, and “thinking beyound patterns” He also talked about that acting spontaniously creates something different. As always John shows us the importance of details and how it is possible to constant experience new things if we just go on look from differnt perspectives.

Notes from John Shotter on “Ontological social constructionism…” Shotter notes towards

Wednesday June 30, 2010

Another day in Cambridge. Today we had some new friends coming over and Peter and Susan also joined us over the day.

Cherrie Ravello

The morning started with a seminar with Cherrie Ravello around herResearch projectwithin the area of psychiatric nurses and learning. Cherrie shared her research journey with us starting with experiences from her growing up and followed this thread towards nursering as a nurse and how to explore nurses learning context. Cherry highlightened the relational aspect of doing research and becoming a part of and the “living” with the research. Cherrie showed an exiting example of doing systemic socialconstructionist research.

Peter Lang

Before lunchtime Peter had a seminar about emotions. As always Peter used his playfullness and encouraged us in different ways to look at and understand emotions and how they are noticed. Peter talked about building stories of the emotions as they are lived out in the relations and about narrative ways of communicating.

Peter also talked about coping strategies of trauma and the movement from debriefing to Re briefing. Peter also highlightened the Buddist idea of what emotion do you want to be in and will the emotion you are in be helpfull or could you create another emotion.

Peter said that emotions could be seen as an expression of our morality. He also reminded us about when we get into strong emotions to ask ourselves the question when we act what do we want the preferred outcome to be. It was exiting to find Peter as inspiring as always, taking the scene the “storytelling”and a fantastic journey begins.

Systemic practice going forward

After a superb lunch we came back to explore our dreams about how systemic practice willbe noticed in the future. We started with exploring different areas, groups, setttings that could benefit and in what way to move forward to how we could contribute to this development, in what ways. The groups presented themes that covered a range of areas from; the cell and neuroresearch, leadership, un explored meanings, readers, ourselves and society.

All this engagement show so many opportunities for the future and as one group highligtened we can start by ourselves and how we approach, the way we act will make a difference in the world. What stories do we tell what do we want to be a part of creating?

It has been wonderful to see that that also day participants has become an important part of the process and creation. And with all other lovely people outhere and wonderful connections at this event it all feels very power ful and fantastic.

Thursday July 1, 2010

Last day in Cambridge for this year systemic gathering. We spended most of the day to explore the questions; What is it that we would value from systemic gatherings for the future? We also also discussed values we would like to be present for the future.

Some of the things we valued and talked about was the way we are together, as a non profit, non business event open for everyone who would like to explore systemic practice and theories further. We talked about the importance of equality and that everyones knowledge and contribution is important. We all highlightened the importance of being collaborative and the appreciative approach a welcoming join in atmosphere. We also said that the stay has an important function, that the meetings and connections inbetween are important, that interesting conversations happens in the forums inbetween with ongoing dialogues. We talked about the calmness and of having a framework but also flexibility. We said that any contribution is valued and that it is important that everyone feel that they are important and that it is a safe space for learning, sharing and exploring. We also talked about a culture creating context and the importance of being an international event with mixture of professions and “cultures” present.

Before lunch we discussed ways to go forward and most of us wanted to decide days for next year as a platform to move further from. We also decided to create a planning group and that this group could change each year, volenteers who would like to take the “baton”. It was obvious that all of us shared a lot of passion and a wish to go on with summer gatherings but also to open up for different gatherings and meetings spaces both physical and through internet.

We finally talked about the importance that everyone who would like must feel welcome to join in and this also mean the planning part. So if there is any volunteer out there who would like to take a part of next years international “multiperspective” systemic gathering please send me or Cherrie a message as soon as you can. We talked about creating a group of 4-5 people.

Thanks to everyone who came and made this happen, being a part of creating new beginnings and to everyone who supported the event even if you had not the opportunity to participate. Special thanks to John, Elspeth, Peter and Susan who supported us and came to be a part of creating the future. Warm summer wishes and a lot of sunshine to everyone and to our systemic “family all over the world. With hope for the future.

Editor: Kicki Oljemark

Photos: Leif Josefsson

10 Responses to Cambridge notes

  1. avatar yishai shalif says:

    reading these comments makes me even more sad that I could not make it to this great gathering. the other side of the story is that it is so nice of you to put this on the web and allow us to be close in some way to the gathering and become part of it. please send Elspeth and Peter my warmest regards and hopes to meet them soon somewhere on our planet.
    Yishai Shalif
    Jerusalem Israel

  2. avatar Ike says:

    Thank you for sharing the notes, photos, ideas. I would like to hear more about John´s ideas of meaning making. Have you more notes from his presentation?
    I hope and believe that you have good time there. So many great persons together!

    • avatar Kicki Oljemark says:

      Dear Ike,
      Nice to be connected through the interactive collaborative space. You can find some more notes from John attached under the summary of his seminar that I hope will be helpful. Warm and sunny regard from all of us in Cambridge.

  3. Here are some contextual and practical comments.
    I am doing some summary reporting on from this event. The intention of is to be an open landscape or “playground” connecting people and events in the area of whole systems/systemic/strength based ideas. The core of the European network are the twice yearly European meetings where next meeting is arranged by the systemic network in Greece.

    I have uploaded my images to a Google Picasa album which can be linked to by others, and you may use the images freely.

    You can see a public report from the meeting here:

    If you want to link to the images, this is the link:

    If you want to embed the slideshow to your blog or website, here is the HTML code. Just cut and paste the code into your webpage or blog.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

    • avatar Hanne says:

      Dear Leif.

      Thanks for sharing this wealth of wonderful photos with the world. I have just been reliving our Systemic Gathering in Cambridge 2010 – a lovely trip down Memory Lane. A miracle – so many great people in one place, doing all their clever stuff. 🙂 Thanks again.


  4. avatar Leif josefsson says:

    Due to a discussion on privacy I have removed the meeting report on

    If you click on the direct imagelink above you can access the pictures from the meeting

  5. Pingback: Check out the reporting from the 2010 gathering in Cambridge |

  6. avatar vernon cronen says:

    It is great to read about the conference! I am sorry I did not know about it until I had made other committments. I hope to attend in 2011. Most especially I wish I had heard Peter’s latest thoughts about emotion and morality. I cannot offer to help with planning for next year because I will be moving to a new academic home in a new location and there is much work involved in that. However, I should have some new material from a CMM perspective to contribute, so please keep me informed. I am also sorry I did not get to hear Elspeth’s account of our “wine and Wittgenstein” voyage down the river long ago. That was a seminal event for me — and it led to the paper Peter and I published on Wittgenstein, Dewey, and meaning in systemic work. Many thanks for keeping the KCC tradition going.


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