Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fifteen Minutes of Fame - Looking back (Part 1)

It has been ten months since the first episode of Fifteen Minutes of Fame on the Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog. However, the main core of what was said has stuck with me all this time. So now, finally, I will give my summary of the eleven presentations given. Naturally, all participants are invited to correct me or add anything I forgot to mention.

What is Fifteen Minutes of Fame?
It's basically an opportunity to talk for fifteen minutes about ANY subject you want to discuss. The stage is yours. So you can do a mini workshop, give a lecture, dance or ask input on any kind of idea.

Wall of Fame
The weekend started with three pictures pasted onto a sheet of paper stuck on the wall. Everyone had sent in photos that said something about their passions and their characters. After everyone explained why these particular pictures had been chosen, everyone was invited to write down their three main characteristics - according to themselves that is. Finally everyone was invited to write on everyone else's posters during the entire weekend giving feedback on their presentation, the photos or the things written on their poster. On Sunday we reviewed the posters and everyone had a great souvenir to bring home. You can see the wall of fame in the background on some of the pictures below.

Public Speaking

The first presentation by Fateh was about how to actually give a presentation. The tips were all very helpful. What stuck to mind with me was that it's important to invite the public for interaction by giving them a task (read something, answer a question), to speak slowly and mostly to be silent every now and then. Especially when you get nervous it's tempting to keep on talking and talking. Silence is good sometimes, as it gives some breathing space.

Little mouse?

Elske, who speaks fluent Thai, told us about how in Thai you hardly use the words 'you' and 'me'. She showed us how there are different ways to refer to yourself depending on the person you are talking to. If a woman should meet someone a lot higher in social status, she can call herself 'little mouse' to show respect. Sometimes this can cause confusion as it's not always clear where someone stands on the social ladder in relation to oneself. How is an older taxi driver to be addressed? As Elske pointed out it really shows how in Thailand (but I think in many parts of Asia), social structures play a bigger role than in Western culture. Your identity is mostly defined based on your surroundings.

Find the gold in everyone

Vincent gave a very personal presentation about how he 'works'. He told us about the fact that he is like a child in that he always seeks to play. The thing that I remember most is how he said he somethings provokes arguments with people, tries to get them to open up and show their true face. Even though his provocative ways are not always appreciated, he manages to 'find the gold in everyone', as he put it.

Urban acupuncture

Beatriz told us about a great source of inspiration for her as an architect, Jaime Lerner. She explained how he was able to transform a city by applying small changes in significant locations. Just as acupuncture can cure an illness when the needle is placed on the right spot, urban acupuncture can heal a city. What I particularly liked about the presentation is that she told us how she came to meet Mr Lerner and how much his work inspires her. Here you can watch him speak on TED.

Farm life

Benoit took the opportunity of us staying at a farm to give us a glimpse of farm life. He took us around the farm and explainded how the machines that feed the kettle work, how the cows are milked and told us about the relationship of the farmer with his animals. It was for me, being a city girl, an eye opener. We did conclude however that this particular farmer did not take such good care of his animals, which was a pity.

The summaries of the other presentations will follow soon!

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