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Art of Hosting for Carers Queensland

How could hosting conversations that matter support real inclusion in our communities?

Carers Queensland recently invited us to partner with them to build confidence, skills and long term capacity in Participatory Leadership processes and practices for part of their diverse workforce.

85 team members travelled from 9 site locations in 3 Queensland regions to Brisbane / Meanjin for a 3 day introductory experiential training in the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations That Matter.

They were all from within the CQ NDIS Local Area Coordinator Partner in the Community Program, supporting Australians with disability to live fulfilling and connected lives, and building inclusive and welcoming communities.

Everyone at all levels participated, from the Director, team managers, regional managers, team

Leaders and Local Area Coordinators, those working directly with community. It was also an

opportunity to meet each other, connect and have conversations across teams - something that

hadn’t been possible face to face for several years.

We were struck by the genuine commitment towards and passion for inclusion and participation in all things, and creating spaces to listen and respond to diverse voices. Hence the calling question for the training: How could hosting conversations that matter support real inclusion in our


Learning about patterns, processes and practices was mostly experiential, with lots of opportunities for participants to practice hosting in a safe and supportive environment.

We took special care in the design of the training to support all participant’s needs. The venue at the Brisbane Convention Centre, gave us lots of space to play with, and had its own challenges.

We followed the training with online reflection calls to keep the learning and practice alive. 

Participants have co-created a community of practice for ongoing capacity building and to embed change.

In just a month after the training, teams across the spectrum of service delivery were sharing and celebrating stories of hosting and harvesting practices at work, with family, community and people with disability.

Some of the participants are taking their skills and practice to host conversations with groups of people with disability, their parents, carers. Others are focussed on hosting conversations with people and organisations to influence change towards more inclusive and welcoming communities. Others still are focussing the capacities inward, to support healthy teams within Carers Queensland.

  • We’re applying the tools to how we work together as an office and cultivating our culture. In weekly staff meetings we’ve used some of the tools - circle with hosts and guardians. It’s really nice and it's helping our relationships with each other.

  • I took the Art of Hosting guide with me on a camping holiday and practiced with my family. Helpful in our personal and work spaces.

Our team of 8 also learned a lot from the experience. We had planned what we thought was an appropriate closing to the three days, and shifted that in the moment when the Murri contingent of CQ team members hosted us all in a moving final circle, Aboriginal way. We’ll carry this with us for a long time.

In the words of…

What did Carers Queensland participants take with them from the training?

  • What I have realised or what I have been reminded of is the power of connection, how inspiring providing people with the opportunity and the possibilities these activities can actually bring to communities, within CQ and within teams. Now it’s actually using skills which we have and providing opportunity to bring community together.

  • My take away is seeing staff being really comfortable in silence – a really important skill to be able to generate, in a system where we've had to have the answers, and now the chance to listen, and asking a powerful questions.

  • A warm welcoming space. We all held that safe space for sharing. I want to replicate that as much as I can in my work and everywhere.

  • Encouraged that CQ created this space. Ability to listen with interest and speak with intent.

  • The human aspect of meeting people and creating a safe space and building relationships before diving into meetings, particularly as there is sensitive sharing. In a kind way.

  • Slowing down. We have had a chaotic time in the office since the training. Presensing has supported us. We are more mindful of listening to and checking in with each other.

  • This has given us the opportunity to grow our team, work together and be kindful with each other.

  • The power of collective impact, when we tell our stories and connect with each other. Shared responsibility, willingness to be vulnerable. That’s powerful.

  • Importance of the connections. Heart centred approach and practice, so crucial to be able to move to a new place of being. The iterative process of creating new solutions, needs more minds.

  • The iterative process of creating new solutions.

  • It’s really clear to me that now's the time to get creative with new strategies to engage with people.

Curious about working or learning with us?

We'd love to have a conversation.
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