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  • Writer's pictureRosemary

Culture - Maps, play and a hot June day

Updated: Jul 3, 2018

Once upon a hot June week twelve people from five continents sit in the workshop in Oxford wondering about facilitating intercultural workshops in companies and in NGOs and across the public sectors in many lands. We are all engaged in learning transactional analysis - which provides us with wonderful social. psychological and existential maps for thinking about what goes on inside an individual; inside a group or team; and inside an organisation. So we get to play with expanding our frames of reference - how we experience each other and the different cultures which have shaped us.

Culture is so difficult to define (there are well over 200 academic definitions) and yet we all have our unique felt-sense of it when we meet it - in a family, an organisation, a region or a country. And we are each impacted - whether we get frustrated at the differences, feel humble at the richness, or get lost in navigating it, or delight in the pleasures it might offer. We are each carriers of may cultures and hold positions about the value of the cultural framework, consciously or not, and tend to seek out others who will agree with these values - sometimes to our own impoverishment

Culture is created in the interplay of the structures of any system and the dynamics which are generated and then shape the structures which in turn reinforce the dynamics (Eric Berne’s analysis of culture within TA).. Sometimes the only way to express the smell or the flavour of a culture is through metaphors. So we play with these too - playing reaching parts of the learning mind that purely cognitive approaches cannot get to!

And as the international Cowley Road Carnival approaches at the end of our week we disperse to many places to work with these ideas as counsellors and coaches, consultants, facilitators and psychotherapists - taking with us the memories an impact of important encounters, new relationships, maps to work with from TA and the intercultural academia through a transactional analysis lens - plus an experience of the unique culture we created together for a week in Oxford.

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