Sphere College Project

A New World of Learning

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Sphere Communication Workshops

Last night at Steel City Coffeehouse I presented the second of two Sphere Communication Workshops. It went extremely well! We had a nice crowd: some members of the Phoenixville Green Community, some musicians, some students in the Sphere College Project, and several others who heard about it and dropped in.

Most attendees were there last night because people who attended last week encouraged them to come. And last night’s attendees were sincerely enthusiastic afterward about how much it opened their eyes with respect to problems and solutions of group communication. Ultimately, that’s how I want to publicize this: word of mouth. If the quality of a product is high enough, then people WILL tell other people.

Here’s a rundown of the workshop: I briefly discuss the motivation for the workshop, then present some principles of communication that emerge from synthesizing diverse disciplines. Then there’s a break. Last night during the break the audience was entertained by Frank Wolfe, student in the Sphere College Project. After the break I solicit a group of courageous volunteers to practice their skills by discussing an engaging topic based on the principles introduced previously. Naturally, the participants are a bit self-conscious since the rest of the group is listening intently to the discussion, but by this time it isn’t too difficult for the individuals to focus on the topic while simultaneously remaining aware of the quality of their interaction.

The night was so successful that I look forward to presenting this workshop often and soon. I’m currently working on a grant to offer it to unemployed/underemployed individuals. In the meantime, if you, dear reader, can think of any groups who would like to be more effective at finding common ground through improving their communication skills (who wouldn’t?), I’d appreciate being connected with them! I can be contacted directly with an email to info AT spherecollege DOT org. The workshop is also offered through the Center for Resolutions in Media, PA. Some information about the workshop is available by following this link.

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Everybody Learns!

Deeply etched into the philosophy of The Sphere College Project are the convictions that all faculty, administration and staff must be engaged in their own personal pursuit of knowledge, and that experience is the best teacher. This implies that I, the president and founder, must be as willing to learn from experience as I expect the students to be.

So what have I learned? One thing is that in our current economic environment holding fundraisers and contests and asking people to contribute money and expertise is not going to sufficiently build the necessary infrastructure for us to become a stable, sustainable entity. I’ve also learned that we’re solidly on the right track. There’s no question of our giving up, even in the face of what may appear to many to be insurmountable challenges. How do I know we’re on the right track? All of my knowledge tells me the structure is right, I look at the progress currently being made by the students, and the fact that 2 1/2 years in, we’re still alive.

What has become clear to me is that we can survive and grow by offering something of value to society—something people will pay for. Virginia Stewart, for example, has been working on her artwork. She is producing new, innovative works that deliver what our lives and times need: insight into self-awareness, and surreal works of beauty that provide fertile ground for interpretation and contemplation. Frank Wolfe is writing and entertaining and producing his artwork in the form of greeting cards and a calendar for sale during the holiday season. His work provides fresh, poignant insights into what it means to be human. Virginia and Frank are both beginning to get paid for doing the work they love to do, too!

So…what do I have to offer? Well, I have developed something called the Sphere Communication Workshop. In the workshop I convey principles of communication and leverage the metaphor of roles played by musicians as they engage in creating music together. Participants in the workshop will gain an awareness of their own individual communication strengths and weaknesses, and to begin to interact more effectively with others.

I am offering these workshops at Steel City Coffeehouse in Phoenixville on two Tuesdays, October 18 and 25 from 6-8pm. Information about the workshops is available by following this link. And Fern Brodkin created this press release. I’m very excited about the workshops. They accomplish multiple goals: they are a way for us to bring in some much-needed funding, and they will also get people communicating more effectively, a critical component of a functioning society. If you are in the Phoenixville area, I hope you will consider attending one or both of these workshops. If you can’t attend, feel free to call Kim Feindt at 610-917-9797 to schedule workshops at other times. If you are not in Phoenixville, I would be delighted to visit your area to perform the workshops. Please contact me via email, richard AT spherecollege DOT org, for more information.