Making the Wrong Seminar the Right One

Ulf was attending a Hyper Island workshop day for 55+ year olds on the networked society. Instead he ended up at a film hackathon with the Hyper Island students. Here he shares his story and what he learned from the day.

Publicerad: 2015-04-20

To experience that which is different, that which surprises, often involves learning something new — as long as we decide to meet it with curiosity and an open mind. This is what happened to me one morning when I stepped in through the doors of Hyper Island in Stockholm.

I was on the way to a seminar for 55+ year olds on the challenges and possibilities of the network society. Jeff and Johanna met me at the door warmly and with interest. I got to know where the coffee and breakfast were. John from London and Paulo from Barcelona, both around 25-30, were standing by the coffee machine. “But where were my colleagues?”

We started talking. Both were filmmakers, creative individuals who worked a lot with the internet. They were curious about who I was, as I was about them. More participants showed up. We sat in a ring of chairs and started an activity. “But where were my colleagues?”

After introductions and some good exercises for getting to know each other, the work began. Some of us gathered to watch a newly completed documentary about asylum seekers in detention awaiting a decision on whether they could stay in Sweden or not, a project some of Hyper Island’s students had worked on. The issue was how we could help others come out with their stories of what it was like to be an asylum seeker in detention, stories which could also be published. “But where were my colleagues?”
The hours passed. We discussed ideas and needs and turned them into concrete proposals. It didn’t matter that I was 30-35 years older, didn’t work with film or wasn’t as fluent in English as the others. What mattered were my ideas, experiences and engagement.

The day reached its end. Anna, one of the students, was summing up ahead of the work that would continue the next day. “The next day!?” I had to tell them I’d been at the wrong seminar and there wouldn’t be a next day for me. “Too bad!” said Anna. The others in the group jumped in with comments about how much they appreciated that I was there.
On the way home I was exuberantly happy! I had worked with some young and engaged people and learned a great deal about the network society’s “challenges and possibilities.” Above all, I had a lot of fun. My colleagues, wherever they were, had presumably not learned quite as much.

That evening, Anna invited me to a Facebook group on Förvaret, the film we’d worked on. Watch it and you’ll learn something — as long as you do so with curiosity and an open mind.
Läs krönikan på Hyper Island