Linda Starodub linda.starodub at undp.org
Thu Jul 1 13:28:03 PDT 1999

Murli and others re CPSI:
 -- I attended my first OT in 1995 and my first CPSI in 1996. I do not
recommend the double header I tried in 1997 -- a week at CPSI end June,
followed a few days later by the traditional July weekend at OT. It was
really too much for this poor ol'brain to absorb in such a short time

For me OT and CPSI have a lot of the same "feel", but with a lot of
differences in context and activities. I have occasionally described
CPSI to OS folks -- as OS with a catalogue instead of a community
bulletin board. People post their offerings in the catalogue -- there is
a time and a space - and you decide to go or not. Except for sessions
where convenors state otherwise -- the law of two feet generally applies
without it being stated. Of course it's hard to adhere to "it starts
when it starts and it's over when it's over" when there's another group
waiting for the space - but it usually works out. Of course there are
the dreaded evaluation forms which you can always ignore. There is even
something called night flights - where people post new offerings (that
are not in the catalogue) quite literally on a community bulletin board
- OS sessions without the circle announcement

The 900+ people attending make it more difficult -- but certainly not
impossible -- to make connections and self-organize. This is helped by
the "home" groups that meet mornings of the first part of the week
around a range of fun themes. Newcomers attend what is known as the
Springboard group which is an intro to the Creative Problem Solving
Process -- a sort of multi-stage divergent/convergent model that is
presented in ways that appeal to all  kinds of learners (kinesthetic,
spatial etc.) The whole mood is heightened by a disproportionately large
contingent of Brazilians that flock there each year (many of whom speak
little or no English and seem to get along just famously). They bring
wonderful music and dance filled offerings - as well as a lot of ad hoc
music. Lots of folks from all over Europe and farther afield come as

In many ways it really is like an international adult summer camp - a
little something for everyone. And lots of butterfly space. CPSI is held
in the confounding maze of a sixties era university campus in suburban
Buffalo. We are told that it was deliberately designed to confuse people
- as a way of dissuading potential student riots. So many are found
perpetually wandering around (even after a few days there) trying
hopelessly to find dorms and session rooms. Somehow it's all part of the
CPSI experience - along with the long cafeteria l;ines where you meet up
with folks, and the sufi dancing under the stars and walking the
labyrinth on the lawn - for those so inclined.

All in all - quite a tolerable and even enjoyable sort of conference for
those of us who have been "spoiled" by meeting in Open Space. So if
appeals check it out next June - or look into winterfest

linda.starodub at undp.org

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