Accessibility To Training

Lisa Heft lisaheft at
Fri Feb 9 19:40:28 PST 2001

I love the way that we are helping each other understand
access and formulate some thoughts here that will lead to
more people getting the training and development they feel
they need.  Thank you so much, David.

My two cents, as Artur would say ----

I love the way you, John, just go ahead and explain the
situation and ask for support.  And in my own turn, Elena
shared with me her dream, I saw every ability to make it
possible by calling on my community members, and everybody
does what is in their heart or financial scope to do, as is
their choice.

My perspective from an Open Space trainer experience is that
nobody I know ever turns anyone away for lack of funds, most
people include some sort of a statement to that fact on
their materials, and many try to offer trainings at a price
that is balanced between what is affordable and what means
something to people at different economic levels.  I do,
however, ask people who cannot meet the lowest level of
payment to pay the most they comfortably can afford, as a
way to allow all who need it the same flexibility while
providing the site, food and services, which indeed cost
money.  One of my colleagues offers to help people who ask
for scholarship to find sponsorships.

It is up to me (I shall only speak for myself) to find ways
so that everyone can access my trainings should they have
the desire to.  That includes a wheelchair-accessible
training room, if possible, help with free or low-cost
housing nearby, materials available for those with access to
technology or not, training experiences designed for visual,
oral, verbal and experiential learners, and any other way I
can imagine or learn that might allow one more person to
join us, teach us, and share with us.  And indeed it would
include helping that individual who wants to join us to
contact OSI to ask if a scholarship or other support would
be possible.

I have just learned about universal web site information --
some of those thoughts people have put together (ever
evolving, I am sure) about how people with differing access
to technology and language can receive printed information
via the 'net.  I bet if we pooled some of those ideas
together about physical access, language access, and other
forms of access, we would have an enlightening list from
which to learn and design.

I am starting to design a web site for trainings, and I
realize that part of accessibility is sharing with my
colleagues links and text in different languages or in other
ways tools for widening the access to information about Open
Space and trainings.  I do welcome from any of you any of
this you may wish to share and look forward to your direct
or group emails on this.

And I definitely see training more people to hold Open Space
as the answer, both by training for free (as I do when I
individually offer my services pro bono) and by training for
shared resources of some sort or other (equals money or
mailing list sharing or whatever you imagine).  I feel that
as a consultant and as a facilitator, my goal is to help
people gain or believe in their own skills so they do not
need to think of me as the person with all the info.  I am,
however, happy for them to think of me as one of the people
with total belief in them and total support for their

Let me try my hand at answering some of your questions,
Michael...just in the way it works for me. Forgive me if I
am interpreting anything you put here incorrectly, but here
we go:

> where do trainers come from?

>From wherever they want to.  One of my jobs as a fellow
trainer is to extend information into as many different
cultures-countries-audiences-age groups-on and on as
possible.  And to make that information itself as
universally accessible and understandable as possible.
Whether that is information about trainings or just
information about methods so that people can teach

> would we subsidize trainings by trainers who've not hosted one of
> harrison's trainings?

I would if I felt moved to.  I would not if I had no money
for this or if I did not feel moved to.  Personal
responsibility.  If OSI decides to support by offering
scholarships to my trainings, that would be great.  If not,
that would be great, too.  I know that either way people get
to be trained if they want to.

> if i offered my own training like birgitt, would i my participants be
> eligible for osi scholarships?

I would ask if I felt my participants needed this, and it
would either be available to them or it wouldn't.  I don't
see this as preventing anyone from being able to attend my

> what about someone i train who wants to host there own training next
> year?

They would ask or generate support in a way that felt most
appropriate for them.  Whomever they asked would try to help
them think of funding possibilities.  As you can tell, I
agree with Michael's thoughts below:

> in the end, i think we support trainings best by supporting trainers
> like laurel who came forward some time ago saying, "i need to become a
> trainer quickly, how can i do this?"  we offered advice and resources
> and story.  she did her work and brought it back to share.  viola, a new
> trainer.

I agree with the following (can you tell I would? ;o)   ):

> if other emerging leaders like elena come forward, or are brought
> forward by friends like lisa heft, with real needs for supporting an
> emerging practice, then i think we do ourselves a much greater service
> by funding those.  would be great to have her in san francisco this
> spring.  i hope her dream comes true.

It will.  I know it.  And she had to make her needs known,
which she chose to do.  And I chose to create some action in
the form of a request.  So to me it is all the same passion
and personal responsibility stuff.

I drive some of you crazy because I am such a process
communicator.  So here's the 'goal': I support OSI either
way because the end is all the same.  Personally I vote for
supporting people emerging leaders.  Although now that I've
met Elena (and I know you have seen this too), it is we who
are emerging -- she is already there (!).

> for what it's worth,
> michael

Yours is worth much more than two cents,


Lisa Heft
Berkeley, California, USA
lisaheft at

PS: Lovely to hear from you, dear Michael...

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