Silent receiver at ERiPi

Bureau for Listening were invited by National Center for Art and Mental Health (CKMS) to facilitate a listening workshop at a symposion for the ERiCi (Existential Resilience Collaboration Initiative). 

The symposium were titled:

How can participatory art workshops serve as a resonance space for
building existential resilience?

We facilitated a variation of the so-called ‘Silent Receiver’ exercerise.

By exhausting one’s ability to share or to receive, attention is drawn towards what is really at stake, and what implications it has when one is ‘simply’ ask to only receive and not re-act, and to keep sharing on a specific open question, even when one’s standard answers and assumptions run out.



Selected notes for the exercise rewritten to a possible score for ‘The Silent Receiver’ exercise:

  • Introduction to exercise: context, structure, expectations…
  • Tuning in to the session (5 minutes)
  • Question to share about gives to the group
  • 1. round (one share thoughts, questions, experiences on the question with a partner that will only receive and not respond (fight your urge to smile, nod etc.) (1. round lasts for ca. 7 minutes kept by the facilitator, the participants will not know the exact time)
  • Break, participants sits with eyes closed for up to 10 deep breaths
  • 2. round (the partners shift roles) (same time kept by facilitator)
  • Tuning out of the session (5 minutes)- deep breaths with closed eyes. Sit like this while contemplating on the exercise and what you will take with you from it into the following ‘group sharing’. Maybe you think of the bodily experience of meeting someone’s gaze, or in what way it was difficult not to respond, and what happen when your standard responds to the given question was exhausted? Maybe you consider what kind listening took place, or did not take place? What was the (power) dynamic between the receiver and the listener? How was the space to be in? Was there something uncomfortable within the exercise? Was there something that surprised you? What wonderings do you sit with now?
  • (Maybe before the group sharing to share some of your comments with your partner first, to check-in and out. That person might have been a stranger or an old friend.)
  • End the session with a group sharing – consider, if this exercise is not directly an attempt of ‘creating’ listening or resonance within the space, what was it then about? Rather than discussing what was good or bad, consider, what happen of meaningful encounter?