Oakenhoof has had a wonderful journey over the past several years. There has been numerous, and wondrous, performances and excursions. However, what we had above all, was a community, new friendships, and a kinda extended (slightly dysfunctional) family. All of that was halted in it’s tracks with the covid revolution. A few of us worked hard to try and keep the fire fanned, but it became too much work for something that felt to be falling short of engaging folk. So we sat back and went with the stall, and wondered if/when it could restart. I’ve still tried to nudge a few things along, and we’ve ended up where we are now.
We had a meeting, and decided we needed to mix things up a bit: try and add some more challenging and creative things, as well as, maintaining some traditional clog. We have been meeting up, and have been wonderfully creative, and had fun. Unfortunately we’ve lost the use of the downstairs as a dance space. So, we’re upstairs. It’s much smaller up there, and quite a way away from the bar, but beggars can’t be choosers ‘n’ all that. We’ve had some really good, open, inclusive and creative sessions. I also realise the needs of the wider group to re-learn traditional clog dances. I think the time and space is available for folks to do that.
So, the future is the big question. I know there has been lots of culture war fallout surrounding these strange times, and factional groups have become seemingly entrenched. If you want a future for Oakenhoof, then we all need to accept, and respect, not only physical diversity, but also sociopolitical, ideological differences. There is very famous dance studio whose motto is “Unity Is Diversity!” I couldn’t agree more. We need musicians, dancers, teachers, and more importantly, open ideas and opinions.
So finally, this is just my humble opinion. I think Oakenhoof should be more open source, more open to honest review, and repeated iterations where needed. It should be a people’s collective, without leaders, foremen, or anyone who thinks they hold office. Ideation should be encouraged, and an unconference style session selection should be used: ticks on post-it notes (maybe virtual) prioritise the schedule. The session suggester is in charge of that session/journey, and allow others to commit input for peer review. Honest to goodness user stories and agile development…. If only a few people are interested in you’re idea we can still facilitate it, but we can’t be offended if folks choose to do something else.
For all of this we need people: a collective of individual spirits who feel the benefits of being part of such an amazing and creative group.