About the European
NVC Summer Festival
The European NVC Summer Festival is organised every year in a different country and gathers enthusiasts of Nonviolent Communication from all around the world. For seven days we live together, share our knowledge and experience NVC in practice. Below you can find some details that will give you the taste of what the Festival is and what to expect.
What will happen
Every part of the program is voluntary. Workshops are open space offers – everyone who has the drive to offer a workshop, can do it. Everyone who wants to join, can do it. If you notice you are not in the right place for you, apply the rule of two feet: get up, express the need you want to attend to outside of this workshop, check in with the others how it is for them, check out and leave!
See the explanation of all keywords and concepts further down.
On Sunday, we will have a short afternoon workshop, and the mourning & celebration community gathering in the late afternoon, to make space for our (inner)childrens Fun and Play at the No (need for) talent show! Bring anything you don’t have talent for and show us! Could be dance, singing, stand up comedy, poetry, game, circus, whatever act that is doable in 3 to 5 minutes! If you feel like hosting this event, let Kathleen know! After that, there will be space for dancing and chilling out on our last evening together as the European NVC Summer Festival community!
Keywords and concepts
During the morning and evening gatherings, which are the occasions during the day when we all meet, there is a chance to present information concerning all or many of the Festival participants.
(Emergency) empathy signal
Waving the hand like giving your head a breeze of air from above. You can use this signal during community gatherings (or other times) and an Emergency Empathy Whisperer will hurry to you and offer whispering empathy, so that you can stay in the group and still care for intense inner emotions. You can also use this signal if you would like to make a request, but are not clear on how.
(Emergency) Empathy Whisperer
Anyone can be an Empathy Whisperer for a day or more. This can be a day when you are abundant in wanting to care for others. People can go to an Empathy Whisperer for emotional support and/or to get help in formulating clear requests. If somebody uses the Emergency empathy signal during a community gathering (or other times), an Empathy Whisperer goes to them quickly and quietly and offers whispering support.
Festival Decision Making
If there are requests to make changes to the Festival structure or other big decisions during the Festival, there will be a Festival Decision Making session on the third day of the Festival. Everyone is welcome to discuss – and possibly make – decisions on Festival matters during this session.
"No Need for Talent" Show
A show at the end of the week where we celebrate together. Anyone can make an act for the No Need for Talent Show. It may be singing a song, reading a poem, presenting a sketch or some other performance. It is often something related to what happened during the Festival.
Workshops are open space offers. Anyone can offer a workshop of any kind. You can prepare it properly before, make it on the spot, or co-create with other Festival participants. You are free to participate in 0, 1, 2 or 3 workshops a day (we do not recommend 3 a day though!). Workshop offers are announced during the morning gathering.
Every morning there is a community gathering (The Morning Gathering). Here you can hear about the workshops that will be offered during the day, connect with the Festival community through the remembering (a poem, song, text, story or something else that really helps you to connect with your inner truth and deep values). Every evening there is another community gathering, called Mournings and Celebrations. As a community we hold the space for each other, witness each other, letting ourselves and others be seen and heard with love, honesty and vulnerability: sharing deep learnings of the day; sharing something that you mourn that you might want to act differently on at another time; something you did that was on your edge, or whatever might be bursting in you. This space invites slowness, humor, vulnerability, spaciousness, connection. We don’t go into fixing mode, but if it comes natural you can add a request to your sharing. Community Gatherings are not used to solve conflicts or do decision making processes. If a group conflict or a structural problem comes up, those that are invested in it can participate in a decision making session on the third day. You can also set aside time in any other workshop block to discuss issues with those that are interested in the topic, and – based on those discussions – suggest changes to the community gathering facilitators (or to other relevant people, depending on the topic). We ask you to support the facilitator in caring for the whole group.
Nonviolent Communication (NVC)
What is this whole Festival based on? If you haven’t heard much about NVC just yet, you might enjoy an NVC YouTube introduction with Marshall Rosenberg or many other NVC videos on Youtube.
The morning community gathering starts with a remembering. Often someone reads a poem, plays a song or reads a text that reminds us why we devote ourselves to NVC. It can be anything that really helps you to connect with your inner truth and deep values.
This year (2023) most participants are asked to do community supportive actions like doing dishes, cleaning, cutting vegetables, beautifying, and other things.
Scheduled before each community gathering. You can decide to join (passively or actively), if you enjoy being in community with music and singing. It’s okay to join late and/or to lay down with your eyes closed while listening to the music. Bring your musical instruments!
Empathic Sharing Homegroup
A Sharing group (empathy group, homegroup) is a group of people that is created at the beginning of the Festival. It often consists of 4-7 people. You meet daily with the focus on connecting with each other and listening to each other with care and empathy or exploring authentic honesty. Sharing groups serve many purposes. Maybe the biggest one is to create sort of a home base. It can often feel safe to know that you will meet the same people every day. Talking about what has been going on for you is also a great way to reflect on your day and learning, as well as hear and reap from other’s learning of the day. For you who are new to NVC or empathy groups, there will be support to get into it and you can also watch this Youtube video explaining the difference between sympathy and empathy.
Facilitator of the Community Gathering
We welcome you who is up for a challenge by contributing to the whole community life, to join us in rotating leadership. As facilitator you facilitate the needs of a large group, focussing on relaxing into a safe, held structure of time, clarity, progression, and care. This means that you make sure the space is ready on time, you start the meeting on time in a clear caring way (even if some people might still be coming in). You know the structure of the meeting and can facilitate it. If people take more time for something or the group suddenly drifts off into discussion or other, invite for a closure and an alternative plan for those where the energy is urgent so that they get support and love without the whole community stretching too far. You can sign up alone or with another person. If you are not experienced, sign up with an experienced mentor. You are welcome to facilitate more than one gathering.
Still in doubt?
Why to come?
Below you can read many different comments on why participants come to the Festival:
☺ Apart from being with old and young, new and old friends for a whole week, and experiencing my “personal” magic, that seems to find me at every Festival – I want the Festival to give me a sense that we evolve as a community, that we move into a new territory, that we discover a new place, discover a “we” that we haven’t experienced before, that takes us to new responses and an unknown land. ☺ A space where there is support to connect with what is alive in a nonviolent way. ☺ A space where everybody can offer activities/sessions. ☺ A space of fun, celebration, creativity, play and expression. ☺ A space to discover our edges, and take some of our personal growth steps, to discover possibilities and gain learnings in nonviolent community building. ☺ A space to nurture social change. ☺ A place to act on love with power. ☺ A place to dive into sweet pain, care, safety and gentleness. ☺ A space to be real and authentic, trusting that the wisdom in the community can hold the beauty, the out of ordinary and the ugly! ☺ A space for connecting with new people in our own local community and welcome people from all of the globe to join us building strong networks together. ☺ A place to get space and support to deal with challenges in relationship to oneself, other people or situations (private and/or business) in order to live more meaningful, when in the other life than the Festival life. ☺ A space to learn new skills in teaching, and getting new input, ideas and theories that inspire me to be the person I want to be.
Guidelines for participation in the Festival
After experience from previous NVC festivals, all participants are asked to read and give their consent to the following guidelines.
As a participant at the European NVC Summer Festival, I intend to follow the following guidelines to my best abilities:
- I cooperate with the Festival organizers in taking presented measures to minimise the risks associated with the spread of COVID-19.
- I take responsibility for my actions, my feelings and my needs.
- I am aware that others are responsible for their actions, their feelings and their needs.
- I am aware that all participation in various activities during the Festival is completely voluntary.
- I am fully responsible for my own mental and physical health.
- I am aware that the NVC Festival is not a therapeutic forum; if I have psychological difficulties, I am encouraged to seek support in my circle of acquaintances or seek professional help.
- I avoid actions and statements that risk hurting others.
- If someone acts or makes statements that risk harming others, then:
- I address this to the person concerned. If this is not possible,
- I seek support from another participant and address this to the person concerned. If this is not possible,
- I contact the Festival’s conflict management group.
- I am aware that if someone has contacted me regarding my actions and/or my statements and I do not stop them, the Festival’s conflict management group may ask me to leave the Festival and the course facility area. This should be done as soon as practically possible and I will not be compensated for financial costs.