At Experience Laboratory, we hold that true learning and change only happen through experiences with others. Indeed, we’ve all come to know what we know, and act how we act, by virtue of our life experiences. As children, we can play soccer or sing in the choir; be class president or class clown; do as we’re told or chart our own path. As we try out different ways of being, we get feedback from the world, and settle into patterns of behaviors and beliefs that stay with us for the rest of our lives.
As adults, we have precious few opportunities to experiment and explore, play pretend or dress-up, re-invent ourselves or re-think why we do what we do. Paradoxically, we may obsess about such things—reading self-help books, coming up with plans, making lists, and daydreaming alternative lives for ourselves—but somehow things don’t change. At Experience Laboratory, we believe this is because we only change with others, embedded in relationships and social systems.
Indeed, we hold that learning about one’s self and learning about others go hand-in-hand; understanding yourself only happens when you understand the social systems around you (and vice versa). The Experience Laboratory is a place to examine your patterns, your assumptions and habits. It’s a place to interrogate who you are and how others see you, your role—and the role of others—in your transformation. You can try on new roles and adapt to new realities. You can investigate the ways that larger social forces impact you and how you can impact these forces.
Experience Laboratories are based on the structure of contained, here-and-now experiential learning events pioneered at the Tavistock Institute and continued world-wide in the Group Relations tradition. Learning is self-guided and participatory. Learning about yourself and others in the world around you go hand-in-hand. Issues of identity and social relations (race, gender, heritage, class, etc.) are reflected in the interpersonal and social dynamics of our daily lives. We consider Experience Laboratory as a microcosm of the world. We hold that our learning is fractal because the patters of behavior and identity that get negotiated in Experience Laboratories can scale up and down to affect all aspects of our lives, our relationships, our identities, and our roles.
We shape Experience Laboratories so that you can explore who you are, try on new roles, and surface challenges in a supportive learning environment. Join us for this opportunity to experiment and explore, to re-invent ourselves and re-think why we do what we do, and to come to deeper ways to understand and engage our lives and worlds.