Fourteenth ICON seminar

From 16.-19. October the fourteenth seminar of the Innovative Conservatoire took place in Kallio-Kuninkala, Finland. Falk is member of the team of Creative Directors of ICON. The theme of this seminar was

Improvisation and Playfulness.

Relationship to identity, artistic development & professional practice.


The main building of the beautiful area of Kallio-Kuninkala
The main building of the beautiful area of Kallio-Kuninkala

The seminar was led by Bart van Rosmalen en Jo Hensel, and was designed to work with and on improvisation in all of its variaties. This means first of all different musical genres: jazz, free, classical, tonal, contemporary and experimental. From this point on, also interdisciplinary improvisation was included, as not only musicians, but also actors and dancers attended the seminar. Finally, the seminar explored broader ways of understanding improvisation in situation of one-to-one teaching, group lessons, professional collaboration and leadership.

The extended session
The extended session “The Art of Questioning / A Theatrical Dialogue”, led by Bart van Rosmalen.

During the seminar, the ICON-goers experienced the usual variety of different kinds of sessions: The whole group followed a physical movement session led by choreographer and dancer Kerry Nichols, while improvisation experts such as pianist Anto Pett, vocalist Anne-Liis Poll and pianist Aaron Shorr offered dedicated ensemble sessions in slightly smaller groups. This combination of forms was accompanied by several slots in which both participants as well as Creative Directors offered theme sessions for small groups, in which they worked on more individual and experimental themes, or on forms they use in their own work. Falk led two sessions here, one using a playful work form called Plaii, developed by Dutch art educator Annemarie Geerling, and Learning by Making, an already more tested-out form that explores the relationship between artistic practice and reflection, developed by Tet Koffeman, Bart van Rosmalen en Falk Hübner.

Participants during the
Participants during the “The Art of Questioning” session.

A special part of the seminar was devised by two time slots on the second and third day. The main house of Kallio-Kuninkala was transformed into a place of quietness and reflection, called the ”Reflective House”. Participants were invited, though not obliged, to come and reflect on the sessions, the collected experiences and viewpoints. It was possible to do this individually or to join in with dedicated reflective work forms, such as ”Improvised Writing” (Bart van Rosmalen), ”Silent Coaching” (Gerda van Zelm) or ”Reflecting through Making” (Jo Hensel).

Working quietly in and during the
Working quietly in and during the “Reflective House”.

As part of the preparations for the seminar, each participant was asked to bring some of their own books to the seminar that were related to the main theme. These books were collected to be part of a pop-up “library”, which was part of the Reflective House. Everybody could come here, look through the impressive yet contemplative variety of the books, read, and leave a trace – in form of a written note, a small drawing or any other kind of tangible reflection.

The collected books of the pop-up
The collected books of the pop-up “Library”.

The participants’ reactions on this seminar of the Innovative Conservatoire was overwhelmingly positive, with many participants voicing their enthusiasm in long feedback emails, asking for more continuous collaboration among the new-found colleagues and friends.

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