World Cafe - All together with one another

The birth of Keturi - A multisensory World Café

“I definitely think there is physical intelligence which we can integrate with the emotional and mental intelligence… and there is even spiritual intelligence that we can integrate….World Café has those dimensions that we can tap into.”

The Big Idea

On May 3rd, 2007 – the year WCE was ‘born’, eight World Cafés were held throughout the city of Dresden as part of a Festival of Conversation.  As these conversations were being conceived, WCE wanted to experiment with the World Café format and try something unusual. The initial idea was to integrate music into the design as a kind of choir-like experience in which participants would become choir members. WCE went to the Director of the University of Music Carl Maria von Weber Dresden for advice.  Since he had participated in a previous World Café which WCE had designed for the cultural sector, he immediately understood the concept idea.  He thought that a choir was too hierarchical for the non-hierarchical, bottom-up spirit of the World Café.  Instead he recommended considering the use of rhythmics which was developed by Emile Jacques Dalcroze in Dresden in the early 20th century.  Dalcroze conceived rhythmics as a way of teaching music via movement.  After discussing the concept with two professors of rhythmics at the University of Music, the idea of  Keturi – a World Café  type that includes conversation, music, art and physical movement - was born.

Who was in the room?

Participants came from all over Europe as well as a few from Asia and the United States as participants of the 1st WCEG held in Dresden. One of the founders of the World Café, Juanita Brown was there to experience the launching of Keturi. This new type of World Café enjoyed its premiere with an audience who literally came from all over the world.

The setting for the debut of Keturi was a very special one. It was held at the Hellerau Festival Theater which was specifically designed and built in 1911 to support Dalcroze’s work and the rhythmics movement.  WCE was privileged to use one of the side rooms in the Festival Theater for the Keturi premiere. These rooms are still being used for warming up and practice prior to a performance.

What did the planners want to achieve?

WCE wanted to explore how the introduction of non-verbal communication – music, movement and art – would enrich the impact of the World Café. So the premiere of Keturi was both an experiment and a prototype at the same time. WCE entered into a creative phase which brought World Café facilitators, specialists from the rhythmics discipline and musicians together to explore new possibilities. The music which was used was written specifically for this Keturi prototype was based on the rhythms of the human heart.

What are the results and the impact?

The participants were captivated by the experience which was definitely a repeat experience for all. WCE has been experimenting with variations of this innovative form of a World Café and has been developing this approach ever since. WCE has this multi-sensory World Café a new name: “Keturi”, the proto-Indo-European word for the number 4.

Curious to read more?