4th International Collaborative and Dialogical Symposium


(Dis)Connecting Tensions

May 3–5, 2018

Ostrava, Důl Hlubina

The challenge is to embrace the tension produced when one holds one’s own position while simultaneously remaining curious about the position(s) of the other(s)

— Stewart & Zediker

What may be seen as barriers to dialogue such as tension, non-clarity, ambiguity, incoherency, uncertainty and misunderstanding are necessary for dialogue to be creative and productive.

— Harlene Anderson

About Symposium

We live in a divided, ambiguous world. We try to figure out who are “we”, who are “they” and we are looking for what separates us, how different and better we are. We build our own community, yet at the same

  • PDCS, Partners for Democratic Change Slovakia
  • time that’s what sets us apart from others. A dialog outside of our social bubble often creates tension, which could be unpleasant or unbearable, so we rather stay “with ours”.

    Tension is necessary though to reach understanding in a dialog. To create something new it’s necessary to discuss something strange, unknown and sometimes contrary to our position. The same tension that divides us can connect us then.

    Horizons 2018 will look for connections in what’s disconnected, for what’s common in differences, for what holds together in a conflict. We will emphasize on subjects of mental health, racism/xenophobia, partners-family relationships and education. The symposium is for people interested in the aforementioned subjects, professionals or general public, specifically for facilitators, mediators, therapists, social workers, community workers, educators, activists and others.

    More about the format and the name of the symposium

    Why symposium? Why Horizons?

    We decided to title the format a symposium because we consider this word to correspond better than others to dialogical, horizontal and interactive mode of encountering. Since we don’t want to speak empty words we pay attention to the encounter’s character in advance. Considering the individual parts we are planning formats and adapting spaces in cooperation with our guests. We are drawing on experience from foreign conferences, workshops and summer-schools. All members of Narativ team are going to facilitate our joint two days in order to let us feel well, learn a lot and express ourselves. Dialogue is necessary if we want to enrich one another.

    Etymology of both words “dialogue” and “symposium” leads us to the classical Greece. There were two meanings of “symposium” for ancient society. Most widely known meaning is connected to verbatim translation “to drink together” and refers to celebrations, banquets and rituals where people used to sit in circle while, often immoderately, enjoying all ancient pleasures. However we relate primarily to the second meaning which refers to the part of symposiums dedicated not only to banquet but firstly to the discussion on certain topic. Such discussion was often regulated by a moderator taking care about a possibility to speak for anyone so that the debate was enriching for everyone.

    Why “Horizons” then? We are wondering what is possible to see from the current standpoint and what we are going to meet at the horizons. We also want to meet “horizontally” so to speakin order to give a chance to listen and speak to both skilled professionals as well as beginners across generations and professions. Last but not least do you know “merging horizons”? It is a poetic expression by H. G. Gadamer whose hermeneutic thinking had influenced many of our teachers. By this expression he grasped a moment of mutual understanding that we may experience in dialogue while exposing our own experiences, prejudices and other preconceptions. This way we are offering our horizons to one another so that they happen to merge. Our own horizon is expanding without superseding or being superseded by any other.

    We would like to invite you to such merging of horizons.

    The firs version of the symposium program will be published on Mar 3, 2018.


    The symposium is organized by Narativ Association in collaboration with:

    Main guests (speakers)

    Sheila McNamee

    Sheila McNamee

    University of New Hampshire, USA

    Loek Schoenmakers

    Loek Schoenmakers

    The Netherlands

    Ottar Ness

    Ottar Ness

    Buskerud university, Norsko


    Full price
    3200 CZK

    Fees payed by Dec 31, 2017
    2400 CZK

    Fees payed by Mar 15, 2018
    2800 CZK

    Price for actively involved participants

    Registration fee for individual workshop presenters
    1500 CZK

    Registration fee for other participants actively involved in the symposium
    based on individual agreement

    Cancellation of registration

    We will not return registration fees for cancellations after Apr 30, 2018.


    Invoice data:

    Optional data:

    Get Involved!

    Active involvement

    We offer the possibility of active involvement in the symposium, either in the form of logistical help or in the form of group facilitation.

    Registration of the individual presentation

    We also accept short presentation or workshops proposals that could offer examples of conflict resolution and reconciliation of the opposites in a variety of contexts.

    Those who are interested in being actively involved or presentations proposals please e-mail us at info@narativ.cz.

    We will inform you about which presentations proposals we chose for the symposium by Feb 28, 2018.


    If you have any other questions, please let us know at:
    (+420) 777 916 280
    Pavel Nepustil
    (urgent requests)