Hosts, guests, collaborators

This is a “learning group,” not a “course.” That means every participant’s voice will be part of every session, and we are all citizens of the experience. Our guest hosts will bring their voice and experience into the room as well. Through it all, three people will serve as connecting co-hosts….


Hannah du Plessis

Hannah is an artist, writer, educator and facilitator. As principal of Fit Associates she helps people practice the capacities necessary for conscious co-creation, and helps groups shift their relationships to one another and their collective future. Hannah created the Liberated Life course, which gathers cross-race cohorts to practice the skills of community together. Hannah was born and raised in apartheid South Africa. She is a founding professor in the Design for Social Innovation program at the School of Visual Arts, and Adjunct Professor in the CMU School of Design.

Marc Rettig

Marc’s forty-year career has taken him into a huge range of challenging questions and situations. He is founding principal of Fit Associates, a firm focused on equipping organizations to become participants in the move toward an equitable and sustainable future. Alongside his work researching the patterns of life in families, communities and organizations, he has been a teacher for over 20 years. He currently teaches in the SVA MFA in Design for Social Innovation and the CMU School of Design.

Gemma Jiang

Gemma is the founding director of the Organizational Innovation Lab at Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering, and the founding host of Pitt U.Lab Hub. As an action researcher, Gemma believes in integrating research with practice to bridge the “knowing-doing gap.” Her primary focus is to apply the latest thinking in research into practice, and to gather data from the frontier of practice to improve theory. She draws from Complexity Leadership Theory as well as Theory U and systems thinking. Gemma is involved in a wide range of projects from National Science Foundation-funded projects on the circular economy, to local foundation-funded projects focused on Pittsburgh children thriving ecosystem. 

Session experts, storytellers, hosts

Michelle King

Guest host for Session 12 Ever since our first few moments with Michelle, we’ve been in love with her ability to extend the fingers of her being toward the future, always looking for ways that play, collaboration, learning, conversation, and collaboration can help us imagine and move creatively toward a world we want for ourselves […]

Bekezela Mguni

Guest expert/host for Session 3 Hannah du Plessis first met Bekezela at an eight-month long anti-racist trauma-informed yoga teacher training hosted by Felicia Savage and her team at Yoga Roots on Location. We invited her to hold Session 3—Working in systemic oppression and trauma—because we have experienced spaces held by Bekezela. We admire Bekezela’s joyful […]

Tuesday Ryan-Hart

Guest expert/host for Session 4 A few years ago, our first few hours with Tuesday included the experience of her hosting a learning circle and conversation about power and race, with a group of mostly-white practitioners of “The Art of Hosting.” The clarity of her information and the loving strength with which it was delivered, […]

Karen Proctor

Guest expert/host for Session 11 We have known Karen for nearly ten years, as a leader and as a teacher and guide of scores of earnest and eager grad students. Few people we know can match her mix of vast experience, clarity of purpose, ready wisdom, and kind good humor. When we are looking for […]

Father Paul Abernathy

Guest expert/host for Session 8 Just a few days before we invited Father Paul to contribute to the Adaptive Space Learning Group, we listened to a panel discussion on “Community as Nexus: building healthy and resilient communities”–part of Pitt’s week-long Civic Action Week series of events. The whole panel was wonderfully insightful and experienced, and […]

Maurice Stevens

Guest expert/host for Session 10 We first met Maurice at a gathering of North American practitioners in the Art of Hosting, Through the four days of that event, nearly forty (mostly white) people worked with questions of race, power, the role of host and facilitator, and the necessity of unlearning, relearning, and changing our methods […]

Accountability collaborator:
I Medina Jackson

It is our intention to participate in the shift towards an equitable, life-sustaining, post-oppression future. Despite our intentions, we (Hannah and Marc) have been steeped in the ways of whiteness, capitalism, and patriarchy, and we know that it is easy to replicate harm. There are things we don’t see or can’t know.

As someone who is engaged in the work of dismantling oppression and dreaming and acting into new ways of being, relating and working, we greatly value I Medina’s input into our thoughts, processes and choices.

Read more about I Medina.


The Adaptive Space Learning Group is an offering of The Adaptive Space Network, a free and open network hosted by the University of Pittsburgh’s U.Lab Hub. See for more information.