Stephen is masterful at co-creating and facilitating dialog and conversational transformative learning. His most powerful engagement focuses on working face-to-face with individuals.

Since 1996, Stephen Calhoun has been principle of squareONE Experiential Toolmakers. He aims to support and animate exploration and self-discovery by guiding a deep engagement with eager learners–and he does so with small groups, or one-on-one. From 1996-2000, squareONE reflected the founding partnership between Stephen and the gifted educator, coach, and facilitator, Judith Buerkel. Right from the beginning, Stephen was a penetrating and innovative designer of experiential learning tools.

I partner with eager adult learners on an enlivening and exploratory journey based in experience and aimed at learning about: themselves, other people, and their environment. I leverage the learner’s and my own experience, knowledge, creativity and awareness. 
My work by design is transformative, and it may be disruptive. My tools and facilitation aim to successfully meet a wide variety of challenges. My approach and tools are really effective and getting people unstuck. I facilitate, guide, and advocate for the sake of advancing deep personal and social awareness. 

Many times spontaneous or intentional experiential learning are informed, sometimes decisively, by novelty, luck, or serendipity. An inventor of innovative tools, each makes room for lucky accidents. The names of his tools suggest this element of good fortune: Grab Bag, Hunting and Gathering, The Play of Opposites, Moving Shapes, The Spontaneous Mandala, Approach-A-Tron, Cube-O-Probe.

How to operate from an integrated and dynamic position of knowledge and deep awareness about one’s self, one’s relationships, one’s group and organizations, one’s communities, and one’s being and action on the globe and in the cosmos?What fundamental disposition calls forth a dedicated and deeply informed, soulful inquiry into: assumptions, intentions, perspectives, polarities, contexts, and their dynamics and entanglement and embodiment?My hypothesis: this requires being an open-minded, socially aware, daring learner, and, it sometimes requires disruption, reconfiguration, and transformation. I do not soft pedal this profound idea: change really means shifting once and for all into a new ‘shape.’ It is all very musical!


Making room for novelty is the essential qualifier to my distinctive approach to development. Think of it this way: that on occasion a developmental insight is evoked by intentionally taking a wrong turn; bushwhacking; descending into outright open-ended joyful playfulness and literal ‘fooling around’ for the sake of gaining a perspective you couldn’t encounter any other way. I practice this in my own life most often when I’m being a creative person, an artist, an improvising sound designer/composer, philosopher and, facilitator/guide. My outlook is profoundly enactivist, and as such my practice synergizes constructivist experiential learning, humane 3rd order cybernetics, neurophenomenology, and the Analytical Psychology.

I take the so-called self-report very seriously.

The keynote of Stephen’s unconventional background is lifelong learning, pursuing his curiosity, and music. To that end his practice and work as a guide and toolmaker and independent scholar reflect the results of his following his curiosity where it compels him to go. His own explorations over forty years encompass crucial studious immersions in the works and scholarship of C.G. Jung, Gregory Bateson, David A. Kolb, Karl Weick,  Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela, Arthur S. Young, and many others. [1]

Stephen’s transdisciplinary research focuses on constructive fortuity and serendipity in adult development and learning.

He was recently invited by David and Alice Kolb to be the fourth learning partner of Experience Based Learning Systems. He is also a member of the Experiential Learning Community of Practice.

He has presented programs for many organizations, which include noetic groups in Brecksville and Fairlawn Ohio, Entrepreneurs for Sustainability, and  The Lakewood Public Library. Recently he has presented both at the quarterly and annual symposium of the Experiential Learning Community of Practice. As well, He has served as a guide to many individuals, including to Holly Harlan, (former President, E4S,) Kenneth Warren (Lakewood Public Library, The Lakewood Observer,) Linda Kahn (DePaul University.)

Stephen is also an artistic soul and creative person. As a composer and improvisor he focuses on sound design, electronic music, and what he terms, slow music. As a fine artist, his visual experiments are anchored to working by way of modes which allow for generativity and chance operations.

 Gardening Universes (S.Calhoun)

Gardening Universes (S.Calhoun)

Other Initiatives on this site summarizes Stephen’s other activities.

music: noguts noglory studios
visual arts: my naive art | symmetry hypothesis

explorations blog

squareONE in action

Library staff is playing and creating, which means squareONE is helping Kenneth Warren support and help guide strategic planning at Wadsworth (Ohio) Public Library.

IN4tuity, squareONE’s partnership with the late Kenneth Warren (1953-2015), focuses on library and civic development.

[1] note–Stephen’s independent study has been deeply influenced by the work/art of Thelonious Monk,  Rumi, William James, Paolo Freire, Ralph Stacey, Heinz von Foerster, Marion Woodman, Pauline Oliveros, Manfred Ket de Vries, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Kurt Lewin, John Dewey, Henri Bergson, Melanie Klein, Emmanuel Levinas, Mary Parker Follett, Jack Mezirow, Albert Bandura, Lewis Mumford, Alan Watts, Helene Schulman, James Hillman, and many other influential luminaries.