Inquiry Pop-Up

Inquiry Pop-Up is a vacay meets salon meets dinner party, for a carefully curated coterie of women, in a spectacular and remote location. It’s five days of personal and professional inquiry, intoxicating conversations, and bread-breaking with a different luminary from the arts, design, business and culture.


A salon meets residency meets workshop meets retreat meets dinner party. It’s none of the above and at the same time all of it. An invitation to Inquiry Pop-up feels familiar enough, and yet like nothing you’ve experienced. I’ve been told it’s the answer to an (unconscious) prayer.

Invitations go to my cohort—persons of action*.
Action mavens in fact. Just like me.
That’s probably why we’re friends.

We’re curious. Resourceful. Take risks.
We’re compelled to create. Anew.

Often what we’re making is prioritized over
expanding perspective
fueling up
‘re-educating the eye’
{as the dear Bill Cunningham would say.}

And even if we do allow for equilibrium between intake and output,
have we lately?
Or often enough?

Inquiry Pop-up is THAT.

Inquiry Pop-up

Inquiry Pop-up consists of global gatherings held in remote and awe-inspiring locations worldwide. The first two years to act as muse was Marfa, Texas. Then Pioneertown, California called my name. I took it urban and international in Marrakech, and island-hopped the Saronic Islands in Greece. This year, we sail again, this time in Thailand.


We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.
— Ernest Hemingway

Participants utilize Inquiry Pop-up much like a residency, too. A time created to work on whatever it is you’ve been wanting to get to. But haven’t. Including, nothing at all. And to inspire (action! reverie!), invited are people I deeply respect to share their ideas and practices with you: Subverting the expected, searching for deeper meaning and context, liberating feelings of inadequacy, and investigating creative solutions to complex problems. Through workshops, open dialogues, walkabouts and play, perspectives on business, creativity and life awaken. A scintillating reverberation extends into our community dinners, where each evening we gussy up, sip wine, and eat delicious food—while engaging in stellar conversations with new friends, and our guests of honor. The connections forged at our soirées are exactly the fuel necessary to stoke the next day’s fire, and the next…


Guests of Honor are fixin’ to illuminate, chew the cud, confuse and amuse.

Inquiry Pop-up 2020 is a sailing journey in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand — and is a collab with The Sailing Collective. I chose them as they responded to my initial query promptly, joyfully and professionally. Their pedigree was affirmed with an exhaustive webs search, In fact, they’re the darlings of Vogue (fashion), Outside (nature) and CherryBombe (food) magazines. They say it best: [We’re] an energetic group of explorers and sailors coming from an interdisciplinary background with a shared enthusiasm for adventure with the collective journeyers. Captains are trained professionals with unique experiences and sailing backgrounds offering a variety of information and life experiences to each journey. The Sailing Collective prides itself on the passion our captains have towards curating global adventure for the enjoyment of everyone involved! Outside the Sailing Collective, our captains are accomplished in their own professional fields from artists to astrophysicist, giving an added value to each adventure.

Inquiry Pop-up | Phang Nga Bay, Thailand — is live, go here to learn more.

Saronic Islands, Greece
Lily Cardenas | Sailor, Pilot and Grace in action
Vivian Ho | Chef, Market-hunter and Half-dressed Icon
SNFCC | National Archive, Democratic space and Eco-respite
Katerina Sakelliou | Olive Farmer, Teacher and Olympic Gold smiler

Marrakech, Morocco
Valérie Barkowski | Interior Designer
Maryam Montague | Hotelier and Humanitarian
Souhail Tazi | Organic Farmer, Domaine Sauvage
Hamza Abderrahim | Arabic Calligrapher

Pioneertown, CA
Sarah Gottesdiener | Intersectional feminist and Visual Magician
Liz Robb | Post-minimalist Weaver and Desert Wayfarer
Dana Balicki | Transformational Coach and Modern Mystic
Pallavi Sen | Artist Wunderkind and Unapologetic Instagrammer
Chelsea Fullerton Jones | Moment Capturer and Delight Creator

Marfa, TX
Jasen & Allison Bowes | Non-linear Design Thinkers and Brand Disruptors
Hope Ginsburg | Artist, Identity Explorer and Land Breather
Lindsay Mack | Intuitive Alchemist
Kellie Brooks | Hospitality Revolutionary and Integrative Storyteller
Rebecca Gates | Aural Polymath
Jana La Brasca | Art Brainiac with a Mellow Aromatic Side Hustle

Marfa, TX
Malia Mills | Maven and Swimsuit & Ready-to-Wear Designer
Simone Rubi | Designer, Musician, Chef, Third-space Creator
Jen Leonard | Journalist and Design Lead at IDEO
Ashley North Compton | Alchemist and Mixologist
Kathleen Shannon | Truth Seeker and Brand Strategist

Photos of the good vibes the Pop-up: Pioneertown can be found here. And go here to see a gallery of both Pop-ups in Marfa.


*For now, and the foreseen future, Inquiry Pop-up invitations are sent to those I know, personally. This way everyone is assured that all attendees are curious humans, possessing grit and unparalleled camaraderie. But I’m fully open to making new friends. Always. If you think you’d absolutely LOVE Inquiry Pop-up, let’s connect via email or social media to begin our mutual admiration society. hello [at] jennifer elsner [dot] com.

Photos, with permission, by: Wynn Myers, Nick Simonite and Choate House.

Inquiry Pop-up is a Viewers Like You, Co. Production.