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Exercise One:  Object Stories

Page history last edited by Digital Explorations 14 years, 6 months ago

Object stories




Special objects (see below)

3' square sticky notes, enough for everyone to have at least six


Time Needed: 

30 -60 minutes, depending on size of group



To introduce the group to one another through story, image and metaphor as well as to some of the concepts about stories and storytelling we will cover during the workshop


In advance: 

Tell everyone to bring in an object that suggests to then their relationship to the community.  Let them know that they will be telling a story about that connection. 




PART ONE: Exploring the objects (10 minutes)

1.  If the group numbers more than ten participants, split up into small groups of 4-5.  If possible,  sit around tables-for-four or five. 


2.  Place the objects in the center of the table. Look at them, but don't discuss them.


3.  Each person takes six sticky notes.  Write down a word or phrase on each note in response to the array of objects. (6 notes, 6 words or phrases)  What do they tell you about the town/community?  What do they reveal that's special to this town, that makes it unique?


4.  As a small group, stick the notes to a nearby wall or sheet of paper given to you, and look for patterns, for distinctions. Arrange them according to patterns you discover, and discuss the similarities and/or differences between responses.


PART TWO: Telling the stories  (30 minutes)


5.  The workshop leader will time a minute. Participants listen to the contours of a minute. She will time a second minute.  Participants think about how in this timeframe they will tell the story relating this object to their sense of the community.  What is offered by this time constraint?  How does it feel to know you are about to share your story with a group, aloud?


6. The workshop leader will be the timer.  One by one, with no discussion between tellers, participants will tell their stories to their small groups.


7.  Once all the stories have been shared, discuss

     a. striking moments. What do you remember most vividly?  Why?  What do you notice about these stories? 

     b. what you notice about yourself as a storyteller, as a listener.  What is the effect of being in a storycircle?

     c. how you might "catch" one of these stories--choose one of the stories that seems to have potential to bring "news" to the community about itself or one that gets right to the heart of an important point related to the Heart & Soul Planning Initiative.  What would you add or revise to the storyline in order to extract more meaning? What kinds of media would you choose for the telling?  How might it be shared? 


8.  As a full group, discuss results from #7 and what you have gleaned from this exercise--from the act of telling stories to a group to listening to them, to discussing them.


*   If you have more time, add the following steps between #7 & 8: (30 minutes)


     ---Tell the story again, this time taking 2 minutes.

         Think about how this story could be useful to the community. Focus the story. Take 5 minutes to prepare by jotting down the important message of the story-why do you want to tell this story-- and five critical details to include. Sketch out the beginning line, the middle line and the final line. 


      ---As a group, map the stories literally, on a map of the town and figuratively--how they relate to one another, talk to one another, and talk to and for the community.


Document version for Download Exercise One.doc





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