This project has been funded with support from the European Union. This website and all its content reflect the views only of the author,
and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Agreement no: 2014-1-FI01-KA204-00088
A narrative and story approach to empower cooperation, cohesion and change in communities through non-formal education.
Ekonomsko in socialno okolje je vse bolj podvrženo spremembam tako globalno kot tudi v Evropi. Skupnosti se nenehno spreminjajo pri čemer ne gre samo za vplive migracij. Državljani so vse bolj zavezani k samozadostnosti, ljudje na sploh pa pozvani k aktivni udeležbi in prevzemanju odgovornosti zase.
V ekonomsko in socialno negotovih časih takšnih sprememb in izzivov ne gre jemati in obravnavati zlahka. V splošnem namreč državljani v državah z vzpostavljenim sistemom blaginje tega niso več vajeni, postali so pasivni ali pa enostavno opustili osebno aktivno udeležbo in samoodgovornost.
Socialna povezanost je skozi omenjene okoliščine pred izzivom, kar vpliva na občutenje pripadnosti, sodelovanja in komunikacije; skupnosti se v takih okoliščinah lahko zapletejo v negativne (socialne) diskurze s čimer postanejo še ranljivejše.
Ljudje želijo spremeniti »tisto« nekaj, a se kljub temu nagibajo k upiranju zoper spremembe.
Morda lahko na skupnosti gledamo to na nekaj danega v tem trenutku, lahko imamo mnenje o tem; mislimo, da vidimo nekatere težave in si želimo oziroma hočemo zagotoviti tudi rešitve. Za to seveda obstajajo razlogi: zato, ker si tega preprosto želimo, ker nas je nekdo prosil za nasvet, vodenje ali pomoč, zato ker smo na tak ali drugačen način vpeti v skupnost. Mi si želimo “tisto nekaj” spremeniti na bolje.
Spremembe se redko zgodijo nenadoma; bolj jih lahko razumemo kot stopnjujoč proces odločitev in aktivnosti. Resnične in trajne spremembe se zgodijo v trenutku, ko človeška srčnost in miselnost postaneta povezana v zadostni meri, da ljudje znova premislijo o možnostih, spremenijo svoje vedenje in ravnajo skladno s temi spoznanji.
Delo z zgodbami
Kako poučiti skupnosti na način, da bodo postale odpornejše in trajnejše? Za ta namen obstaja učinkovito in navdihujoče komunikacijsko orodje za premostitev razkoraka med generacijami in kulturami, med agonijo in aktivnostjo, med samozaverovanostjo in sodelovanjem, med obtoževanjem in dialogom: to je metoda pripovedovanja zgodb ter delo z zgodbami in na zgodbah. Pripovedovalni oziroma narativni pristopi in metode bi morale biti uporabljene kot orodja za neformalno izobraževanje odraslih z namenom omogočanja sprememb.
Uspešne iniciative so namreč odvisne od dejavnikov, kot so zaupanje, izmenjava emocij, priznavanje razlik in poudarjanje podobnosti. V kolikor sta kohezija in napredek cilj, potem pripovedovanje in narativni pristop zasledujeta ta cilj s podanimi metodami in ustvarjata angažma in sočutje. Dobre zgodbe – zgodbe o skupnih vrednotah, skupnih načrtih in več enakosti – zagotavljajo najboljši primer za vse to. Najuspešnejši izraz zgodbe je demokracija.
Nameni in cilji projekta RSRCA
Inovativni vidik tega projekta je v njegovem namenu, ki se nanaša na usposabljanje izobraževalcev v skupnosti za delo s konkretnimi narativnimi pristopi in metodami, smernicami in poteki za pomoč skupnostim pri soočanju s trenutno situacijo IN zaznanimi situacijami v PRIHODNOSTI. Na individualni ravni to pomeni spremembo osebne naravnanosti oziroma odnosa, negativnega prepričanja posameznika ter njegov obstanek v obstoječih (prevladujočih) zgodbah iz preteklosti (»Včasih je bilo bolje, Jaz sem kdor sem, Tega ne morem narediti…«) ali občutenje nemoči pri spreminjanju sedanjosti (»Če nekaj naredim, se nič ne bo spremenilo…«) v smeri k zgodbam, ki navdihujejo in kličejo po osebni aktivnosti (»To bi lahko naredil, to bom naredil, to bo delovalo«). Lažje kot predstavljati si prihodnost je namreč ponavljanje že poznanih zgodb.
Kaj imamo v mislih, ko govorimo o 'močnih in prilagodljivih skupnostih’?
Z 'skupnostjo' imamo v mislih skupnosti v najširšem pomenu te besede: mesta, okraji, vasi, podeželje, izobraževalne ustanove, zdravstvene ustanove, organizacije (podjetja in nevladne organizacije), prostovoljske organizacije, ki skrbijo za migrante ali starejše. V mislih imamo tudi skupnosti, ki delijo skupne perspektive kot npr. LGBT skupnosti, skupine kot so npr. nezaposleni nad 50 let starosti itn. Brez težav bi lahko na tem mestu dodali tudi katero izmed mnogih drugih skupnosti.
Ko skupnosti opredelimo skozi pridevnika 'močan' in 'prilagodljiv', se je potrebno vprašati, kaj imamo v mislih, ko jih opredelimo kot močne. Naša vizija te moči skupnosti predstavlja dejstvo, da so njeni pripadniki zmožni medsebojne pomoči in sodelovanja, zmožni razvijanja vizije in poslanstva skupaj, načrtovati strategijo delovanja za naprej in delovati skladno in zavzeto. Pridevnik 'močan' tudi pomeni biti odprt za učenje (iz preteklosti in sedanjosti) ter refleksijo slednjega za izbiro delovanja v prihodnosti
'Prilagodljiv' pomeni biti zmožen učinkovitega odziva na raznolike vplivne elemente kot so moteči diskurzi, polarizacija in/ali vedenjski vzorci, ki prihajajo bodisi iz skupnosti same ali iz njene okolice. Biti prilagodljiv prav tako pomeni, da se je skupnost zmožna prilagoditi novim situacijam in da njeni pripadniki zmorejo obvladovati in reševati že doživete nevarnosti (npr. revščina, brezposelnost, priseljevanja) skozi konstruktiven dialog drug z drugim. S tem je prav tako mišljeno, da se skupnosti zavedajo in občutijo odgovornost za (temeljne) naloge, ki so jim bile znotraj slednje dodeljene in jih izvrševati za dobro celotne skupnosti.
Raznolikost je najpomembnejša in razkrivajoča
Morda je najbolj zanimiv aspekt tega projekta dejstvo, da so skozi njegovo celotno trajanje projektni partnerji delali na konkretnih primerih z nacionalnimi, izbranimi delavci v skupnosti/izobraževalci in/ali (njihovimi) skupnostmi ter njenimi člani. Z upoštevanjem raznolikosti partnerskih držav projekta in uporabljenih pristopov upamo, da sedaj lahko pokažemo, da ne obstaja samo raznolikost v kulturah ampak tudi raznolikost možnih pristopov in rezultatov teh pristopov. Kar je učinkovito v eni skupnosti in/ali kulturi, lahko deluje drugače ali pa sploh ne v drugi kulturi. Ta projekt in njegovi rezultati bodo služili kot vodilo bodočim pripovedovalcem v smislu kaj je mogoče poskusiti oziroma na čem je potrebno delati v prihodnosti.
Uporabniški priročnik in vodnik projekta
Večina izmed nas ni strokovnjakov na področju intervjuvanja ali izboljševanja procesov pripovedovanja (zgodb). Vsi naši partnerji tudi niso imeli intenzivne izkušnje ali usposabljanja na to temo. Namen tega priročnika in vodnika je v predstavitvi različnih možnosti, ki nam lahko pomagajo pri načrtovanju, oblikovanju in začetku novega projekta še pred izbiro zgodb iz strani pripadnikov neke skupnosti in začetkov dela s slednjimi.
Prav zaradi slednjega smo na tem mestu ponudili teoretično ozadje, narativne pristope in metode vsem našim partnerjem na začetku projekta in dodali še več informacij in znanja v času izvajanja projekta. Priročnik se je spisal tako rekoč sam in to v času, ko so projektni partnerji že pričeli z delom s skupnostjo. Na koncu smo tako uspeli dodati tudi izkušnje in predloge vseh partnerjev projekta.
Prenos priročnika iz spleta: Oblika priročnika za prenos iz spleta v pdf obliki bo na voljo do konca oktobra 2016.
Priročnik: Teorija v razdelku C:
Knjigo smo razdelili na dva glavna dela. Ker velika večina nima ali poseduje zgolj malo izkušenj s področja 'zgodb' in 'narativnih' pristopov, jih boste imeli možnost spoznati v razdelku C te knjige. Slednji predstavlja teoretični del, ki vas bo seznanil s potrebno' osnovo' in samozaupanjem in obsega tudi predloge podporne literature s tega področja za poglobljeno znanje.
Priporočamo vam, da razdelek C obravnavate z vso resnostjo v vseh trenutkih, ko boste v dvomih. V kolikor ste že izkušeni v vsem, kar je predstavljeno v tem delu, vam bo najverjetneje zadoščalo branje povzetkov in premik k razdelku D.
Priročnik: Vodnik v razdelku D
Razdelek D je praktičen del priročnika, kjer smo vsi partnerji predstavili narativne pristope in metode, vaje in aktivnosti za delo, ki mu sledi proces 'korak za korakom', navdahnjen s pristopi, predstavljenimi v razdelku C. Praktični del je v pretežni meri zasnovan na pristopu 'participatorne narativne analize' avtorice Cinthie Kurtz, pristopa v urbanih skupnostih avtorice Barbare Ganley in drugih pomembnih avtorjev na področju narativne terapije, coachinga in na področju dela z zgodbami v skupnostih in organizacijah. Ta del vas bo vodil od določanja potreb in priložnosti, ocenjevanja in planiranja, mapiranja in zbiranja zgodb do osmišljanja in oblikovanja novih zgodb, strategij, načrtov in delovanj za komuniciranje in delovanje v prihodnosti.
Matrica je vključena v priročnik v smislu hitrega vodnika za iskanje pravih aktivnosti skozi različne faze projekta. Na tem mestu so zbrane aktivnosti iz različne literature in virov, za katere menimo, da najbolje ustrezajo namenu našega projekta. Seveda je še veliko drugih metod/aktivnosti na sploh in v (citirani) literaturi, ki smo jo uporabili v tem vodniku. Večina zbranih aktivnosti je bila izvedenih v času projekta, v različnih (kulturnih) okoljih in (socialnih) kontekstih. Izkušnje partnerjev in njihovi rezultati so prav tako del tega vodnika.
V času trajanja projekta sta bili oblikovani dve intenzivni in praktično naravnani 5 – dnevni delavnici za bodoče delavce v skupnosti. Obe sta zasnovani na pristopih in metodologijah iz priročnika ter izkušenj in dobrih praks vseh partnerjev v projektu.
Organizaciji Storybag in InDialogue sta preizkusili vsebino delavnic v času mednarodnega treninga v juniju 2016 in naleteli na navdušen odziv tega pilotnega izobraževanja s strani udeležencev.
Delavnice bodo odprte za prijavo od Januarja 2017. Njihovo ponudbo bo mogoče najti (tudi kot mobilnosti v okviru Ključnega ukrepa 1 programa Erasmus+) na spletni strani projekta in s strani posameznih partnerjev.
Posnetke s pojasnili (vse faze so razložene s pomočjo animacij) in posamezne videe partnerskih aktivnosti je mogoče poiskati na našem YouTube kanalu.
In June and July 2015, the company OZARA, Service and Disability Company Ltd. started with the practical part of the RSRC project (http://www.rsrc.eu/) which is funded by the Erasmus +, Strategic partnership in the field of adult education. With the project ‘Raising Strong and Resilient Communities’, whose aim is the community empowerment, the consortium wants to develop a set of educational tools that can be used in adult education (with a focus on non-formal adult education) focussing on active citizenship and participation. These tools are based on existing and the further expansion of developed approaches, theories and methods of storytelling.
Who participates in the project?
The project involves professional workers / educators in the company OZARA Ltd. and the target group are unemployable persons, involved in the company's Social inclusion programme (35 persons). This target group includes persons who have previously obtained the status of a disabled person and have mental health problems, mental or intellectual disability or are physically handicapped. Also Roma are included. The pilot groups and the activities of storytelling will take place at three locations in North-Eastern part of Slovenia – in Maribor, Murska Sobota and Slovenj Gradec.
Activities in the project
At the introductory meetings, through interactive games and approaches, we identified the purpose, the objectives of the project, our expectations, the role that we are going to undertake in the project, and we also selected the target group. A plan for further activities was prepared, and methods / approaches, that we are going to use, were identified. Before the implementation starts, we also acquainted ourselves with the manual currently being under development within the consortium. At the upcoming partner meeting in Sicily the manual will also be a subject of discussion and will be updated with additional contents according to partners' opinions and recommendations for improvement.
At the already carried out joint meetings we have already identified, together with the target group, some of the major problems they face in everyday life, especially when entering into interaction with the local community and numerous organizations in society (Centre for Social Work, ESF, Pension Fund, municipalities, associations...).
Objectives of the project
The project will take the direction of identifying what are the wishes and needs of persons with a status of disabled, taking into respect their participation in the community, and how community services could be more supportive for these people in order to cater for their needs. In the coming months we will gather the stories of 35 people from the target group, analyse the stories and search for the patterns in them. The findings will then be presented to interested local communities in order to improve the situation and to increase the integration of these people into the community. Aiming at better integration with the local environment our activities will also include collection and exchange of experience with local examples of good practice in storytelling.
One of the aims of the project is the training of professional staff / educators, who work with the target group, so that they gain new knowledge and skills in the field of storytelling. We will try to include techniques and skills of storytelling in the daily work activities of our staff and to strengthen social skills and competences for the benefit of the target group. We will try to connect past and present with the future and look for the positive aspects of social integration, and opportunities for improvement. The target group will be, through participation in pilot groups, changed from victims to the winners, and thus their enforcement in the environment will be more effective.
In September 2015, a National Seminar will be organised, where the problems, the target group faces, will be presented to the local communities, who are interested in the project activities, and together with them we will search for solutions.
V mesecu juniju in juliju 2015 smo v podjetju Ozara d.o.o. aktivno pričeli z izvajanjem praktičnega dela projekta RSRC (http://www.rsrc.eu/), ki je financiran iz programa Erasmus+, Strateško partnerstvo za področje izobraževanja odraslih za namene opolnomočenja skupnosti. S projektom RSRC - ‘Ustvarjanje močnih in prilagodljivih skupnosti’ želimo partnerji razviti izobraževalna orodja, ki bodo upoštevajoč smernice aktivnega prebivalstva in udeležbe v družbi odraslim na področju neformalnega izobraževanja zagotavljala nove priložnosti za izobraževanje in usposabljanje, v okviru projekta pa bomo tudi razvijali orodja, ki temeljijo na že obstoječih in razvijajočih se pristopih, teorijah in metodah pripovedovanja zgodb.
Kdo v projektu sodeluje?
V projektu sodelujejo strokovne delavke v podjetju Ozara d.o.o., ciljna skupina pa so nezaposljive osebe, vključene v program Socialne vključenosti pri izvajalcu (35 oseb). V to ciljno skupino spadajo osebe, ki so predhodno pridobile status invalida ter imajo težave v duševnem zdravju, motnje v duševnem razvoju ali so fizično ovirane, mednje pa spadajo tudi Romi. Pilotne skupine ter aktivnosti pripovedovanja zgodb se bodo odvijale na treh lokacijah v SV Sloveniji - v Mariboru, Murski Soboti in Slovenj Gradcu.
Aktivnosti v projektu
Na uvodnih srečanjih smo preko interaktivnih iger in pristopov opredelili namen in cilje projekta, naša pričakovanja ter vlogo, ki jo bomo v projektu zavzeli, izbrali pa smo tudi ciljno skupino. Pripravili smo načrt za nadaljnje delovanje ter opredelili metode/pristope, ki jih bomo uporabljali. Pred pričetkom izvajanja smo se seznanili tudi s priročnikom, ki nastaja v okviru projektnega partnerstva. Na prihajajočem sestanku projektnih partnerjev na Siciliji bo le-ta dobil še dodatne vsebine, mnenja in priporočila za izboljšave.
Skupaj s ciljno skupino smo na skupnih srečanjih opredelili nekaj najpomembnejših problemov, s katerimi se soočajo v vsakdanjem življenju, predvsem pri vstopanju v interakcije z lokalno skupnostjo ter številnimi organizacijami v družbi (CSD, ZRSZ, ZPIZ, občine, društva…).
Projekt bomo peljali v smeri ugotavljanja, kakšne so želje in potrebe oseb s statusom invalida, z upoštevanjem njihovega sodelovanja v skupnosti, in kako bi bile lahko skupnostne storitve za te osebe bolj podporne, z namenom zadovoljitve njihovih potreb. V prihajajočih mesecih bomo tako zbrali zgodbe 35 oseb iz ciljne skupine, zgodbe bomo analizirali in v njih iskali vzorce. Ugotovitve bomo nato predstavili zainteresirani lokalni skupnosti z namenom izboljšanja stanja ter večje integracije teh oseb v skupnost. Z namenom še boljše integracije z lokalnim okoljem pa bodo naše aktivnosti vključevale tudi zbiranje in izmenjavo izkušenj z lokalnimi primeri dobrih praks v pripovedovanju zgodb.
Eden izmed ciljev projekta je tudi usposobitev strokovnih delavcev, ki delajo s ciljno skupino, z novim znanjem in spretnostmi s področja pripovedovanja zgodb. Tehnike in spretnosti pripovedovanja bomo poskušali vključiti v vsakodnevne aktivnosti našega osebja ter krepiti socialne spretnosti in veščine pri vključeni populaciji. Preteklost in sedanjost bomo poskušali povezati s prihodnostjo ter iskati pozitivne vidike vključevanja v družbo ter priložnosti za izboljšanje. Ciljno skupino bomo preko sodelovanja v pilotskih skupinah spremenili iz žrtev v zmagovalce, ki se bodo znali bolj uspešno uveljavljati v okolju.
V mesecu septembru bomo organizirali tudi nacionalni seminar, kjer bomo zainteresirani lokalni skupnosti predstavili projektne aktivnosti, predstavili težave, s katerimi se ciljna skupina sooča ter skupaj z njimi iskali rešitve.
Methods applied in Slovenia
1. Problem tree
Listening event was organised in the familiar environment of the local community, involving a location where the participants usually engage in everyday social and work activities. Even before the event implementation we had established trust with the participants on the basis of daily cooperation.
At the beginning, the leader of the activities (an expert working in the programme of social inclusion) greeted the participants and invited them to sit in a circle. Then, the participants were encouraged to get to know each other (better). Each of them told a brief story about the origin of his/her name, thereby describing its meaning and what it represents to themselves. This way, the members of the group connected with each other by sharing a little part of their intimacy in order to establish greater confidence within the group and spark some interest in other participants.
All this was then followed by the implementation of the »Problem tree« method that enabled all the participants of the community to analyse the causes and consequences of the problems they face in the course of everyday life. In conclusion, they pointed out several common characteristics of their problems.
The implementation was performed in accordance with the instructions from the manual, with the activities' leader drawing a picture of the tree on a bigger poster placed onto the board, whereas all other group members were making suggestions.
The central problem that was identified as the founding idea, together with all members of the group, was written into the trunk of the tree, for example: 'The disabled persons often find themselves pushed on to the edge of society'. Similarly, the lower part of the drawing (i. e. 'the roots') were inscribed or painted with the problems that users face on a daily basis: the unjust and deficient legislation, financial and social crisis in Slovenia, prejudiced surroundings and local community, stigmatisation and social exclusion, their economic, social and political position which can be characterised by the deficiency of adequate support mechanisms and insufficient health system.
The effects of the problems identified were written into the upper part of the drawing (i.e. into the crown of the tree). The most important of them were divided into the following areas: transport, money, work, family, contacts and social life, health, accommodation, food and leisure time.
After the concluding activity one of the participants copied the entire tree on a bigger sheet of paper which was then put on display within the location of the community activities.
Tools and aids needed: chairs, paper, pens/pencils and blackboard.
2. Group interview
The activity took place at the location intended for the activities of the social inclusion programme involving all the interested individuals participating in the programme.
At the beginning, the interviewer (an expert working in the programme of social inclusion) presented some facts about the RSRC project and focused predominantly on its aims and purpose in connection with the role of local community in the implementation of activities.
The participants, then, had the opportunity to ask questions that were followed by the commencement of group exercises. Each of the participants got the task of telling one story about herself/himself. The main intention was to get to know each other better by sharing the story about their birth that had been told to them by their parents.
The exercises were followed up by a group interview that was led and guided by an expert who formed its implementation according to the instructions from the manual. The expert was very familiar with the topic. Hence, the interview could be 'directed' in line with the scenario that was, at least to some part, prepared in advance. The central question posed in the interview was: 'What are the problems that you, as a vulnerable group, have to face with in your everyday lives?' Because the participants were a bit shy the interviewer had to ask some additional question that helped them to speak more freely about certain topics and, consequently, they could define the problem areas more accurately. So, for instance, when one of the participants was telling a story related to particular topic, the interviewer asked the other group members whether any of them had a similar experience.
In conclusion, the participants together with the interviewer selected 3 most important problems they have. All members of the group agreed with the choice and, finally, they reached a common understanding. Health, economic issues and relationship with the local institutions were pointed out as the most frequent sources of problems in their environment.
The group activity was then concluded by a short summary and an expression of gratitude for all participants.
In sum, there were no major discrepancies in comparison with the instructions stated in the manual.
Tools and aids needed for the workshop implementation: pencils, pens, crayons, poster(s).
3. One-on-one expert interview
In December 2015 we implemented the method »One-on-one expert interview« with 10 participants in the Social Inclusion Programme.
The interviews were implemented by two experts who were previously acquainted with the method of work described in the manual. The »listening event« organised at the beginning of project implementation included 10 participants who expressed their wish to share their experience and problems they face individually, on a daily basis. The individual form of the interview was chosen because of possibility to get more thorough view of their situation. In that case, the group form of the interview was considered as unsuitable due to the particular sensibility of the topic.
One-on-one expert interviews were conducted with the intention to explore the wishes and needs of persons with disabilities with regard to community participation and how services could be more supportive to meet these needs.
The participants were guided in accordance with the questions that were prepared in advance:
All could be accompanied by the second question: Can you give me an example?
The interviews were, then, recorded by the help of voice recorder. This was followed by the completion of written transcripts of each of the 10 interviews.
The method was implemented according to the manual instructions, and no major changes were made.
4. Group story circle/session.
The group story circle was organised in the familiar, smaller meeting room of the local community, resembling a smaller, circular form of the auditorium, involving a location where the participants usually engage in everyday social and work activities (some of the items were adequately rearranged and adjusted to fit the framework of the event). Of course, the summoned individuals decided on the basis of their mutual respect and trust whether they wish to share their experience with the others or not. Thus, the group was notably smaller.
At the beginning, the leader of the activities (an expert working in the programme of social inclusion) greeted the participants and invited them to sit in a circle. However, in this special case, the participants were kindly reminded that, this time, their usual ‘mentor’ would not be in the role of their ‘superior’ or ‘leader’, but only the facilitator of the process. As the participants had known each other for some time, no prolonged introductory session was needed. Of course, before the event, the participants were familiarised with the main topic of the group story circle, and each of them was asked to make short notes and bring them into the session, if he had thought that would make his/her storytelling easier.
Then, the first member of the group was encouraged to begin with his story about the experience of receiving the unemployability regulation. Naturally, the general questions/topics/issues were similar, thus evolving around ‘how did this happen, what did it mean for you, how do you/did you cope with it, how did your social environment react to it how, and do you think this could change at some time in the future’. And, it needs to be emphasised that, although the general experience was quite similar, the subsequent responses and reactions to it were quite different and subtle. So, when the first group member told her story, the others were encouraged to ask their questions and/or give their opinions. As told before, the facilitator only had the role to check the amount of time per person and direct the conversation.
According to the suggestions in the manual, the participants in the Group story circle method were encouraged to tell their stories and particular experiences to each other and NOT to the mentor. That proved important for the guidance of ‘external body communication means’ (e.g. eye contact, mimics, speech, gesticulation), when the participants sometimes needed to be reminded that they were telling the stories to each other, and not to the facilitator or to themselves (by avoiding facial mimics or eye contact signs).
Last but not least, the facilitator also had the role of taking notes or record certain parts of the conversation. The room, in which the event takes place has a very important role because the circular position of the chairs around the table stimulates the feeling of equality among the participants, and also ensures a certain degree of intimacy, making it perhaps easier to share one’s feelings and emotions.
In sum, the central problem that was identified by the overarching topic of unemployability issue, and then further specified by some very general questions, thereby leaving enough space for the participants to express their own views, opinions, and suggestions for improvement. Overall, the method proved quite constructive, leading to some good and innovative findings.
The participants, of course, could not avoid the painful presence of issues like social exclusion, economic crisis and their specific problems related to it (like low income, accommodation problems, occasional shortages of basic goods (proper clothing, food and so on) that often result in consequential health problems, to which the health system in Slovenia often fails to react accordingly.
Finally, taking into account the instructions of the manual, three most important stories were eventually summarised, and their most important features pointed out: mild to severe disappointment upon the decision on unemployability regulation, feeling of helplessness, frustration at seeking of proper help, and mild to severe rejection of their friends or relatives who, in some cases, became (even more) prejudiced against them.
Tools and aids needed: chairs arranged in circular position, pleasant room environment, table at the centre, paper, pens/pencils and voice recorder.
5. Mapping the community II / A.
In our case, the Mapping of community method II/part A proved very useful in order to estimate and define the storytelling potential of our community. Its implementation was also warmly welcomed by our participants, because it represented a new type of activity, different to their daily routine and work. Thereafter, they were very eager to participate, and they brought a lot of positive energy and enthusiasm. Some of them also proved more open and creative than usual, as they were more comfortable with practical tasks than complicated word expressions and sentences. The activity was organised in a bigger meeting room where there was enough place to work with the board and bigger sheets of paper.
However, it has to be mentioned that in our case, due to the specific nature of our community and participants (i.e. unemployable people with mental health issues), we had to adjust/add some of the coloured categories, for instance, instead of category ‘ORGANISED CLUBS’ we had the possibility ‘FORMER EMPLOYMENT’ (because most of our participants within the Programme of social inclusion had already had some experience of working at other institutions, yet not many of them are included into any organised clubs), because in general the possibilities for them are somewhat limited etc.
At the beginning, the leader of the activities (an expert working in the programme of social inclusion) greeted the participants and tried to explain the task of mapping the community to them as clear as possible. The participants were given coloured sticky notes separately, in a sequence, in order to avoid any unnecessary confusion and to make the work as easy as possible.
For example: firstly, all the participants got ‘Colour A’ notes, representing institutions. If they needed any help with that, we would help them with further explanations, like ranking the importance of any institution in their lives. The same procedure was then repeated with the ‘Colour B’ sticky notes, representing associations, followed by help and explanations. The same process was then repeated for three times in a row, until all participants had completed their coloured sticky notes/categories.
Those were then sorted according to particular COLUMN(S) = PERSON X, Y, Z, … and particular LINE(S) = COLOURED CATEGORY A, B, C. Thus, the emerged table on a wall-sized paper sheet provided a nice representation of persons’ common features and differences.
And, of course, such an example of clear and colourful social community map can provide an excellent starting point for good storytelling, even for participants with weak vocabulary. You can make an event of community map-based storytelling even more attractive, for instance, by asking the person A to tell/guess the story of person B. Had he/she got all points right? And more: you could, optionally, include other categories while leaving others out, like: PETS, FAVOURITE DISHES, MOST BEAUTIFUL COLOUR/COUNTRY etc. This way, by asking the individuals to give reason(s) for their choice, you can make their own stories even more interesting (like this had been in our case).
Tools and aids needed: Coloured sticky notes, wall-sized block paper, colourful markers or pens.
6. Drawing the best moment of my life (based on the method by Mr. Peter Fruhmann).
The new method suggested by Mr. Peter Fruhmann yielded very good results regarding the ability and facilitation of the storytelling process itself. By drawing a picture of an experience/a moment that represented some sort of a positive turning point in each participant’s life the individuals felt very motivated using all kinds of drawing tools from pencils to pens, crayons and markers. At the beginning, some of them perhaps felt slightly discouraged, saying that they were not especially good at drawing any kind of object, but the person in the role of motivator/facilitator can always resolve such doubts by saying that anything – just anything they decide to draw is good enough (from mere patchwork of different colours to more sophisticated motives of nature landscapes, cars, persons, and so on). The method is especially productive for our community because it combines some practical activity with the process of thinking/speaking.
Yet, it should be noted that the implementation of the method described does not have to rely on drawing and speaking only. The completed drawings can, for example, be re-used in various ways. We can, as a sort of short experiment, start by some kind of association game:
When they finished drawing, we could ask them, to exchange the pictures among themselves. Next, we give them a few minutes of extra time to think about or remember any association that their partner’s drawing might represent to them. What do they see? What does their partner’s drawing remind them of? Have they had any kind of similar experience? If yes, what was it? If not, why not? Can they imagine something similar to happen to them?
After they finished the description, the drawings are given back to their ‘rightful owners’ who are then asked to tell a short story about the event that the drawing represents. In order to make storytelling easier we could help them by asking questions, simultaneously trying to add new perspective, like: ‘OK, what does your drawing represent? Why is it important to you? Why did you use these particular colours? Do they mean something to you?
In the final part of method implementation, we could ask our participants to set up a small ‘exhibition’ of their drawings. What can they learn from other people’s experience that could be useful for them in their present situation/in the near future? We can, as well, help with some suggestions by explicitly summarising/stressing the positive sides of message conveyed by each drawn image. Let them tell/learn/discuss the most precious things in life!
Tools and aids needed: Sheets of drawing paper, crayons, pencils, pens (anything that leaves a trace☺), pins, bigger exhibition board/suitable surface.
GOOD STORYTELLING PRACTICES FROM SLOVENIA
1. Storytelling in Slovenian Tourism
In tourism, the practice of storytelling is gradually becoming an effective supporting tool in the developmental and marketing processes in relation to the tourist destinations, products and suppliers. Of course, Slovenia is very rich in the folklore stories tradition that itself already has got a huge marketing potential. But perhaps, they are not yet sufficiently combined with various tourist products, and hence we sell some tourist services without any real story behind them where we could, on the other hand, make use of a huge storytelling opportunities they offer by its possibly spontaneous connection to some (hi)story and tradition.
Hence, the Slovene Tourist Organisation joined the project »Stories within the Slovene tourism«. The aim of the project is to (1) analyse the state of affairs in the field of storytelling within Slovenia – ranging from local destinations to the national level; (2) the formation of the system into a »pyramid of stories within the Slovene tourism«; and (3) - by the help of underlying guidelines of development and marketing of (hi)stories - to stimulate all key stakeholders to start using the method of storytelling as a strategic marketing and operative communication tool intended to increase the competitive value of the given products and destinations.
2. Ptuj Coffee Festival
How about a cup of genuine Ptuj coffee?
Not a lot people know that in the old town centre of Ptuj, on the site of today's Hotel Mitra, there once stood a proper coffee house that had opened as early as in 1786, and that the oldest Slovenian town even today possesses its own coffee roasting facility.
And hence, the Ptuj Coffee Festival intends to combine all local innkeepers and suppliers, local nurseries, the Historical Archive of Ptuj, ethnologists and various creative individuals that will offer this powerful and seductive potion together with its linkages to history, music, local cuisine and ethnology.
The Festival consists of four different topics: Learning by the centuries of tradition, Shall we go for a cup of coffee?, And the story begins…, and Feel the abundance of tastes and aromas that are going to present the magic of coffee with the above mentioned fields of interest. So, let's meet for a nice cup of coffee. OK?
3. Over the city – and among the city ruins
'Over the city – and among the city ruins' was a programme of cultural education which included many workshops for children, adults and people with disabilities. One of them will focus on the design of signet ring owned by Ulrich III. of Maribor that was found during the excavations in 2012. Further, different parts of the programme were based on the storytelling tradition and telling of various local anecdotes in connection with the two guided tours on the city hill (with the meeting point at the City park pavillion). The emphasis was on the natural and cultural heritage of the city combined with the expert lecture and tour among the ruins of the city castle. The evening also entailed a concert by the special music group Orkestrada whose members were the recipients of the award for the best Slovenian chanson in 2013, plus a special light performance show that additionally revealed and adorned the beautiful scenery of the castle ruins.
The action was supported by the Tourism Institute of Maribor that included the event into the Old Vine Festival accompanying programme and into the programme of the Days of European Cultural Heritage. The consortium of wine producers Piramida took care of all catering.
4. Stories Today Festival
The beginnings of the Stories Today Festival (festival Pravljice danes) go back to 1998, when storyteller, writer and poet Anja Štefan founded an event called the Fairy Tale Marathon. Year after year, she invited professional actors, librarians, illustrators, writers, folklore storytellers… to share their stories from Slovenian and foreign folk traditions. The events were primarily intended for children. On its seventh anniversary, in 2004, the Fairy Tale Marathon, which had, until then, run only in Cankarjev dom, the largest cultural institution in Ljubljana (the capital of Slovenia), grew into the storytelling festival called Stories Today, and spread to other cultural institutions in Ljubljana and elsewhere in Slovenia.
The Stories Today Festival offers a wide selection of events for children and adults. It is the most important storytelling event in Slovenia and has had a significant influence on the development of the Slovenian storytelling tradition. Stories from our vast folklore heritage, which are mostly prepared for this occasion only, are brought to life by storytellers of various professions and different generations.
The two guiding principles of the festival have remained the same throughout the years: the performers are encouraged to narrate their stories freely and the stories themselves originate in various folk traditions. The festival thus offers evenings of well-performed storytelling and strives to open the doors of contemporary events to the old folk tales. Every year, an increasing number of visitors find themselves convinced that well-chosen and well-told stories touch even the modern listener.
5. Storytelling Variety
Storytelling Variety is an NGO active in the field of storytelling and education. It is a member of pan-European network called FEST that connects more than 40 storytelling organizations from across Europe. In Ljubljana, where we are based, we run storytelling events for adults and children and organize short- and long-term educational programs in the field of storytelling.This organisation also has additional mentoring or other support suitable for young people with social obstacles, educational difficulties, cultural differences or similar.
Storytelling Variety has been running programs of inclusion and rehabilitation through storytelling and connected fields for the past five years. Programs included work with minorities, disabled youth and prisoners. Ana Duša and Špela Frlic, members of organization and mentors in EVS programs, have been educating themselves in for this kind of work through national and international programs and practical work, in which they cooperated with professors from Ljubljana Faculty of Education, social workers, teachers and practicioning professionals in the same (or similar) fields. In years 2015 and 2016, they are developing methodology for using storytelling in processes of integration and rehabilitation that will result in a document which will include theoretical aspects of the work, practical exercises and overview of similar processes throughout Europe.
Raising Strong and Resilient Communities
Raising Strong and Resilient Communities