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Circle of Objects

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This method introduces participants to each other in a nonconventional way, creating an atmosphere of unity in diversity and introducing emotionality as a constant in the workshop.


Objects have a great evocative and aesthetic power; they enable people to communicate tactically and metaphorically. Through this process, participants also learn something personal about each other and connect as a group.

Variation 1:

Each group is presented with an array of interesting objects. These can relate to the underlying themes of the workshop, including artifacts from nature and/or local traditions. Each person picks one, shares their name, the reason they felt drawn to that particular object, and one word that describes how they are feeling in the moment. Participants attach their object to a common thread or place it in a virtual circle.

Variation 2:

Only one natural object is shared with the group, e.g. a dried flower. Passing it around in the circle, each person describes something about the object, based on one of their five senses (e.g. smell, feel). This approach to observation of nature is based on Goethe’s philosophy of phenomenology.


Variation 1:

  1. Organise the objects neatly on a piece of cloth or paper on the table.
  2. Ask each person to pick one and introduce themselves, for example as follows (sample script):
    - Choose one object that you feel connected to;
    - Express what you like about it in one sentence;
    - State in one word the way you’re feeling now;
    - Finally, string the object on the thread / or place it in the circle.
  3. After everybody has introduced themselves, as a final remark you may want to stress that the circle of objects represents the diversity of people in the group, and that everyone is involved in co-creating and experimenting together.

Variation 2:

  1. Start with a natural object in the centre of the table and share the following instructions (sample script):
    - One by one, take this object in your hands;
    - Say your name while you engage with the object using your five senses: observe it, feel it, smell it;
    - Describe only one characteristic of the object to others;
    - Then pass it on to the next person.
  2. As a final summary, ask participants to notice the amazing diversity of descriptions of a single object or the commonalities that emerged. Invite them to add other observations about the experience.
Place on U
5-10 mins
Materials Needed
Metaphorical Thinking
Care & Empathy
Sense of Place
Tip and Experiences

Some people may resist the idea of being instantly part of the group and feel uncomfortable participating. As an option, you can ask them to observe the process and give some impressions of it.

Relevant References & Resources

Rafaeli & Vilnai-Yavetz (2004). Emotion as a Connection of Physical Artifacts and Organizations.

Goethean Phenomenology, as developed by Rudolf Steiner: http://www.waldorflibrary.org/articles/597-what-is- phenomenology

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