We give the world meaning through the stories we tell, thus the ability to craft a narrative that invites empathy and facilitates ‘seeing with fresh eyes’ can be a powerful tool for supporting transformation.
The stories we tell are never neutral, and the way a case study is described significantly impacts the responses of the audience. For example, it can determine if people feel a personal sense of involvement and care, or if they are left as outside spectators. The metaphors we use, the information we include, and the information we leave out all contribute to conveying both overt and subtle worldviews. With this in mind, it is worth taking the time and attention to carefully craft a narrative that intentionally evokes specific (transformative) mindsets. In the cases presented in our experimental workshops, we focused on stories that evoke more-than-human empathy, on an expanded sense of time, and on the importance of sacred space in a community.
Depending on the context, storytelling can be used in different ways. In this example, we suggest that the participants actively listen to the story using all of their senses (smell, sound, taste, touch, visual images) and note down their intuitive associations and thoughts. Alternatively, various versions can be presented as new “transformative stories” and participants asked to reflect on the differences in their personal responses; or, participants can be asked to craft their own stories.
This method of storytelling can be used in conjunction with Contrasting Tweet & Text and Evoking the Senses.
The other side of storytelling is listening
See our post about Levels of Listening
“THERE’S THE STORY, THEN THERE’S THE REAL STORY, THEN THERE’S THE STORY OF HOW THE STORY CAME TO BE TOLD. THEN THERE’S WHAT YOU LEAVE OUT OF THE STORY. WHICH IS PART OF THE STORY TOO.”
MARGARET ATWOOD, MADDADDAM
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