Chennai Storytelling Festival
Storytelling-related Workshop on
"Imaginative Communities"Sat 18th Feb, 10:30am - Noon (90 minutes)
Facilitators: Eric the storyteller and Imran the writer who emphatically say never to lose hope
General Introduction (5 minutes)
This workshop is going to be about communities. So we will be asking and accepting questions along those lines.
The mantra for this workshop is to encourage people to think as imaginatively about communities as possible. Hence, keep thinking what behaviours and action will improve communities.
NOTA BENE: Read Questions Together
- What is a community?
A social unit of people with commonalities like place, custom, values, identity etc
- What are some purposes of communities?
Support for each other, share skills and resources and achieve the goals of the group.
- What are some advantages of communities?
Vital social connection, sense of belonging, boost physical and mental health, never feel alone. Assured of safety and well-being.
- What makes a community great?
When it can give back to the larger sociey more than it takes. When it truly empowers its people. When it conducts itself with the utmost integrity.
- What makes a community unsatisfying?
When there is lack of agreement and understanding and unhealthy power struggles and structures. Also discrimination, economic disparity etc.
- Is a community one we are born into or is it of choice.
For example Religious communities are ones we are born into.
NOTA BENE: Pause for people to think, and take responses, twice.
Facilitators' Request: Anytime during the workshop, if you would send in a single word, I Imran would be honoured to stitch them all into a poem to commemorate the event. Just say: "for Poem: [word]"
Having said this, let me read out a poem I wrote with Eric last week.
"I don't care" is oft heard but upsets a body so.
"Don't bother me" hurts me and is another heartfelt NO.
"I'm too busy to help you, so find someone who does care",
"Leave me alone", you say and just give me a blank stare!
Cooperation is the bedrock of communities so be friends please,
Sharing both labour and refreshment as we journey the seas,
Team-work is learnt fastest on ships where it's sink or swim,
Togetherness can mend a broken heart so do not be grim!
Love and Kindness will help a body go far to win people over,
And nowhere are we more godly than in caring for each other
Wake up humanity there's much to do after we conquer our ego.
I wonder after leaving our pettiness aside where all we'll go.
1 Welcome and Tone-setting
- In this workshop, we are going to ask you to suggest examples of heroes to imitate (in real life or fiction), to look up to, to be inspired by, all regarding creating, nurturing, developing and linking of communities.
- We are going to invite you to think about ways individuals and communities and cross-sections of communities can change and grow together, including those that you belong to, know about, and also can imagine.
- This will involve these community members showing compassion to each other, and between communities, all with various communities co-existing harmoniously.
- We would also discuss things communities can do, and ways community members can build a better tomorrow.
2 Hoped-for Outcomes include
- Planning ways to take action to bring thoughts into reality.
- Taking spontaneous action to bring thoughts into reality in small and large groups.
- Exploring ways to direct, inspire, and guide others to take action (in a timely manner).
- Explorng ways to chastise those who do not act constructively regarding community, and those who act destructively.
- Working with members of other communities, and continued dialogue with them.
- Can the communities we choose to belong to, heal and strengthen us enough to go back and transform those we left out of disillusionment?
Round 1: Present and Past Communities
With a focus on those we do belong to and those we do not belong to.
Round 1a: Examples (5 minutes)
1 Examples of dis-harmonious (discordant) action.
- Differences of belief causes community members to shun / be against one another.
- Exploitation of shared resources and people of lesser stature / power.
- Economic Disparity giving way to bad treatment and suppression.
2 Examples of loving-inspired action.
- An inspired leader who dedicates all his time to his community's upliftment.
- A few old-timers in the community going out of their way to make a new joinee feel welcome.
- Supporting the family of a community member who has a critical illness or has just passed away.
Round 1b: Individual Writing (5 minutes)
Please consider and write about the following
- List communities one belongs to.
- List communities that you see / know of but do not belong to.
- Think of what could be going wrong within them
- Think of what they are doing right.
- Please ponder why all of these communities are not always in harmony.
Round 1c: Going into Breakout Rooms, 1st time (10 minutes)
Things to discuss in Breakout Rooms
- What are the limitations of the communities you belong to, and what would make them change for the better.
- Living People, and their social movements (causes / communities).
- What are some places that systems fail? Personally, professionally, and socially.
- Ways people do not learn from history.
- Ways people can learn from history.
- What perspectives have changed after the workshop thus far and the writing exercises
Round 1d: Return to Main Room, 1 (5 minutes)
Round 2: Communities we'd like to create or improve (Future)
[Let's hear from Eric?]
Round 2a: Topics, Individual Writing, 2 (5 minutes)
Please consider and write about the following
- What new communities would we lend our support to? Why
- How could existing one's learn from them (assuming the new formed one's are better).
- Can groups of communities with a new way of working and interacting help cross pollinate the ones we do belong to.
- In the grand scheme of Mother Nature's plans, what new communities would we form?
Round 2b: Going into Breakout Rooms, 2 (10 minutes)
- What would constitute your ideal community>
- Is there a community you would start / an existing one you would transform?
- Think of an example where multiple communities are working together.
Round 2d: Return to Main Room, 2 (5 minutes)
Discussion. Sharing. (from the Breakout Rooms)
Would those in / planning to start communities consider writing to us so we can continue the discussion? firstname.lastname@example.org
Few takeaways - would the participants care to comment on.
- What behaviours and actions will improve communities (our mantra)
VOTE OF THANKS
- Dr Eric Miller for mentoring me through this, my first workshop.
- My family - for helping shape me and continuing to encourage me, and to similar degree the friends who love me unconditionally.
- The master authors who have taught me all I know through story and those few patient and loving teachers through conversation.
- Robert Govers, co-founder of the Good Country Index who wrote this book: Imaginative Communities
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