Stage performances to connect: make taboos debatable! It may already...Read More
We love conflict! In recent years, we learned that you can steer a conflict in a completely different direction through stories. One that steers away from the two biggest sources of conflict: fear of the other and miscommunication. So how does storytelling help with this? You can read it here.
Fear of the other often leads to stories about the other taking over the story that you share with the other. By only talking about another (or another group), you tend to focus on the differences. Moreover the story quickly loses its nuance when it’s passed on as the story-sharers start using stereotypes.
The moment stories are shared with the other, in a situation where listening to each other is also central, the focus shifts to the similarities that we share as people, and authenticity replaces the stereotypes. These two dynamics are necessary to build bridges between individuals and groups of people and thus to start solving problems.
We have applied this a number of times in recent years, for example in bringing together elderly and young people in a district in Amsterdam North, but recently also in connecting young people, including LGBTQ + young people in the Balkans.
The fact that two groups talk to each other does not automatically mean that the communication will run smoothly. We often think and act from our own frame of mind, something we could popularly also call the filter bubble, and we forget that the perspective of the other is not necessarily the same.
This also applies to sharing stories. The narrator offers his or her images but it is the listener who makes the story in his or her head.
The moment both fighting parties are aware of their miscommunication, bridging is possible and solutions can be worked on. That is why we are currently working on developing resources and exercises that communicate this awareness in a playful way. Very often a storytelling project is just the little nudge that is needed to get things on the right track again.