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Design Studio 01.02 - Roles of Personal & Collective Storytelling

Narrative & Storytelling - Design Studio Sessions

This class started with an introduction to storytelling from our teacher (and third lead of the MDEF programme), Laura Benitez.

I will admit that while these classes are fascinating and mind-bending, I am still slowly coming to grips with a lot of what Laura is teaching. I’m still trying to understand a lot of stuff, but every time, a little bit more of the muddy water becomes clear.

This session focused on the nature of storytelling and the power that personal and collective stories can have.

we focused on using the making of string figures as a tool for this type of storytelling. It can be seen as an in-between place or stage between personal and collective storytelling.

we then took part in a 10-minute workshop where we had to create a personal narrative weaved from a figure we had in mind. this figure could be real or not real just because it brought us here.

  • That got me thinking about language and how language has always formed one of the most important forms of communication in all the places I’ve lived in the world.
  • the other was a ring my dad gave to me on my 18th birthday, and it has stayed with me ever since, it keeps me connected to my family no matter where I am and has become a part of my identity.

Following on from that, amongst our class as a collective, we began to share stories about what connected us all to each other on this course and brought us together. Passing red string between ourselves directly to the one who was speaking, we formed a rough and ready string figure that stretched with all sorts of connections between our classmates.

Off of the back of this exercise, we had to write our own collective narrative as a group, telling the story of our class and what brought us here, but without using possessives such as I, we, our, yours, mine, etc. (it definitely makes this a little more difficult and the resulting story definitely is a trip into a collective mind). Luckily, one of our classmates took an audio recording of sharing our stories. From there, we were able to start our narrative with a point of direction, and we ended up writing in sections where we each wrote a section that follows the previous. It’s sort of like certain styles of improv comedy.

It was a weird exercise but still very cool and strange to take part in an exercise like this. I think I can slowly understand what Laura meant by a collective narrative.

You can read and try to make sense of our collective narrative here. πŸ‘‡

Collective Narrative


If you’ve found this article interesting in any way, or think there is anything else I should add, please leave a comment down below! πŸ‘‡ Feedback is always appreciated! πŸ˜ƒ