I was invited by MEAD – Maine Environmental Artists and Designers to come up to visit and share with te group. I was interested in creating an interactive experience and learning model that would result in some tangible outcomes for the group. I proposed a one day workshop that led with storytelling and transformed into collaborative creative invention.
The morning started working in small groups on developing a story – a story that tells of a personal transformation in one’s life that helps to define who you are today. It might be a story of personal experience or a story of professional transformation. We identified triggers or moments that presented challenges or moved us emotionally and then the story of how we overcame the challenge and how that changed our lives.
Participants then had the option to share the stories with the whole group. The idea is that we begin as a disparate group (academics, artists, scientists, journalists, activists, administrators) and then through the personal transformation story we forge a connection and a deeper understanding of each other. These bonds allow us to speak more freely and collaborate in a deeper way – rather than jumping straight into a collaborative process. We begin to find things which we share or which have resonance with one another.
After hearing a little introduction on the topic of food access in the region, we went through a brainstorming process of noting what are challenges and resources that exist. From the list of challenges we chose (through a voting process) three which would be the prompts for creative interventions that we developed in the afternoon session.
The afternoon involved breaking into three groups to collaboratively co-create one or more creative interventions that responded to the challenge and utilized existing resources. The collective favorite was to use the public library as a space to house a community crockpot which would be checked out and used to bring together diverse groups to discuss food, food values and access to food. Thank you all in Belfast for a wonderful experience!