Monday 28 January 2013

The Power of Story

Reflecting on last week's launch of Unpacking Your Chair (cohort 2) Gerry Docherty commented on the power of simply giving people the space and time to tell their story.

That was indeed powerful: listening to the participants, one at a time, reflecting on their journey so far, their learning from that, and their thoughts on what was important for the future, was a fascinating experience.  Some common themes emerged, but also a rich mix of quite individual, unique experiences and perspectives.

That was enabled both by participants' readiness to share quite openly, and also by the careful (and deliberately minimal) structure and guidance which we provided in setting that session up.

As a result, each person's story about what it means to be a professor is enhanced; they are also beginning to form a story of themselves as a cohort, and we hope they will develop both of those stories fruitfully through the programme.  Certainly last year's cohort emerged with rich and powerful stories of the future to which, individually and collectively, they aspired; and these are grounded in positive and sophisticated stories of who they are and the road they have travelled so far.

This, of course, is the kind of process which I am exploring in my slowly-evolving book. It is (I say somewhat hesitantly) finally taking shape - in that I am well on the way to finishing the first draft.  But don't hold your breath...

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