Discovering Your Story (planning Narratives of Care workshop at LOTE5)

Have you ever answered a question like “What are you working on?” or “So, who do you work with?” with “Well, uhm, it’s complicated”? Then, this workshop is for you.

Are you profoundly empathetic, an amazing out-of-the-box thinker or a deep analytical thinker?

Then, this workshop needs you.

A. What's going to happen?

As part of the Storytelling Workshop: Narratives of care 2016, @Thomas Goorden will be leading an experiential and intensive workshop loosely based on Joe Edelman’s “Hyperactive Listening” format.

You can participate as either “Story” or as “Storyteller”:


Your “story” will become the center of an investigative group exercise. The messier your “story”, the better the workshop will be. Perhaps you are working on a project, but aren’t really sure what it is or have difficulty explaining it to people? Perhaps you are stuck in some kind of dilemma or conflict that you find difficult to get past? Perfect! We will take a significant amount of time to figure out what is going on and help you get on your way (again).

The outcome of the workshop (for you) will be text, diagrams, video and pictures that you can use to explain your story when those questions come up once more.

What kind of story? any story, but reflect on how it ties to health/social care+ technology +communities


A good storyteller is in the first place someone who can listen to someone’s story (even if it is your own). You’ll then get to ask questions, investigate, analyze, try to distil the essence of a story, receive feedback and start from the beginning again. Until we get it “right”.

You’ll learn and practice all sorts of skills valuable for telling your own stories when they need it. And of course you will discover all sorts of projects other people are working on. But mostly, you will have the deep satisfaction of having been able to help someone.

B. Participants Registration

Please follow the instructions on the event page: Storytelling Workshop.

C. What else?

We will practice some experimental identity/co-counseling methods in between story sessions. The goal here is to see if you can discover new, profound truths about your own story.

You will also be invited to provide feedback on the workshops methods themselves. Since they are quite new and/or relatively unknown, we welcome improvements and commentary.

Your output from the workshop: a professional kit 

At the end of the day, we will have fleshed out together a number of strong narratives on care. In this case, this means engaging stories that participants can showcase later on to build support for their project. The person behind the “story” will gain:

  • a hi-resolution photograph 
  • text and diagrams illustrating the story
  • a short video recording 

For the video, we will add a “scribe” and a “confessional” (video) booth. Only one participant can really be the focus during a certain period (I’d say min 30 minutes), so it restricts how many projects could be “processed”. However, that also means people can participate without being the “focus”,  by being simply storytellers.


All material produced, including notes from the session… will be published under a creative commons license on  (we’ll need a signed release form from each participant at beginning of workshop)

What should you bring along?

Ideally, a laptop per story, so we can start writing them down straight away and maybe publish by the end of the day some of them. (Natalia)

facilitators, add here, please. (DSLR cameras, special clothing etc)

Want to help organize this event and join a global team?

  • Help translate the application from into French and Dutch, and update the FB and ER event pages with a more detailed breakdown of the session + get invitation to  activists and others doing relevant work.
  • Help with the participants communication: only participants who have filled in the form by 23/2/2016 can join us. 
  • Send out two email reminders with what participants need to send us in advance and what they need to bring with them (nice clothes, makeup, laptops, cameras, digital files with logos etc etc)
  • Spread the word! 
  • Event on Edgeryders:
  • Event on fb: 


There you go

Hi @Nadia, @KiraVde, @Noemi, @Natalia_Skoczylas,@Irene and @SamMuirhead. As discussed via email, I’m hereby shifting the conversation to this wiki page.


Better said, we need this, I think. @ireinga can we propose antiheroes as a story?

Thomas in case you’d like to practice in advance, I got the time and the urgent desire for a better sense of identity.

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Of course!

Oh @KiraVde, you never cease to amaze me laugh

I’m pretty sure anybody who feel they need it, is the perfect candidate. I think @Nadia wants to see enough projects that have something to do with “care”, but I’m not sure if I need to be screening for that.

As for the identity question: what I want to - sneakily - do, is something based on “Enlightenment Intensive”. You can find it on Wikipedia, an entirely too elaborate handbook can be found here. Note that I’ll be heavily butchering the original technique, the point is that I think it could produce some interesting insights quite quickly. I’d definitely be up for trying it out, however I do think it’s important to have a small group to be able to rotate the “dyads”. The things I want to mess with are the koans themselves (I’m thinking of a card deck to manipulate frequency and focusing on specific storytelling-oriented koans) and the timing (it’s currently locked at 5 minutes, but I suspect a more “natural” flow is possible).

Anyhow… If we can get a little gang together, we could try this? (Half a day, about 8-10 ppl, somewhere in Brussels? Send out invites to ppl we think would be up for this?)

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Ahah I’m the target group

And up for using antiheroes as a story :slight_smile:

Plus I need a new high definition pic so extra motivation.

When will this WS happen? On Sunday 28th?

Hey @Thomas_Goorden, as I am expected to co-facilitate this with you, and the outcome of my session is to get some stories written and published on the platform (related to health care), and as it looks like quite a developed session idea, where do I fit in? I imagine I could work with the stories and help people write down and organise their projects/concepts around the topic, and work as a … storyteller for them, right?

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Hello @Natalia_Skoczylas, so this is what I was trying to hint at. The organising team asked me to pick up this session and so I proposed this, not quite aware of any other initiatives or expectations. However, if you are up for it, I could definitely use help!

Helping out as a storyteller seems like an easy way to join. If you want to add a bit more to the package, I think the main concern is to have as many usable artefacts (text, video, etc) at the end of the ride. I could definitely use help in encouraging people to write down/record good ideas, as well as helping to collect them.

In particular, we might need someone to semi-permanently man the “confessional booth”, which would essentially be a static video recording setup where they can record a “confession” video about their project. I’m thinking of having someone there with a list of questions to ask in more or less a ritualised way. (The list of questions+ritual is part of the prep-work that still needs to be done.)

Most of the supporting work is precisely that: supply prompts and somehow capture the results.

As for the warm-up/in-between exercise, it might be a good idea to try it out a bit more before LOTE5, so I might want to bring together a group of people in Brussels in the coming weeks…

Why email sucks

Hi @Thomas_Goorden and @Natalia_Skoczylas:

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Hey @Thomas_Goorden, perfect, this exactly suits my mission - I was asked to integrate elements of a workshop that we conducted in Nepal some months ago, where the outcome was written stories - and to replicate this idea in that particular workshop. I will be searching for a few good stories related to health care and what I will do is discussing with people with different related stories, helping them ask questions, answer, see different angles of their stories and finally put it all into words and publish on this very platform. A diversity of outcomes is even better - if we have videos, photo collages, or drawings published here as well, this would make a beautiful interesting result.

we need to decide how the confession booth will work - I don’t think we need a dedicated person there, rather both of us (or whoever else will help us lead this workshop). So we tell the people there is this thing as well, and if they feel like having answers recorded, please come and ask one of us, and we will help.

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Use me

:slight_smile: I’ll be around all day, but my role is to help you guys. So just boss me around/let me know what you need and I’ll help.

About the walk, it’s tricky and let’s decide the day before - if the weather sucks, which is not unlikely in Brussels, no point to add it. We can move to a nice caffee in the neighbourhood, but in my opinion this will mostly distract people. What we made sure about in the last workshop is that people have everything they need available (laptops, food, coffee, tables, sun, cables, nice people who help them with fleshing out the ideas) in the spot - so that they can really devote this time to thinking and writing. I am not sure if you agree and maybe it sounds even a bit extreme, but it worked for us.

Second thing - let’s imagine we have 20 people coming - 10 with stories and 10 as storytellers. Do you match a story with a storyteller or want the whole group to discuss each project?


OK, so the walk is actually a methodology in itself. I’ve done it plenty of times before and we don’t need a café, laptops or anything to do it. Usually people enjoy it even if there is a bit of (light) rain. If it gets really bad, ok, but it hardly ever happens that it rains continuously the whole day, even in Brussels :wink:

So, I would really like it if we can think of a nice, short(ish) itinerary. If possible it would be nice to go through a park, but it’s not required.

As for your second question: every group needs one “story” and multiple “storytellers” (about 4 to 6 is ideal). However, we won’t work the whole day on one story, so people will shift their role from story to storyteller. So, in the case of you example (20 people), we’d have 3 to 4 groups all the time and if we rotate every hour or so, I think in the end almost everyone can have “their” story discussed (3 groups x 6 iterations = 18 stories).

Not at all convinced about the walk

I would keep it in the venue as much as possible. More complexity = more things that can go wrong.

let’s think about it, but I am also afraid this adds too much - and it is already quite a crazy workshop, with a relatively new concept, potential of creating tons of stories, and if we really want everyone to get a chance to be listened to and actually produce something, even in these long 8 hours, in fact, we do not have that much time. I trust your experience, Tom, as a trainer, but we also want to make sure we actually do have high-quality results, if not ready, at least, ready to an extent that will not let people just abandon their idea - but with some help will lead to publishing them.

I will be in Brussels from 23rd of February and I am up for meeting and discussing it beforehand, anyway:)


I’m not even sure why I feel like I have to defend my suggestions. I’m quite confident in the methodologies and just know from experience that letting people stretch their legs is a good idea and know that a “guided walking conversation” (the method is a bit more involved, but that’s basically what it is) fits incredibly well with the techniques I’ve suggested so far. Granted, it’s hard to explain, so probably impossible to imagine, as most of this stuff is so experientally based. Therefor, I would very much prefer is we can keep this conversation for it’s original purpose (allowing people to step in and help and fine-tuning the text), rather than a lengthy round of impossible to “solve” feedback.

It’s a long day and that tells me we need some variation. Otherwise we risk having people do 6 x 1h rounds of the same methodology, which I don’t think will be so interesting and the later rounds will suffer for it.

Oh, Natalia, if you don’t mind, I prefer to go by “Thomas”.

Because collective intelligence

As a designer/art director used to running things according to the concept I imagine from start to end, it’s quite challenging having others poking into “my” work. I often find the “discussions” annoying when I just want to get on with something, and this is coming from someone who has been part of this since the beginning :))

It can feel like wearing your skin on the outside. But this is a key part of Edgeryders: honest feedback, poking holes into, and building on one another’s approaches. These exchanges are a big part of what makes everyone in the space learn together.

I’d like to express strong support for the proposed walking methodology. Even if weather is poor.

I know there’s this widespread idea that we need to tether people to laptops and optimally do…something. But I suspect that to be a failure mode in itself.

That and I like walks.


The venue is HUGE

My hesitation: people show up late by 3 mins and you get a lot of back and forth on mobile phones: “where are you guys?” “what? what? I can’t hear you…uh rue du whaa?” etc :slight_smile: But the venue itself is large enough that we can do a lot of moving around with minimal complexity if we have good signage. Up for helping with this?


I would join as a storyteller, but I don’t trust myself to be a reliable source since I joined every session proposed so far. I do want to help prepare it, so I added to your wiki the outputs - better said, artifacts people can leave with after the session. Did you do this before @Thomas_Goorden? If there are references on the web to what came out of sessions like these it would be great.

I admit I’m most excited by the videos! (an edgeryders collection for reference here).


Good questions @Noemi!

So yes, I’ve done it before, but more in the “original” form, which was based a lot more on improvisation techniques (essentially acting out certain scenes). I did experiment with e.g. diagramming and that worked really well. Overall, it is still experimental, so not many references online about “hyperactive listening” itself except the manual that Joe Edelman wrote. But essentially, I’m not following that, I’m completely remixing stuff, while retaining the core concept which is having one person/project/problem* at the centre and throwing a group + techniques at it.

There is some research that could be done: One would be to collect different sorts of diagrams that might be applicable (e.g. “business model canvas”, “SWAT analysis”, “generic mindmap”, etc etc). Another, very similar, task would be to collect text samples of different types that are used to describe projects/people. We could hang these up for reference and to give people ideas of what they could produce.

*: I like this. The 3 P’s of Hyperactive Listening, Person Project Problem.