Sophie: Day two was all about interacting with others. The hoodie roleplay opened up a discussion about how we interpret and respond to differences in our society. After talking about bias, stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination, we had a closer look at the stereotypes that we witness in the world around us. It was clear that everyone in the group had been stereotyped before, be it on the basis of race, culture, gender, religion or appearance. Seeing the wide range of assumptions that are made about our group alone showed that all kinds of judgment are not only harmful, but is also very common.
Madz: Being the hoodie wearer was very illuminating; first, I never thought Nyayoud would be my mother, or Sandeep my grandfather! Secondly, as a white person, I’ve never been discriminated for my skin colour or what I wear. So to enter a physical role-play as opposed to a theoretical discussion gave me a deeper perspective on this experience that so many people are impacted by in our society. I recently watched this great interview with Akala, which is worth a watch if you’d like to hear someone really articulate this blind-spot.
Sophie: The diversity of perspectives in the room became particularly apparent during the ‘Outsider Witness’ activity. We took on roles that shaped how we listened to each other’s stories. We learnt that showing empathy takes work, but the connections it can help us to build are rewarding for everyone involved.
Sandeep: I was talking about empathy (of the heart), empathy (of the head) and compassion, and I noticed there were a few engaged nods, a few sleepy nods and a few people who got the idea but needed to experience it. Outside Witness felt so powerful; the stories we told and listened to challenged us, and made us really feel some part of what the storyteller was feeling.
As a storyteller who played the outsider witness and received no reflections or empathy, it’s such a contrast compared to when someone is actively listening to you with empathy. Everyone struggles and has moments that define them, and connecting to those moments lets us see ourselves better and lets us see how much we have in common with someone else, even if we’ve never met them before. Thanks for being so open with your stories.
Nyayoud: I thought I knew some music, but this group had some sick selections while we were having lunch, eating a mountain of Nandos. There was a really chill vibe going on in the afternoon, leading into the Perspectives Puzzle activity. I think some people were kinda confused at the start, but that’s pretty normal when you meet someone with a different perspective, or when you don’t have all the info you need to understand something. But you guys put things together pretty fast.
Sandeep: We finished the day with a string debrief. I was so happy to see other people sharing their reflections about what they noticed about other people. Remembering that moment reminds me of two thing: I love the squishy colourful feeling of a ball of yarn, and a positive compliment is a free piece of happiness you can pass on to someone else at any time. We don’t always remember to do this, but when you do it you can really make someone’s day. As we wrapped up, there were so many palpable connections in the room, and I was excited about building on those to focus on our communities on Day 3.
Continue on to read about Day 3