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Unmastering the Story of Change

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Event description

Workshop: Unmastering the Story of Change

Facilitator: Christy Dena

Festival: School Revolt Festival '22!, Anarchist Pedagogies Network

Date & Time: Saturday 5th March 2022 @ 9am CET

Which is: 8am London / 9am Berlin / 1.30pm India / 4pm Beijing / 7pm Melb / 9pm Auckland [check everytimezone]

[Image Description: The event image is the School Revolt! banner with some photos of kids, and the anarchist pedagogies logo which multiple hands holding each other]

Acknowledgement of Country

This course was designed on/with unceded Bunurong Country of the Kulin Nation in the land currently known as Australia. I pay my respects to Elders past and present. Treaty Yeh Treaty Now.

Workshop Description

Change is a key part of story design and pedagogical design, and our everyday. At present, though, the current story many of us tell ourselves is that change is forced. A protagonist is forced to change because an inciting incident imposed change on them; a student is forced to change to a teacher’s learning objectives and assessments; a person is forced to conform to the dominant culture through social learning, rules, policies, and laws. But no-one is a master of your change, and you don’t master change in others.

This session juxtaposes the norms of change in story (and game) design with how we commonly experience change in education and our everyday; and shows other ways to enable willful and joyous change with our characters, co-learners, and communities. 

To do this, we’ll begin with some online accessible preparation material to frame the aspects of change we’ll explore. These include assumptions around how change begins, who is meant to change and who apparently gets to change others, what is supposed to change, and how change is developed. 

Then we’ll meet online for a guided discussion to help unlearn the norms of change, and develop different ways of thinking and action that don’t involve masters. I'll share approaches and techniques I use in my stories and education environments, you can share yours, and we'll generate more from the discussion.

Who is this workshop for? 

Usually one lists the kinds of interests and levels of experience that may apply, but not this time. Instead, you decide if this is for you

I've learnt not to decide who my ideas are for. It doesn't matter if you see yourself as teacher/educator, storyteller, or not. It doesn't matter if you're familiar with this topic or not, or aim to apply the ideas in the same ways as me. I've been surprised by people who I thought wouldn't be interested, and vice versa. 

The room is better with a great mix of people, plants, and pets!

To help with your decision, though, I'll share where I'm coming from. I'll be weaving in my perspective as a writer, game designer, researcher, and teacher. I've been making creative projects for over 30 years (theatre, film, TV, live experiences, games, installations). I've been designing and running workshops, events, residentials, and labs around the world. Now I'm also working part-time as a professor in cross-media and interactive narrative at the norwegian film school. There I supervise/work with artistic fellows, and facilitate pedagogical learning with faculty and fellows. I just finished writing a book on this topic of the story of change we tell through our designs (currently editing). In the last few years I've come to better understand how all aspects of my life - creative, education, personal - are part of my activist work of bringing about a different world in the present. 

Learning Outcomes

Your learning is your own. I don't define what you will learn. My ideas, and those of the community in the 'room', will either meet your own learning work or not. To facilitate potential co-learning, you will be invited to optionally:

  • Read/listen/watch and reflect on the issues around current change norms and why they may matter to you, and others
  • Engage in a supportive workshop community
  • Recognise and discuss your responses to the counterintutive norms of change
  • Collectively develop and contrast liberatory change approaches important to you
  • Share challenges and opportunities for willful change in your life work

  • Optional online, asynchronous pre-reading/watching/listening (20mins, sent about a week before)
  • Online synchronous Zoom session (2hrs, including short breaks)
  • Follow up optional survey (a few days after)

  • The preparation material will be available at least a week before. It will be able to be watched, listened to, and/or read.
  • All visuals in the preparation material, and during the workshop, will be audio described. 
  • All preparation material and the workshop discussion will be in English, with written format provided to aid with your own translation.
  • The workshop will be held via Zoom, and the phone-in options will be sent too. 
  • Participants can choose whether to have their video on, and whether they want to speak, or engage with chat, if at all. 
  • We will have regular short breaks during the workshop, for everyone including myself. I have a chronic illness, and so need rest and refresh. And learning and being together includes rest and reflection. 
  • We will check for any ongoing and new access needs during the workshop too. 

You are welcome to email to request or discuss any access needs, or any other thoughts!

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