This is an exercise that can be used to develop creativity and imagination to explore what helps us to cope with difficulties and obstacles, reflect on strategies we choose, and initiate change. It is inspired by Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey story model — “the universal quest for self-transformation. The journey of the hero is about the courage to seek the depths; the image of creative rebirth; the internal cycle of change within us; the uncanny discovery that the seeker is the mystery which the seeker seeks to know.” (Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work, 1990). It outlines an adventure, a transformative experience, a journey that will determine change, learning and experience. This technique could be used as a transformative storytelling exercise or as a creative method to encourage reflection on a learning experience, programme or event.
Ask each person to pick 7 random image cards. Explain that each card should inspire a part of the story that participants are going to create - the visual and content elements from the cards should somehow be reflected in the story. Write on the flipchart what each of the cards will represent and then ask each person to put the cards in the sequence of their choice.
The first card represents them as the main hero of their story, while the second card represents the mission of this hero. Ask the participants to start to write their story by introducing and briefly describing the main character and what this character wants or wanted to achieve.
The third card represents what helps the hero to achieve their dreams, goals or mission, while the fourth card represents the difficulties that the hero faces.
The fifth card represents how these difficulties are overcome, who helps on the way. Ask the participants to continue their stories, inspiring from what is visible on the cards.
The sixth card represents how the story ends, while the seventh card represents the treasure that the hero discovered on their journey. The treasure that the hero is taking back home with them.
Ask participants to find an ending of their story and write it down. When the stories are finished, give space for those who want to read or perform their stories to the rest of the group. Conclude the activity by debriefing and reflecting on what meaning the journey for the hero.
Priedite I., (2019) Embodied change. Toolkit for facilitators. https://www.salto-youth.net/tools/toolbox/tool/embodied-change.2688/
It is an exercise that is performed individually, hence it can be realised with people of different ages.