Meeting with a group for the first time is not an easy thing to do. It depends on the setting, the time and space, the people themselves and even the weather!
For us, it was clear from the beginning that the Future Narratives Local Working Group members would be enthusiastic to learn more about what we do and what the project is about. The online setting is not the best when it comes to bonding and sharing but, at least this time, all the group members were willing to turn on their cameras and contribute. It was nice to read their personal stories beforehand on the Future Narratives online space but it was even better to hear them talk about themselves, their interests and reasons for choosing to be part of this group.
We organised the first Future Narratives Lab online and divided it into two parts. During the first part, we introduced the project, its main aspects, the hows and whys behind connecting the futures with the narratives and stories. To better understand the connections between these aspects, we did the Generations Chain activity. In this activity, initially, you think about what your grandparents and your parents have lived and experienced, taking notes on key events that affected them, their hopes and fears they might have had. Then, you think about yourself and the key events that have affected your life in the present and how these are reflected in your hopes and fears. Lastly, you go into the future and think about what could affect the future generations, maybe your children. This is a great exercise to explore connections and differences between different generations.
In our lab, the group made comments on how they enjoyed the exercise and they agreed on how revealing it was in a sense that different people in different periods of time have different priorities, needs and aspirations. However, at the same time, some challenges and dreams seem to be relevant for all generations despite historical circumstances and events that take place.
For the second part of the lab we got into the world of storytelling. We asked the group to share their favorite children’s book and explain why that was their favorite. We made them travel in the past for a moment and compare their present interests. We urge them to think about how these books might have influenced the people they are today.
Then, we moved on to an actual storytelling group activity! The group was divided into three sub-groups and asked to create a story using a particular set of pictures. That was the very first time that the members of the group tried to collaborate with each other for a common goal. We reflect a bit on the storytelling process and how the group collaborated with their teams. They actually managed quite well despite the limited time!
To close the first lab, we assigned the group with the task to record a video of themselves sharing their expectations, their hopes and dreams for the project. That would be used also at the end of our activities, after two years, to reflect on what happened during those years and how their expectations have been met.
We cannot wait to see each other in November after the very first international activity in Seville, Spain!