In the Spring, when I was invited to share my life story work with fellow practitioners, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try out some new techniques. Rather than doing a straightforward powerpoint style workshop I decided to adapt the round-table techniques I’ve been using with my current life story group of learning disabled adults. And I was delighted when Hilary, one of the group, agreed to support me for the day.
Hilary preparing on the train
The programme for the day incorporated all the elements of the year-long course compressed in to bite size pieces. We agreed a contract, shared photos, practiced interviewing each other, used a range of useful equipment and thought about presentation and ownership.
Following a pattern and structure that was familiar to Hilary allowed her to participate and support with confidence. She particularly enjoyed sharing her completed life story book and DVD.
Hilary showing her life story book
At the end of the workshop I asked the group to tell me how they felt life story work could contribute and inform individual budgets and activity choice. It was agreed that life story work is generally beneficial to self identity and confidence, helps define preferences, is about deep listening and noticing, supports transitions to new places and people and, perhaps most important of all, opens up channels of communication.