Storytelling Toolkit: Methods using Objects

Presenter(s): Sophie Woodward


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A toolkit to support organisations who want to foster positive connections and conversations in their groups and communities. The activities encourage people to share stories, and to do this we use different objects to prompt people to talk about memories and experiences.

Activity 1 – Collect and Connect

Video introduces ways in which you can gather objects for future events. It introduces places and routes into sourcing objects (that are cost effective) as well as an activity that gets people thinking about what would be good objects to bring along and source themselves, or inspiration for you as to what objects would be good to use. Download this activity's work sheet (PDF).



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Activity 2 – Object Story Exchange

This is a good introductory activity if you are new to object-based methods, or for a new group. It is a chance to get people thinking and reflecting upon how objects are a good route for stories as well as to connect with other people. There are different options for how you do this which you are introduced to and can tailor to your groups’ needs. Download this activity's work sheet (PDF).



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Activity 3 – Show and tell

This activity is based upon having a table of objects on display which people can look through and choose which objects sparks memories, or associations for them. This works best with slightly more established groups as you need volunteers to start the session with their own reflections, which can then be the basis for sharing and wider group discussion and reflections. Download this activity's work sheet (PDF).



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Activity 4 – Something shared

This activity is a more focused object-based activity where you choose a theme to centre the stories on. These themes can eb generated by your group or you can choose one and can really be tailored to your specific group as well as the aims you might have in forming or running a group. Download this activity's work sheet (PDF).



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Activity 5 – Creative Carousel

A range of possible activities that you can do based upon a display of a range of objects. This involves lateral and creative ways of approaching objects and can work well either as a fun icebreaker for a new group or for a more established group where this is trust and confidence to be more open to new ways of thinking. Download this activity's work sheet (PDF).



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Storytelling Toolkit booklet PDF

Download the booklet here.


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About the author

Sophie Woodward is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester. Her research focuses on material culture, everyday life and consumption using a range of creative research methods. Professor Woodward is also a Co-Investigator at NCRM.

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