Theme G & M
Our lives are shaped by experience. However
we are marked by some experiences or events more than by
others. This activity compares the experiences and explores
the diversity and similarities within the group.
• Life stories
• Cultural diversity
• Things that influence participants'
lives related to their country, culture, religion or family.
• To raise curiosity and empathy
about the other participants' cultures
• To generate a critical approach
to our own history
• To create awareness of the
diversity of European history
• To help participants to know
each other better.
• A calendar on a board or large
sheet of paper. It should be marked off in years and start
at the year of birth of the oldest participant and end at
• Felt-tip pen
- 1 hour
Group size: Any
1. Ask each participant to think about 3
'public' events that have marked their lives and then ask
them to write their name against the year in which the events
occurred. The events may be related to politics, history,
sports, music etc.
2. Then ask people to say why those dates
are important, what they stand for and why they have chosen
Discussion and debriefing
Invite participants to say if they were
surprised or shocked by any of the dates or events and whether
were they familiar with all of them.
It also may be interesting to discuss how
and why we attach importance to some events rather than
Tips for the facilitator
This activity works with any group and is
also a very good starter on a residential.
If you are working with a local group this
activity helps participants realise that, even though they
may live in the same street, people often attach different
degrees of importance to the same events. It may also be
interesting to notice that some particular event has marked
a majority of the participants regardless of their origin
or educational background - we are "all equal".
In a multi-cultural group, the activity
is useful to raise curiosity about our recent past and cultural
influences and, to encourage people to have greater respect
each other's beliefs and convictions.
The calendar can be made more colourful
or lively if participants add a picture (a Polaroid picture
will do very well) or a drawing of themselves against their
In a seminar, training course or residential
pin the calendar up where it can stay for the whole duration
and be referred to at different times.
This activity follows on well from 'My
Suggestions for follow up
We are shaped not only by where we live
and by events, but also by our families and their history.
How much do you know about where your parents and grandparents
came from? You may feel yourself to be Hungarian or Spanish
- or whatever - but you may be quite a mixture of nationalities.
Find out more using 'Tree of Life'.
If the group would like to think more about
the social, economic and environmental factors that that
shape us, then they may like to do the board game, "A
tale of two cities" in Compass.