Example 3: Storytelling café on diverse topics
Setting & target group
In Prague, the volunteers of Letokruh have known each other for several years, but thanks to the Dreamlike Neighbourhood they have strengthened their community and came together for new joint activities. Inter alia, the project has brought a new format, the so-called torytelling café: older people met in the clubhouse to tell stories from their youth.
Letokruh realised the first storytelling café as an official start of the neighbourhood group within the Dreamlike Neighbourhood project. The aim was to break the ice and encourage participants to communicate in the most natural way possible. Participants were asked to bring childhood photos and present the stories behind them.
The emotions and memories associated with the photos naturally connected the older people, broke down initial barriers and promoted communication. The fact that one of the volunteers took on the role of a moderator supported the lively exchange.
Due to their great success, the storytelling cafés were held regularly on diverse topics: Together, for instance, participants “travelled” to different parts of the world and shared memories of travelling during the communist era. At that time, it was only possible to travel abroad to a very limited extent. However, if someone managed to do it anyway, it was usually connected with exciting stories and experiences. The exchange about these experiences was very entertaining.
Before Christmas, participants prepared a meeting about childhood traditions. The group shared memories of e. g. traditional meals on Christmas Eve, biscuit recipes, Christmas carols and favourite Christmas gifts.
Apart from these storytelling cafés, every now and then participants met just for the sake of meeting, without any special topic. They called these meetings “chats”. The participants themselves made an appointment, everyone could participate without registering in advance and the topic for the “chat” emerged spontaneously. These self-organised informal chats contributed to the self-confidence of the group.
Storytelling cafés are a nice ice-breaker and establish new and deeper connections between people.
Photo © Letokruh