Identity parts

From Community Narrations

Aims of the activity

- Identify and reflect on various groups, personalities, traits and others, people feel like they belong to.
- Understanding the multiplicity and multifacetedness of identity

Resources, Materials needed

- Worksheets.
- Pens or markers.

Duration in minutes

About 45 minutes.

Step-by-step - what has to be done

1. The facilitator gives each participant a worksheet with a circle that’s divided into five equal parts and then asks the participants to write in each part an identity or part of an identity they feel that they belong to. In the following it is important not to give any examples of identity parts, because this has a big influence on what the participants will write down. For instance, the facilitator can say :
"Everyone has different sides, feels they belong to different groups. There are five boxes on your sheet. I am now going to ask you to write down in each box one of these "sides" or groups that you feel you belong to. Some things may be easy to grasp. You can also describe other parts of your identity in several words if it helps you. You do not have to show or tell anyone the words you write on this sheet. You now have 5 minutes to decide on 5 identity parts."
2. After 5 minutes the facilitator asks the participants to mark one of the 5 fields as the most important one for themselves. After they made their choice, they pair up and talk with their partner for 10-15 minutes, whether the choice was easy or difficult for them. There is any obligation for participants to show their notes to their partner or not.
3. At the end of this pair discussion phase, the facilitator explains the next steps:
"Please sit back in the circle of chairs now. I am now going to read you different categories. If an identity characteristic matches with some of these category, you will stand up and stop for a moment. During the exercise, I ask you not to speak. Then I will ask if that characteristic was the most important identity characteristic for someone. Everyone for whom it was remains standing, everyone else sits down. Then I will say "Thank you". Those who remain will also sit down and I will move on to the next category. It is quite possible that you will stand up several times because of a field, a word, a "piece of identity" or a group membership. There is no right or wrong. You don't have to ask or explain anything: you determine for yourself whether or not what you've written down fits into a particular category or not.
4. The faclitator says : "Those for whom this identity share was particularly important, stop", wait, "Thank you".
5. The facilitator reads aloud categories : religion, ethnic or national origin, gender, sexual orientation, occupation (parents' occupation), age, social status, hobby/ free time/ activity, family, friends, school/ university/ former connections in this context, voluntary activities, political persuasion, neighborhood/ place of residence, language, music and others arts, health/ fitness/ sports/ eating habits and physical appearance.
6. Then, the facilitator ask participants if they have written down an identity component that does not fit into any of the above categories. If so, try to find a general category for it.
7. Ask the participants whether there is an identity component that did not fit into any of the above categories. If yes: Try to find a general overarching category for it.
8. Ask the reflection questions for afterwards : « Would anyone like to say something about how she/he felt about the exercise? »
If a conversation does not arise independently, please use these questions :
- Did you have images/projections of the other people?
- How was it to stand up alone? Or to stay standing?

Learning Outcomes - which skills are adressed?

- Reflexivity
- Self-Reflection skills

How do you check the outcomes are reached?

- Make sure that all participants can clearly understand what the exercise is all about. Where it isn’t, further illustrations or examples should be described.
- All participants are attentive to the characteristics that are given by the facilitators and stand up/sit down.
- Make sure that all participants are involved in the discussion stages.