Viv reviews Letters Left Unsent, the reflections of a humanitarian aid worker. It sounds fascinating, peeling back our surface stereotypes to reveal the rich, messy complexity of the real world. Viv talks about how easily we fall into assumptions about other people’s lives are like; assumptions that strip out much of the truth and energy.
She tells a great story of how she explored a group’s stereotypes of what Dutch people are like, and then using play and performance to bring out deeper truths.
Getting into this takes time and often feels like a diversion from what we might think is the real work. People default to workaholic notions of what meetings should achieve; they should be efficient, follow an agenda, achieve set outcomes… but all of these pressures tend to keep us locked in stereotypes and assumptions.
Choosing to disrupt this can be risky. Proposing a playful approach, or suggesting a reflective walk, will sound crazy to some participants. Surely that would be a waste of time? I increasingly find the opposite is the case; the more disruptive approaches can dislodge fixed ideas that are really holding us all back.