More Than One Story is a unique and powerful card game which builds bridges between people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures. It is being used by schools, municipalities and organizations all over Sweden and has been spread in over twenty languages by our partners around the world.
You can now visit www.morethanonestory.org to play the game online or to have the deck of cards in your smart phone.
Under hösten 2011 visade SVT den nigerianska författarens Chimamanda Ngozi Adichies föreläsning om den fara som finns när människor bara hör endast en berättelse om ett folk, om ett land, om en grupp eller om en individ (The Danger of a Single Story).
Hon pratade om hur vi behöver flera berättelser om varandra för att undvika att fastna i segregation, fördomar och främlingsfientlighet. Dessa tankar har inspirerat oss på kultur- och fritidsförvaltningen i Simrishamn att utveckla en praktisk metod på hur vi kan arbeta aktivt för integration, förståelse, nyfikenhet och respekt mellan människor i olika åldrar och från olika bakgrund och kulturer.
Metod och syfte
Tillsammans med elever och andra medborgare i Simrishamn har utvecklade vi ett nytt kortspel som vi kallar More Than One Story (Mer än en berättelse). Första utgåvan var på svenska och engelska. Varje kort ger förslag på vad den ena spelaren kan berätta om sig själv för den andra eller de andra spelarna. Spelarna turas om att dra ett kort och övar sedan på att berätta om sig själva och att lyssna på när andra berättar sina historier.
Under utvecklingsarbetet spelade vi More Than One Story med elever, lärare och kuratorer på högstadieskolor och gymnasieskolor, med elever som besöker boende inom äldreomsorg, med ungdomar och personal på Ungdomens Hus, med personalen på biblioteket, med SFI-lärare och ensamkommande flyktingbarn på svenska lektioner, samt med blandade grupper i olika åldrar och från olika kulturer på LSS-caféet. Dessa testgrupper har bidrog med viktig rådgivning och deras spontana reflektioner övertygade oss att spelet uppnådde sitt syfte, att bygga broar mellan människor. Spelarna vittnade om hur de lärde känna klasskamrater eller arbetskamrater mer och kunde se varandra med nya ögon. Stämningen och samtalsklimatet som skapades av More Than One Story berörde många och uppmuntrade oss att bjuda in andra att vara med i projektet. Vårt mål var att More Than One Story skulle distribueras runt om i världen på olika språk så att många kunde få uppleva allt som spelet erbjuder.
Nio år senare har Kultur- och fritidsförvaltningen i Simrishamn och sina samarbetspartners runt om i världen tryckt och distribuerat fler än 70 000 kortlekar av More Than One Story till individer och organisationer på över 20 olika språk. Spelet används för att öka integration och kontakt mellan olika människor. Spelet presenteras och används på olika evenemang, festivaler och konferenser runt om i världen för ökad integration, förståelse och folkhälsa.
Det finns olika sätt att delta i projektet
Kommuner och organisationer kan köpa in kortspelet More Than One Story till sina verksamheter, personal, evenemang, konferenser eller även till försäljning som kan generera inkomster.
Individer kan bjuda in vänner, arbetskamerater och andra till att spela More Than One Story.
En sponsor kan välja att köpa in kortlekar som distribueras till sina egna kunder, konferensbesökare och personal eller även som en gåva till olika lokala skolor och verksamheter.
The Department of Culture and Leisure of Simrishamn, Sweden is using More Than One Story at local, regional and national events. We are also spreading the game to schools and organizations throughout Sweden, while coordinating our international network.
We train youth ambassadors who introduce the game at schools, events, conferences, youth centers, and homes for the elderly. Our ambassadors can also travel to help partner organizations introduce the game in their cities and countries.
Possibilities for sponsors
More Than One Story can be a powerful teambuilding tool for your employees. You can print your own editions of More Than One Story which include information about your company and its involvement in our project. You will thereby be creating a meaningful and much appreciated gift for customers, clients, and participants at conferences or other events. You can also print in cooperation with municipalities or non-profit organizations which spread the More Than One Story to schools and individuals in your community. This will bring visibility to your company as a promoter of intercultural understanding, and your financial support will help our project to build bridges between many more people.
Possibilities for partner organizations
More Than One Story can be a powerful teambuilding tool for your employees, volunteers, and for participants at your events. It can also be a meaningful and much appreciated gift for members and partners. By printing your own versions of More Than One Story in the languages of your choice, with your own logo on the box and a card about your organization in the deck, you can spread information about your organization and increase your visibility as a promoter of intercultural understanding.
You may be able to seek funds for printing More Than One Story as part of a larger project which you are already planning. Your organization may also find sponsors which wish to fund your work and the printing of your More Than One Story editions. In return, your sponsors will gain visibility on a card inside your editions. More Than One Story can also be a powerful fundraising tool for your organization if you choose to sell it to private individuals, other organizations, schools, companies, etc.
Possibilities for individuals
People everywhere are welcome to become ambassadors for More Than One Story, using the card game to build bridges wherever they go. We welcome donations to our project from all those who wish to help More Than One Story spread around the world.
We are grateful for the support
We are grateful for the support our project receives from KORTLEKSTRYCKARNA who are working together with our partners to create and print different editions of More Than One Story. www.kortlekstryckarna.se.
Please contact us
If you, your company, or your organization would like to know more about our network and how you can get involved, please contact us at: email@example.com
Wherever you live, our international office in Sweden can help you find the best way to order our card game. Just send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Europe and worldwide
Our partners, Amity, in England, can ship their English/Spanish/Arabic edition to private people and organizations all around the world.
More Than One Story has proven to be a valuable tool for social workers, teachers, religious leaders, event coordinators and youth leaders. Wherever fears and prejudices tend to keep people isolated from those who seem different, More Than One Story is being used to facilitate the process of integration and inclusion, the opening of hearts and minds. Playing More Than One Story awakens empathy, compassion, understanding and appreciation for the unique experiences of each person; it brings strangers together and deepens communication amongst family and friends. The cards do not ask for opinions which can often lead to discussions. They ask for personal experiences and the feelings connected to them, feelings we all have in common. More Than One Story empowers individuals and organizations who wish to work for a more harmonious world.
How to play
Thanks to the simplicity of the concept behind More Than One Story, our card game is being used in just about any setting where people have an opportunity to learn to know each other. Even if our method requires no specific training and everyone is able to lead the game after reading the simple instructions which are found on a card inside the deck, we offer here some advice regarding how to lead the game. The most important thing to remember is to read the instruction card very carefully for all who will be playing and to follow these simple instructions.
Usually it is best to sit in groups of four to eight people, but the game can be played by only two people who want to get to know each other, or in larger groups up to thirty people if everyone wants to practice the art of listening. Families and friends can play together, yet if the purpose is to help people learn to know others then attention needs to be paid to how the groups are created, so that people don’t just sit with those they already know.
Begin with a short presentation of all the players. The presentation is very important if all the members of the group do not already know each other very well. It is usually best to let everyone just say their name, and answer one question, like “Where do you go to school?” or “Where do you live?” or “What is your favorite hobby”, etc. Each time new groups are formed or new people enter the group, it is important to lead this short presentation. The quality of play is increased by this since it helps everyone feel safe and included.
The next step is to find out who is oldest so that this person can start. This is usually a moment which creates laughter and relaxation as people try to find out the answer to this question. The cards are placed on the table so the questions are facing down, and the oldest person picks the top card and reads it out loud. (If you don’t have a deck in your language, the card can be read by someone in English and then translated to the language you are playing in and then everyone can play in that language.) As long as a person holds the card in his or her hand, it is like a “talking stick”. Only that person is telling the story. Others can ask questions but may not interrupt or tell their own stories. The person keeps holding the card as long as he or she wants to keep telling the story or answering other people’s questions. When the player no longer wants attention, he or she puts the card down. This can also become funny because some people put it down quickly when the questions get sensitive and everyone usually laughs at this behavior, in a friendly way. If someone picks a card and cannot think of a story the leader or others can help by asking questions, and if the person still can’t think of a story, then let him or her pick another card, or two more until a good story pops up.
The leader can help in the beginning. First, by inviting people to play, and allowing some who are shy or hesitant to just sit and listen. Usually, after a round or two, the leader can ask if those who have just been listening want to tell a story, and usually most people will eventually want to take a turn. Yet it is not a problem if someone just wants to listen. The leader can also help by listening actively, asking some questions, and by telling personal stories. Usually, the first rounds, or sometimes even the entire first time a group plays, will remain a little superficial. But once someone tells a deeper story, people usually follow this example. So the leader can “deepen” the atmosphere by sharing feelings and personal experiences. Each group tends to control itself and goes as deep as everyone feels comfortable going. We have never had any negative experiences arising, nor have we ever heard of anyone having these problems. It is a very safe game and people comfort each other if the need arises.
The leader can also make it clear what time frame the group has to play. Usually we don’t time each turn because it creates stress, but a leader can sometimes say it is time to move on to the next player. Usually the group controls its own balance of time, and if everyone forgets to keep playing and is just having a great time talking, let go of the game and let people talk. If one or two are taking over the conversation and you feel someone is being left out, then you can suggest that the next player take a card.
People keep picking cards, taking turns clockwise. One important rule in the game is that each player picks a new card each time. This is because if you do not know what card you will get, then you will not be able to prepare your own story and you will instead be able to focus on the person telling the story. If everyone would tell the story around the same card then nobody would be listening completely.
It is always good to have some time to reflect on everyone’s experience after the game is over. We often play in smaller groups but then ask everyone to gather in a large group to talk about the experience. If there is time left over then the larger group can be divided into new smaller groups so more people can get to know each other. 45 minutes is enough for a group to get a short introduction, play, and then reflect five minutes. Often people like to sit for hours and play. Sometimes we have put out cards at each table during dinners for large events and people have continued playing into the early morning hours.
During the autumn of 2011, Swedish Television broadcasted the Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s, lecture entitled “The Danger of a Single Story”, talking about the danger that arises when people hear only a single story about a country, a culture, a group or an individual. She stated how important it is for us to have more than one story about each other in order to avoid prejudice, segregation and racism. These thoughts inspired the staff of the Department of Culture and Leisure of Simrishamn, Sweden, to develop a practical method of working actively for integration, understanding, healthy curiosity and respect between people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures.
Together with students and other members of the community of Simrishamn, we developed a new card game, More Than One Story. The first edition was printed in 2012 in English and Swedish. Since then over 70,000 card games in twenty different languages have been printed.
We spent over six months developing the More Than One Story card game together with secondary school students and adult volunteers. As we worked together, we tested many possible cards and began to notice which ones produced the desired effect, to help people let go of prejudices and come closer to each other. We avoided cards which focused upon opinions or superficial questions. Instead we found that cards which dealt with feelings and memories or dreams were the most effective.
While developing the game, we played More Than One Story with students, teachers and counselors at schools, with youth visiting homes for the elderly, with staff and visitors at the local youth center and library, as well as with mixed groups of all ages at our local cultural center. These pilot groups provided us with useful input. Their spontaneous reactions and reflections convinced us that our game achieves its purpose of building bridges between people. Players developed a greater appreciation of their classmates/workmates, seeing them in a different light. The atmosphere of openness and sharing which was created by playing More Than One Story touched many and encouraged us to invite others to join our project.
Since then the project has continued to grow and spread. The More Than One Story project has received Swedish and European Public Service awards during 2013. It was awarded with the Intercultural Innovation Award 2014 by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and the BMW Group. In 2015 More Than One Story was chosen as the winner of the Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award by the participants of the World Forum for Democracy in Strasbourg.