Is participant experience relevant?
It's okay if participants haven't seen the inside of a classroom in years.
Physical trust needed
Mental trust needed
-White clothes, hats, assessories (we have good experiences with building site protection suits. They fit everybody and are very cheap.)
Available material for freehttp://www.hostingtransformation.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Dressed-in-white.pdf
60 minutes – month
Experience level of the facilitator
routine as participant OR professional facilitator
Number of facilitators
to do the experiment itself, there is no facilitator needed, to do a reflection on it you should have 1 experienced facilitator.
CHARACTER OF THE METHOD
Level of activationneutral
-The person we think we know might not be the same in the next moment. This method encourages us to rethink again and again the pictures we make of ourselves and of others.
Woo-Woo Level – How touchy-feely is this method?
From 1.Rationalist-Materialist “No feelings here, folks.” to 5.Esoteric-Shamanic Bleeding Heart:
An experiencial exercise to overcome self-limitations and discover new sides and habits of oneself. Especially suitable if you want to spread an experimental spirit, encourage diversity and minimize fear of failure in your group/company/community.
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Sometimes we block and limit ourselves because we want to meet other people’s expectations. To step over that barrier, get inspired by a ritual of the “Island of Left-handers” (described in a utopian novel by Alexandre Jardin). On the Island of Left-Handers, at least once a year, people dress completely in white. They do that in order to try out new behaviours and to signal to their surrounding “I am a different person at the moment. Don’t be shocked if I don’t behave the way I usually do!” So everyone around the white person can relax and know that they shouldn’t take him or her too seriously for that period of time. This period of time lasts sometimes several weeks. Dressing in white is such a natural part of the culture of the islanders that people who hadn’t dressed in white for a while were asked by their friends “I haven’t seen you in white for quite a long time. Don’t you want to develop yourself further anymore?”
From Alexandre Jardin's utopian novel: "Ile de gauchers". Information in french about the (very recommended) novel you find in the link below. The book is also available in German: "Die Insel der Linkshänder."
The more the group members respect each other the more likely it is that people deeply dive into trying out new ways of being. So if you feel there might be a group culture of mistrust, conflict, or of people talking bad about one another behind their backs, it is advisable to do some light trust building exercises first.
PREPARATION (excluding materials)
Hang some white clothes/suits at a wardrobe stand in your classroom/conference space/office and hang next to it a print of the attached document with the background information and instructions.
1 Introduce "Dressed in White"
Introduce the idea to your group/community/students and encourage them to try it: Whenever they feel like it, they can put on a white suit and see if they can react differently on used situations, dare more, try out things they have never done before. It is absolutely allowed to be awkward. Tell them they can relax because no one will think bad about them, whatever they do. Ask the group to agree to this.
2 Experiments in white
This exercise can go along with everything else you do, you do not need to take extra time for it (except for reflection, see: harvest), people who dress in white can do that in the breaks and follow the normal course of your program, community meeting or seminar. If they find it is enough they put on their normal clothes. Every participant who wants to do it decides when and how long he/she wants to dress in white.
You can increase the depth of the exercise if you provide reflection space afterwards in the group where those persons who experimented with overcoming their limitations by dressing white can share their experiences with others. The reflection on this exercise is a good opener to start an inspired dialogue about expectations in the group, rigid role distribution, deadlocked patterns, about exploring one's own authentic expression and what it means to dare something new.
-As a permanent installation in your office/classroom/conference or seminar space to spread an experimental and supportive spirit and convey the permission ''You are allowed to be as you are''.
Trainers for this method can be hired here:Visionautik Akademie www.visionautik.de