From ordinary to extraordinary: workshop iteration

‘The thing is to learn from your own art because it is much farther along than you are.’ (Marina Abramovic quoted in Richards, 2010, p. 68)

Prompted by reflections on the feedback from the second part of the deconstruction workshop, I decided to revisit some of my research from as far back as end of Unit 1. The second session of the workshop did not engage the participants as much as the first one, and although this was partly because these participants were familiar with activities that focus on writing, it did help me think about ways in which the second part could be made more interactive and how the overall workshop could be further developed.

I am fully aware that the workshop is only a very first version and needs much more development. Because the main objective of the  workshop is to explore individual narratives and engage with the creative process as an activity that derives purpose from within itself, it would be beneficial to include as many different sensory experiences as possible and to bring ritualistic elements into the process.

This brings me back to the research I did on the philosophy behind Marina Abramovic’s work during the first phase of my research.  A big part of Abramovic’s work is informed by ritual and ancient spiritual practices, which has resulted in a whole range of different exercises used for meditation, reflection, and creative energy. Her purifying rituals take a holistic approach to making and according to Abramovic, it is only by preparation of the mind and body that a true receptiveness and responsiveness to the flow needed for the creative process can be obtained (Richards, 2010).

During Unit 1, when I started working on shaping my final project, my first ideas for an intervention where that of a creative ritual. The idea was to create a workshop that comprised three different stages: stillness, making, and performance. The current workshop method does already partly draw on these three themes, however, prompted by the latest test of the workshop I am now returning to these ideas more in depth. The workshop method could benefit significantly from more ritualistic and meditative elements, both because it has potential to enhance the experience of creative flow and because it can help with the emotionally triggering topics that arise. Taking into account observations made after the visual deconstruction during the first part of the workshop, I would confidently say that a meditative exercise before and after would be beneficial for the individual process. Drawing attention to stillness could also help some participants let go of a goal-oriented focus, making it easier for them to engage with the process for the sake of the process.

‘…you go through the ritual and you’re not the same after; you learn and become different.’ (Marina Abramovic, 2016)

I am going to trace my steps back and explore some of the concepts Marina Abramovic uses in her method, such as ‘the power of repetition’ and ‘making the ordinary extraordinary’, and read more about the philosophy and inspiration behind the Abramovic institute and method.

I am also hoping to schedule a small session with a couple of MA students from Central Saint Martins to test an iterated version of the workshop method during this month.



Marina Abramovic in Brazil: the space in between (2016) Directed by Marco Del Fiol [Film]. Brazil: ELO Company

Richards, M. (2010) Marina Abramovic. New York: Routledge


Torned pockets and a missing button

There was a sense of melancholia during the workshop on Wednesday. Past memories and forgotten feelings were brought back to a present space through the ‘practice of poetry’, and during the post-workshop discussion there was a mix of excitement, sadness, and relief.

I held my first official workshop, This is not a Dress, with a group of eight at the Poetry Café. Overall the event seems to have been a success that resulted in self-reflection and unexpected observations. Most of the participants discovered something different and said they thoroughly enjoyed the process.

The group was mainly comprised of people who are familiar with creative writing; seven out of eight participants use poetry to express themselves on a regular basis. The majority of the participants found out about the workshop through my collaborator Alice Hiller. It was interesting to see how each individual responded to the topic and although they are experienced writers, the process still led them into unexplored and unexpected territories.

Most of the people brought an item of clothing with them, as instructed. Three participants, however, did not bring anything and only had a mental image of a specific item. Based on my observations and the participants’ own reflections, not having the physical item did have an impact on the overall experience and outcome; a sense of distance remained during the process. The process was experienced as more intense and beneficial by the participants who had brought the item with them. This illustrates the importance of the visual and tangible elements, especially during the main deconstructive process.

Only one person expressed that their item was directly linked to a person and their absence – as opposed to the first informal test workshop where everyone brought an item that was associated with bereavement. However, two participants discovered feelings of loss during the visual deconstructive process although their items were not at first considered to be connected with loss. For one of them an open buttonhole and missing button had a ‘potent effect’ and made them think of the ‘absence of an old lover’. Although most items were not explicitly connected with absence, a theme of abstract loss could be read between the lines; past events, forgotten identities, invasion of personal space, and a desire to bring back elements or make sense of that are long gone.

One person chose not to share much at all about the garment (which is stored in a box in the US), the emotions linked to it, or the workshop outcomes. However, afterwards she thanked me personally and said she thoroughly enjoyed the process and that she wishes she would have had the item with her.

During the closing discussion there were a couple of accounts that clearly show the self-reflective possibilities this method and process has. They said the process had made them ‘really sad’ but that they were ‘quite happy to be sad’. They did not write anything during the deconstructive exercise and mentioned that: ‘as a few of you know I write loads in workshops’. his participant had entered a state of intense self-reflection and said about his thoughts: ‘I’m just willing to let that be there and see what happens…’

Information during the workshop was collected by observation and field notes, audio recordings of the discussions, and interview forms filled out by the participants. Regarding the question ‘Did you discover anything new about your relationship to the item, your relationships to other people, or yourself?’ Six out of seven participants who filled out the post-interview form said yes. One participant found it ‘interesting’ how the ‘reflections revealed more about their emotional state at the time they wore it than about the object itself’. An observation that suggests they were perhaps surprised by the evocative properties of the object. Another participant did not feel that the activities did not make them connect with the garment more deeply and intensely than before and wrote that the experience was different but ‘still felt a bit superficial’ and that perhaps they ‘needed to go away, think, and come back?’ This may be an indication of the participant’s willingness to let go and explore their emotions, but it may also illustrate how important it is to leave space for the reflective process. During the first workshop the idea is to let emotions and associations flow freely; to embrace the wild and chaotic of your emotions and subconscious. The raw material that comes out of it can then be reflected on and discovered in different ways and to allow this process to happen as naturally as possible it is important to leave sufficient space between the raw material and the creative process; exploring the wild takes time and patience…

The second part of the workshop will be on Monday 5 November at the Poetry Café.



Emotional alchemy


‘Everything comes from the One and returns to the One, by the One, for the One.’ (Klossowski de Rola, 1973, p. 14)


Alchemy is commonly known as a form chemistry of the Middle Ages that was mainly concerned with transmutation of matter, such as base metals into gold (Oxford Living Dictionaries, 2018). However, researchers such as Stanislas Klossowski de Rola have for decades argued that this is a much too simplistic view of the subject, stating that alchemy is a much more complex system which is understood only through careful examination. The secret science of alchemy conceals ‘the means of penetrating the very secrets of Nature, Life and Death’ (Klossowski de Rola, 1973). In other words alchemy was/is concerned with philosophical ideas and questions and is strongly linked to ritual and magical thinking. The Oxford Dictionary (2018) also defines alchemy as a ‘seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.’

Earlier during my research process I briefly touched on the topic of alchemy because of its close relationship with ritual, magic, and transformation. I also used alchemical illustrations as inspiration to define and structure the main subject areas and core of my research.

I have now returned to alchemy as a means to illustrate the deconstructive workshop process. Because the workshop method is somewhat complex and I am in the process of defining the mechanics of it, I decided to clarify the structure through illustration. Drawing inspiration from alchemy I created the following illustration, which shows the different stages and elements of the process. This also prompted me to read more in depth about the secret life of alchemy and I ended up finding several ideas and concepts that reflect the core ideas of the workshop method.



In the words of Stanislas Klossowski de Rola (1973) true alchemy, ‘fashions a most precious thing’ out of ‘a small quantity of vile matter’ (p. 13). Similarly, the deconstructive workshop method has the potential to take, not necessarily always or only vile, but raw and complex emotions and through a creative process turn them into something ‘precious’ for the participant.

The quote at the beginning refers to a loop of creation or symbol of eternity and is what the snake or dragon Ouroboros represents while biting its own tail (Klossowski de Rola, 1973). This quote places itself perfectly within the workshop process as the journey is about the individual; everything, the raw material, comes from the participant and returns to the participant in an altered form through a creative process. Furthermore, the process is done by the participant for the participant.

In alchemy, the practitioner has to overcome the obstacles and difficulties of an intricate process that culminates in the production of the Philosopher’s Stone (Klossowski de Rola, 1973). This is the so-called stone that has the property of transmuting basic matter into something precious. During the deconstructive workshop the idea is for the participant to go through a complex process of investigating feelings and identifying and editing different elements before arriving at a poetic outcome.


Poetic closure

During the informal testing of my workshop method (latest intervention), the participants and I concluded that the process has to be broken up in two parts because of its emotionally intense nature. It is also beneficial for the reflective and creative process to leave some space for the participants to process the raw material extracted during the first part before attempting to shape it into a story.

Yesterday I tested the second part of the workshop with one of the participants from the informal test group. This gave me the opportunity to test the activities and structure of the second part, and my workshop participant the chance to continue with the emotional and creative process she had started. Because this method so far has shown it can bring unconscious thoughts to surface, it is important the participants are offered an opportunity to bring the process to an end.

The structure I had initially planned for the second part worked well, and the participant told me it felt like a very natural process and that she would not have wanted to do things in a different order. We started by reading some poetry to set the mood, after which we discussed and reflected on the material discovered during the first workshop – my workshop participant told me she had lately been sleeping in her garment as a result and as part of the process. After a conversation about relationships, identity, and the ethereal nature of memories, we immersed ourselves in a jumble of words by using different creative methods and started shaping a poetic interpretation from the raw material.

After a while my workshop participant stopped the creative tasks and said ‘I’m done.’ with a smile on her face. She then told me how liberating and amazing it felt to have put all these feelings she had been struggling to define into a creative process with a poetic outcome. Even though the emotions are still chaotic, she now has a new sense of control over them. With the help of the workshop she has both let go and held on to emotions and memories that until now had been difficult to process.

The evidence from the first part of the test workshop and yesterday’s events, show that the method I am developing has significant transformative and self-reflective properties, which supports my research question and shows there is potential for further exploration. And, like my workshop participant said, if it works for one person, it will likely also work for others.

Personally, I could not be more pleased. I want my project to have meaningful impact, rather than create brief moments of curiosity or pleasant feelings; even if it is only among a handful of stakeholders.


Somewhat to my surprise – and as a result of secondary research, intervention testing, and personal artistic experiments – my most recent intervention ended up becoming a workshop method. 

During the development of this method I found a book called Opening up the Wardrobe: a methods book, which helped me realise I have developed a new method from scratch that could potentially be applied to a number of research areas and/or stakeholders. For example, my workshop collaborator Alice is interested in testing it with people who express themselves through drag.

Opening up the wardrobe covers a range of different methods used for exploring the contents and experiences of wardrobes. Most of them however, look at clothing and wardrobe behaviours mainly from a materialistic and aesthetic point of view. Even when there are self-reflective and emotional elements included, the premise is to examine and influence the behaviours of people as users and consumers, rather than agents of their own narratives.

Opening up the Wardrobe shows each method in form of a set of questions about its background and applications. After reading the methods that were most closely linked to my research topic, I decided to apply the same questions to my own method as I thought it might be useful for clarifying the structure and potential applications.

Below is my method explained through the questions asked in Opening up the Wardrobe: a methods book.


Where did you get the inspiration from?

The method is based on a complex structure of interdisciplinary research and artistic exploration. The main inspiration comes from concepts within phototherapy, Barthes’ ideas about the Punctum and ‘essence’ of the photograph, and poetry as a tool for emotional storytelling and healing.

What aspect/question/entity does your method explore?

How affective objects can be used to trigger creative and self-reflective storytelling, how subconscious emotions can be accessed by deeper investigation of memories and emotions associated with a specific item of clothing, and how the participants benefit from this process.

How do you go about using your method?

The method is realised in a workshop format with a group of no more than 10 people. Due to its emotionally strenuous nature, the workshop is designed in two parts. For the first session, each participant is asked to bring with them an item of clothing that they have an affective connection with. The clothing and its affective associations are then explored through an investigative process that combines written, tactile, and visual elements. The raw material discovered during the self-reflective process, which starts during the first workshop and continues afterwards, is then used to create a written piece that represents the feelings found embedded within the piece of clothing.

How is your method different to others?

This method differs from other ones mainly because of its deeply investigative nature, with potential to reach previously ‘untought’ thoughts. I am not aware of any other methods that use a combination of photography and poetry to explore the affective and mnemonic properties of a specific item of clothing. I am also not aware of any therapeutic methods that use this approach.

In your experience, what insight does this method generate?

This approach can give both the participants and the researcher valuable insight about the affective lives of clothing and the transformative potential of exploring them, as well as facilitate new discoveries about individual identities and relationships with other people. The method can also offer insight into the creative process in general.

How have you used the data your method produces?

The method has informed the development of my MA research and my PhD proposal. It will be a useful tool in identifying target groups and potential applications for my research.



Fletcher, K. and Grimstad Klepp, I. ed. (2017) Opening up 
the Wardrobe: a methods book. Bollington: Novus Press

Exploring emotional narratives through clothing: a workshop

The date has been set for the official workshop, and it will be 24 October (2.30-5.30 at The Poetry Café in Covent Garden). This workshop will give me a chance to test my research thesis and the idea of ‘affective archaeology’ with a larger group. The event is open to everyone over 18 because I want to see what type of people the workshop attracts and if there will be any patterns or linking theme among the narratives shared during the afternoon. The group is limited to 10 people due to the sensitive nature of the process and based on Alice’s previous experience with poetry workshops, and because a smaller group is also better in terms of observing change and finding new knowledge for my research.

Would you like to investigate the feelings and memories 
your clothing holds through a creative storytelling process, and find the poetry that is stitched along the seams? 

Come join a two-part workshop designed for poetical exploration of clothing and discover your personal narrative in a new way. During the first session we will extract the raw 
material from the clothing, while the second workshop 
(optional) focuses on turning your personal findings into a story. The workshop is part of designer/artist Henrica 
Langh’s MA research and is being realised in collaboration with writer/poet Alice Hiller.

My collaborating partner, Alice, has shared the link with some of her poetry contacts. She told me there has been ‘lots of positive feedback’ regarding the workshop, and five people have already registered so we are off to a good start. 

'Dear Poets

I'm going to be collaborating with Henrica Langh at 2.30 on 24 of October at the Poetry Café on a free workshop working with clothes and memories. I'm facilitating the writing processes and Henrica is leading the workshop.   We have trialled one together already and I got an interesting poem afterwards from the material that came out of it.

For those of you who came to the Stanza Bonanza - Henrica did the performance art piece around a meeting that may or may not have been a meeting. She wore a black dress and had long auburn hair. It comes out of research for Henrica's MA. Henrica is also a fashion designer and performance artist. I'm interested in developing it to work with people who express alternative identities through drag at a later stage.'  - quoted with permission from Alice Hiller

P.S. I have also created a new blog, which will act as a more official record of my research, because I did not want to link the event page to my learning log. 

An arctic bird, sleet turned into shiny ice, background noise, and a pot of soup

Yesterday afternoon I tested my storytelling workshop concept in a small focus group of three – unfortunately the fourth person had to cancel. It was a moment where I got the chance to see all my research in action, and for the first time truly test my research thesis.

The response was positive, and I gained a lot of information about how my research could be applied in practice and identified future challenges. Because the workshop is a result of extensive research, iterated ideas, external feedback, and a solid project core, I knew the potential of the workshop. However, yesterday ended up being almost overwhelmingly valuable and exceeded the expectations I had. My workshop collaborator congratulated me on a successfully realised workshop and said she thinks I am doing interesting and valuable work, which is welcome feedback since I am not doing my research just for the sake of the MA, but because I have identified something that I strongly believe others could benefit from and I see potential in developing the project further.


Expectations or apprehensions before the workshop

The test group was curious and intrigued by the theme of the workshop, and were hoping to explore the ‘magical’ aspects of their chosen item of clothing. The majority were also a little worried about what they might discover and about exposing their vulnerability (both to others and themselves).


The process and discussion

The task of choosing the item had already triggered a self-reflective process and when everyone described their emotional items at the beginning of the workshop it became clear there was a lot to be shared and explored.

We started the creative process by reading a poem, ‘The Slinky Dress’ by Selima Hill, that I chose from a selection of poems Alice collected exclusively for the workshop. We then had a brief discussion about the poem. This helped create the ‘right’ atmosphere and was a way to avoid the metaphorical blank page.

We started with a brief writing exercise that Alice put together, during which we described the item as an animal, weather, a song, and a fragrance. This was a perfect introduction to the creative process and allowed everyone to see their piece of clothing from a new perspective. Even some significant discoveries were made during this stage and the subject in question said she was subconsciously aware of these things but had never previously been able to bring them to the surface. Most things discovered during a process like this are not new; the person is already aware of them either consciously or subconsciously, but this type of process helps one externalise them and see them from a different perspective; it creates a distance between the subject and their feelings. This idea of looking away in order to see something more clearly – which Barthes (1981) discusses when he writes about the experience of looking at a photograph – is embedded in the building blocks of my research and the workshop core.

The main activity during the afternoon was exploring the item through images. Because of my background in clothing design combined with high attention to detail, close relationship to my research process, and previously testing the activities myself, it is difficult for me to see this activity with fresh eyes. I was therefore looking forward to seeing how other people would engage with the task. The people in my focus group said the activity presented entirely new ways of looking at the garment and you could see how words simply poured out of everyone – including myself, which I did not anticipate.



The younger female participant answered the question ‘Do you feel creative workshops are within your comfort zone?’ with ‘It’s actually the first creative workshop I’ve done’, and that she is not intimidated by the creative part of it but rather about ‘experiencing’ herself. After the workshop she was very happy she participated and is looking forward to continuing the self-reflective process in hopes of reaching a type of closure by turning the process into something creative and ‘tangible’.

Even for someone who is used to writing and using creative workshops as a means of ‘accessing places when they seem closed’ to her, yesterday’s workshop led to ‘a new avenue of thinking.’ She said that exploring her relationship with the item through images gave her some potentially useful raw material.

Everyone’s item was somehow, either directly or indirectly, linked to a person. This suggests that it may be very natural for people to choose an item that they associate with their relationship to another person. This also links to observations made by Csikszentmihalyi (1993) that generally, people who form more meaningful relationships also tend to own more affective objects.

A common theme yesterday afternoon was loved ones who have passed away and the legacy they leave, which shows the workshop has potential to be used as a grief ritual to both nurture the connection to the lost loved one and finding ways to let go.



The reflective process was emotionally very straining, and yesterday’s workshop was only the beginning of it. We all agreed that bringing the process to a kind of closure with a second, follow-up workshop would be highly beneficial. I could clearly see that exploring the item through visual details opened a flood of thoughts and emotions that will need time before being further processed or explored. I plan is therefore to design the workshop in two parts, with a couple of weeks between the two workshops to ‘look away’ from the experience and allow the subconscious to process it.

I also see potential in exploring this process long-term and adding more creative elements such as self-portrait photography and creating ritual objects or costumes.

To the questions about whether the experience was enjoyable and helped them discover new aspects about the item, themselves, or their relationship someone, everyone answered yes, even if they had the option of choosing ‘not sure’.

As for the question about connecting with the clothing itself, everyone expressed that they felt an even deeper connection with their item than before. Two people specifically said they now appreciate its emotional value even more and want to take better care of it in the future. We concluded that affective objects are very important and that it is a good thing if you know how to value those connections; they’re part of our personal rituals that help us make sense of our world.


Barthes, R. (1981) Camera Lucida. London: Vintage 

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1993) 'Why we need things' in Lubar, S. and Kingery, D.W. (ed.) History from things: essays on material culture.Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, pp. 21-29 

Investigative deconstruction

I am in the process of planning my next intervention, which will be a small focus group where Alice and I will test and develop the ideas for our upcoming poetry workshop. Because the haptic and visual senses are strongly linked to each other and to the emotion and memory processing parts of the brain, I think it is important to focus on both visual and tangible aspects in the upcoming workshop.

When thinking about ways to structure the workshop I ended up playing around with ideas inspired by deconstruction and forensic investigation – partly sparked by a book called Vintage Details that I bought on impulse after my meeting with Alice Hiller – as potential approaches to the creative process. The idea is to visually deconstruct the garment and explore its details in relation to emotions and memories.

To test the idea in practice I experimented with it myself, again using the black dress, and photographed a few details that I then analysed visually.  I wrote down any words and thoughts that surfaced when ‘reading’ the detailed images both in a factual and fictional way. 

Picking apart the garment in this way allows for new associations and emotions to surface. I am looking forward to observing how people who do not continuously include visually creative processes in their daily lives might respond to this type of activity.


My personal experiment resulted in the following poem.

‘No strings’ you said 

so I carefully folded myself into your 





and stitched a neat little hem to hold the dust of 
future memories 

Until my fingers bled and ached 


It’s a complex weave  

delicate, uneven, tightly wound


The poetics of a serendipitous encounter

Yesterday I had a wonderfully inspiring meeting with Alice Hiller, who will be helping me put together a storytelling workshop. The idea is to take an item of clothing, or accessory, that holds emotional meaning and turn it into literal and visual poetry. Although there will be an end product, the objective of the workshop is the creative process, which will hopefully create moments of self-reflection and perhaps even some healing. Alice has a background in both journalistic and creative writing, and experience running a small poetry group herself so her input is exactly what I need and it will bring much added value to the intervention.

We decided to start by testing some ideas with a small, informal focus group to help us plan the first official workshop. Although the first workshop is by no means intended to be a finished end product, I do of course want it to be organised and planned in a way that the participants (as well as Alice and I) can benefit from the process.

Alice told me again how much she liked my black dress performance and that she would never have guessed that it is not something I do frequently. I said to her that I think it is perfect that we met by sharing our personal creative work; that we were drawn to each other through our stories and a moment of vulnerability and empathy. Had it not been for the language of poetry we may never have ended up collaborating on this workshop. And the fact that an intervention that was organically shaped during my research process – with roots in the Nightmare – serendipitously ended up catching the attention of a collaborator, is poetry in itself.

(Hopeless) intervention

Unfortunately my intervention evening last Friday gathered a hopelessly small amount of people. This means that I was not able to observe and analyse how people might respond to interactive storytelling through affective objects, in the way I had hoped.

People showed interest in the intervention but eventually only 4 people attended the event, and two of them were the owners of the venue. Sometimes the most difficult part of an event is getting people to come, and I suspect that the location and insufficient marketing were the main reasons for the low engagement rate.

However, there is always something gained. Although the event may briefly have felt like a waste of time, there were useful things to learn from both the evening itself and preparing the event.

There was a positive response to the self-portrait studio – a separate room with a tripod, remote-control for the shutter, mirrors and a few other props –  which indicates that this may be a concept that is worth exploring and developing further. At first people did not seem tempted by the idea but after I encouraged them to try it they were positively surprised at the experience. Quoting one 22-year-old female participant: ‘My first reaction was doubt and mild panic, but afterwards I was excited to try similar pictures at home.’ She said the self-portrait studio was a curious exploration in creativity, and has prompted her to think about the way she is used to interact with the camera lens and in what ways she views her self as the subject of an image. Her experience illustrates how a creative photographic approach can provide a means to translate and evaluate personal experiences through a creation of original photographic artwork (Simmons 2013).

In addition to the self-portrait studio, I also created a word puzzle to inspire poetic word play during the event. Based on my personal experience this is a useful tool for starting the process of poetry creation. Arranging and rearranging a chaos of random words is an effective brainstorming technique. The words ‘kitchen’ and ‘lake’ inspired me to write a poem almost entirely out of the blue. I believe this word collection will be useful for the next intervention, which is going to be a poetry workshop at the Poetry Café.

I did also notice that selecting and bringing in a personal item inspired a general conversation about emotions, memories, personal narratives, and identity. One dress that an older woman once wore to a 50s themed secret cinema triggered a whole range of memories and self-reflection, not just in the owner of the dress but others as well. This suggests that affective and mnemonic objects are powerful devices for self-reflective, and potentially therapeutic, storytelling.

Although there were moments of self-reflection on Friday, they were superficial and no noticeable in-depth exploration happened during the event. It is of course possible that the theme will prompt self-reflection at a later stage, but it also does show that trying to reach people who already have a desire to investigate their own emotions may result in more significant change.


Intervention SWOT

Strengths: the self-portrait studio was a success, and caused notable change in at least on participant; spending time selecting an item beforehand prompted more reflection than not choosing one; random word play can act as a simple and efficient tool to inspire poetry writing

Weaknesses: the activities were not clear enough and people needed to be encouraged to interact with them; the event inspired very little in-depth exploration, which may partly be because of the personal and intimate nature of the subject and the empty room

Opportunities: using elements from the event in a structured workshop and reaching the ‘right’ people could result in more significant self-reflection and interaction with the activities

Threats: a small amount of participants has an overall negative effect on the atmosphere because it does not encourage story-sharing and spark curiosity; by not targeting a specific group of people (by choosing the right venue and marketing channels) there is a risk for the story-sharing to remain casual rather than deeper exploration within the stories