Creative Workshops: Storytelling in Transnational Higher Education
An empty campus in the middle of the semester, limited contact all over the world, general cluelessness, travel restrictions at home and abroad: How can you study in the midst of a pandemic and its consequences? How do students in Germany and Jordan feel? What are their prospects, similarities, and differences? How can we learn from each other?
The measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have had profound consequences for the work at our universities. The prospect of having to complete at least one more semester without regular class attendance caused uncertainty among many students and teachers.
In an international joint project with the German Jordanian University (GJU) in Amman, both sides evaluated and creatively reflected upon their experiences, impressions, and feelings in the past several months. The project was funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and aimed to inspire exchange between students, teachers, and staff of both universities in the midst of the ongoing global pandemic. Participants from both universities met in transnational hybrid settings to collect the greatest variety of perspectives as possible.
Using a storytelling approach—a method for thinking, communicating, and reflecting upon explicit and implicit assumptions—the workshops illuminated how similarities in the narrative concretion of experiences form stories and narratives. The participants then reviewed and creatively and autonomously developed final media products, be it videos, blog entries, poems, or other kinds of media. The methods knew no bounds, with numerous kinds of media and end products available to participants. In our exchanges on the works, we wished to inspire and deepen personal, social, and educational reflection. We spoke English and German in the workshop, depending on preference.
The project as a whole was divided into 2 blocks, with each requiring 2 days of attendance. During these sessions, teachers and tutors supervised 3 groups of students on the German and Jordanian side. Their chosen final products reflected their experiences, ideas, and feelings. Storytelling expert Sadiq Rahman moderated and structured both blocks.
Following the workshop, the creative end products were prepared using professional project resources and published as part of the project blog and in a scientific anthology.
For more information, see our regularly updated blog.
This project was funded by the DAAD.