See also: About Stichting Leren
In 2004 Jenny Wesly (1948-2016) and Ido Abram (1940-2019) developed the Arena method, a technique that makes one’s own identity visible and allows one to learn about the experiential worlds of others.
Methods and experiences
The method has proved itself as an outstanding intercultural learning tool. Anyone can use it: young and old, pupils and teachers, parents and children, professionals and volunteers, ethnic minority and indigenous majority.
The ‘arena’ of learning and living can be both a battleground and a stage, and it unites two pictures: how you see yourself (identity) and how others see you (image). These images are equally important, both real and incomplete. In any event they are never exactly the same. The difference between identity and image often leads to tensions and conflict, but it can also be the prelude to a dialogue. And dialogue is the key. By opening yourself up to each other’s cultural and experiential world, you reduce the gap between identity and image: and so you get to know one another (and yourself) better.
How to make an identity circle or an ID circle
- Pick somebody or something that is important to you: which persons, pursuits, hobbies, objects, ideals, objectives, and the like. Remember everything or jot down key words.
- Arrange the key words in order of importance.
- Divide an empty circle in ‘pie slices’: make the most important pie slices large and the less important ones smaller.
- Place the key words in the pie slices.
- Add texts, drawings, colours, photographs or collages to the pie slices.
Some circle makers take a slightly different approach. Instead of making pie slices, they use other shapes: small circles in the large ID circle and / or an eye or cloud or an other small touch here and there. Some use the empty space outside the ID circle as well. Anything goes.