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History Map

The main purpose of this activity is to remind and reflect on what group members or participants have been through and to create a collective experience and shared story. Every individual will gain a shared idea of what the group has been through together. Use this exercise at the end of a project or program as a way to reinforce learnings, celebrate highlights and create closure.

  1. Step 1:

    Prepare by rolling out a long piece of paper (5-10 meters) on the floor or on a wall. Draw a timeline representing the period of a project or team experience. Include dates and a few key events, but not more.

    Facilitator notes

    In some spaces, it will not be possible to use candles. In this case, have participants place post-its instead.

  2. Step 2:

    Ask participants to draw in elements of their experiences. They can include their highlights and lowlights of the journey, as well as insights, emotional highs and lows, challenges, successes, frustrations, stories and surprises, situations, learnings, and anything else that meant something. An alternative is to do this step using images from magazines. Spread out a large pile of old magazines, along with scissors and glue. Participants do the same as above, but using magazine cut-outs rather than drawings.

    Put on music while participants to this. Give enough time that the paper becomes as full as possible (about 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the group and length of the timeline)

  3. Step 3:

    After the map has been created, ask participants to walks around the map, reflecting in silence on the experiences they have shared. Ask them to begin thinking about the most important moments for them, individually. Give about 5-10 minutes for this step.

  4. Step 4:

    Finally, have participants sit or stand around the map in a circle. Then, one-by-one, participants place a candle (a tea light) on the moment that has been the most important to them. After placing the candle, they briefly describe the moment and its significance. Continue until all participants have placed a candle and shared.