Trip through Zombieland – A Transformational Storytelling Project

What a deep experience. What a beautiful journey. From Dead to Undead to being alive. We went in. All the way. Together with 40 young adults from 7 different countries (Poland, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, Czech, Germany and Syria) we dived right into a transformative storytelling process we designed along the lines of the popcultural Zombie-Apocalypse narrative.

We went on a 7 day journey to find an anti-zombie-virus. We went way beyond exploring the “Zombification” of our politics and society, but also turned our eyes inwards to see how our very Selfs already showing Zombie-Symptoms. We went to find out how we and others limit ourselves. And we came to reconsider what it is, that makes us humans? How can we reconnect with our Selfs, others and the world around us? And finally: What are the most important human Soft Skills we need to (re)learn to not only survive but creatively redesign the Zombified World (inside and outside of us) we live in?

To do this the HeartWire-Team created a framework full of immersive learning technologies (digital and analogue) ranging from Drama Games, Big Talks in Safe Spaces, Live Action Role Play and Virtual Reality – we set up 3 VR studios inside which participants were free to experience awe, empathy and the power of playfulness. These carefully curated methods lead the young participants into a completely new learning process our western educational systems simply do not provide. We documented the week collaboratively with a Zombieland-Insta-Account, that everybody had access to. Allowing everybody to post and delete visual content from the week.

The young men and women were craving for this experience and we are all so very grateful for having had the possibility to work with these brave, intelligent and beautiful human beings.

We are deeply moved by the feedback and responses we got from the young participants showing us once again the importance of an education that embraces not only cognitive means but also fully involves body and emotion as learning entities. Thus, here are  the participants voices:

It was an eye-opening experience for me personally. It deeply touched me to be confronted with my inner Zombie. I looked it in the eye and understood a little more about myself and how I work inside. I would say that this was one of the most important things I have done in my life so far.

I liked this so much because I learned more about me and have empowered me because it made me remember, that I am a great human being with a Zombie on the inside as well.

I feel like everything has changed in perception of myself. I know myself so much better now. I know how I’m feeling and how to express my feelings. I think I wasn’t as self confident as I wanted to be… now I am a little bit more. I feel like I am more aware of myself now.

Today I am a new person. After travelling in our minds in the phantasy journey my think about life, the world and other things has really changed. One week ago I was very lazy and a very shy person, who wondered was life was about. I am still shy, but I know now better how to deal with it as part of myself.

Project lead: thinkeurope youth education (Europahaus Marienberg)

Project design: thinkeurope youth education (Europahaus Marienberg) and HeartWire


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