Finding Your Voice: Workshop Exercises

Throughout the workshop, we used short energizers and icebreakers for various purposes, for example, to get to know each other, to create a good and relaxed atmosphere, and/or to energize participants in-between writing blocks. On this page, you can find the instructions for three exercises that we used at the workshop and which may be useful for your own activities. If you are interested in learning more about the creativing writing exercises used at the workshop, you can find these in the e-book.

ICEBREAKER: Six Degrees of Separation

Since participants came from different field sites and mostly did not know each other prior to the workshop, we started the writing workshop with a game called “Six degrees of separation” as a way to break the ice by finding connections with other people in the group. By adding the difficulty that young people should choose someone from a different field site to pair up with, we tried to make sure that participants talked to everyone in the group, while still having a purpose to approach others and thereby hopefully taking away any potential hesitation or insecurity.

How it works:

  • Participants move around the space, stopping to talk in pairs.
  • Each pair makes a list of five things that they have in common, such as a favorite food, spoken languages, sports, etc., before moving on to another new person.
  • The first person to complete five lists (with five new people) ‘wins’ and ends the game.

ICEBREAKER: This is who I am

Another exercise we did to further get to know each other and increase a sense of community was “This is who I am”, an exercise aimed at developing one’s signature move. Since we did this exercise in-between two writing blocks, it was also a nice way to get up, move around a little and clear one’s head.

How it works:

  • Standing in a circle, participants take turns and say ‘I am’, after which they call out their name and present a movement or gesture that conveys something about who they are (e.g., dancing).
  • The rest of the group then repeats the movement or gesture all together.
  • After everyone has presented their signature move, participants take turns and step into the middle of the circle without saying or doing anything.
  • The rest of the group calls out the participant’s name and does the signature move.

ENERGIZER: Sound Ball

A big part of the second workshop day was dedicated to making recordings, either because participants recorded their previously written stories, or interviewed another participant about their experiences during the workshop. Before starting with the recordings, we chose to do an exercise called “Sound ball”, which is frequently used in theatre and is an excellent way to create a good atmosphere, get energized and warm up one’s voice. Getting a good rhythm going, everyone involved in the exercise got increasingly creative, giving the ball animal or mechanical sounds (among other things), and making everyone laugh in the process.

How it works:

  • Someone throws an imaginary ball to someone else in the circle and acts out its characteristics – such as its shape, size, consistency or weight – and gives it a sound.
  • The person receiving the ball catches it, imitating the same characteristics and sound. They then throw it to someone else in a circle with a new sound and ‘feel’, which the receiver then imitates, and so on.
  • The imaginary ball continues being passed until you get a good rhythm going for a few minutes.
Copyright Maastricht University | Design: CaVaBien.nl