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Share a pen!


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Share a pen!


In a workshop situation, participants are asked to work in pairs . 

Two people take hold of the same pen and draw a house without communicating with one another; after a couple of minutes they are asked to stop and discuss.

The aim of the exercise is to demonstrate cultural assumptions about icons such as a house for instance. The more culturally similar people who grasp the same pen are, the less pressure there is on the pen and the greater the ease to draw; the more culturally dissimilar participants are, the reverse is the case.

I did this exercise with a British person who had lived in Greece for many years; we drew the same house, i.e. square box, door in the middle, four windows, chimney pot (+ garden added by me) with the greatest of ease.

Apparently most houses in Great Britain, still, are terraced houses.

Collaboration on this exercise between other pairs of participants on that occasion had been much more problematic.

Sylvie Toll
University of Central Lancashire