The Hero Workshop in England

England won the race to be the first country outside the U.S. to have a Hero Workshop this summer.  Kit was home and took the opportunity to visit Beecholme Primary School in Surrey.  I asked him for a report and photos.  He delivered.

Kit here, I have recently returned from England where I performed our first Hero Workshop presentation to a non-American audience. This certainly posed some questions for me. For instance, would the message translate well? Would the the English children be as engaged as American children? Would the teaching staff like the concepts presented? It turned out that the only minor issue was the use of American vocabulary in a few isolated areas, otherwise everything went beyond my expectations.

Zenia McIntosh was very enthusiastic about the inclusion of the Hero Workshop into her classroom and she observed the ‘lean in effect’, i.e. after the first few minutes the children leaned in closer and closer to hear more. This clearly answered a number of my initial questions. The students related to the concepts being presented and were inquisitive in the most positive of ways. This was very gratifying to see and fortunately my father Jim Bennett was on hand to capture some of the presentation through his camera.

My biggest concern was whether or not an English audience would relate to the concepts without finding them to cheesy or cliched, from an English perspective the Hero Workshop could of had this potential. I was thoroughly delighted when this wasn’t the case. English culture is not so hot on power films that inspire or the many rags to rich stories we see being told in the media today, hence my concerns. Zenia was very happy with the effect of the presentation on her class and saw how the real world examples and regular vocabulary helped the students understand what was being presented to them.

4 Responses to The Hero Workshop in England

  1. Julie Kuck August 8, 2009 at 3:11 pm #

    I stumbled across your blog as I was looking for a cross-cultural interview developed by a multinational group of family therapists. Known as the Hero’s Journey, the interview was designed in part to help refugees and the newly immigrated share their cultural heritage, emigration journey and resiliencies that they demonstrated along the way with their families and others. It is the work of several cross-cultural family therapists including Maurizio Andolfi (Italy), Audrey Ellenwood, Irene Cornish (last 2 US), Lars Brok (Holland), and Ricky Snyders (South Africa). I am hoping to use their work in a grant application for refugees from war-torn Iraq, who may need psychiatric services and whose culture may prevent access to such services. A resiliency based interview may help such individuals identify patches of the self that may need repair and restoration in the larger context of the functional self. I’ll be following your work now, and hope we can incorporate some of your curricula in our work. Thanks for a great blog.
    Dr. Julie Kuck, San Diego

    • lars brok July 11, 2011 at 9:10 am #

      Dear Julie, very late I saw your message by accident. Did you indeed use our interview? we still have a lot of success with it interviewing immigrants whith psychiatric problems. You can get the interview and the article from Audrey Ellenwood who is working in USA with it and during her international trainings. Kindest regards, lars brok

  2. Matt August 9, 2009 at 6:55 pm #

    Julie, thanks for the comment. I have a friend who used to work with new immigrants in Detroit using art therapy to describe their journeys. It worked very well. If you have any questions or want to start a conversation on your project, feel free to email me.

  3. Zenia McIntosh August 11, 2009 at 7:47 pm #

    Kit and Matt,

    Thank you so much for allowing us to be the first outside-US participants in the program. The children loved it and continued to talk about it after you guys had left. I did a follow up lesson on building relationships, dicussing the Hero Attributes that Kit introduced and the children were very receptive. If you ever want more guinea pigs, you know where we are!