15:00 - 16:40
Session: S10
[Group Experiences] + Design
Group experiences as triggers for personal transformation: investigating a design class, collaborative seminars, and shamanic ceremonies
Personal Transformation; Experience Design; Social Psychology; Collaboration; Creative Empowerment
Estelle BERGER, Marine CATEL, Laurie BARAT

This exploratory study is part of an on-going research on the transformative dimension of different kinds of group experiences. Our aim is to provide insights for interpreting such situations, and to support reflective practitioners in design facilitation, psychology and education facing the challenge of supporting transformational processes. This article specifically explores the impact of group experiences on personal transformation using the notions of flow state and self-narrative. Flow is understood as a balance between mastering and surrendering. It is assumed that a dynamic process of meaning-making is key in the transformative path. This research studies the cases of nine participants involved in three different kinds of experiences: a design class, collaborative seminars, and shamanic ceremonies. Qualitative interviews were used to understand the relations between the collective momentum experienced in these specific contexts, and the personal transformation triggered. Firstly, the results highlight a fruitful tension between individual and collective motivations, with the sense of belonging playing a key role in experience. Also, experiencing discomfort during the group situations appears as a trigger for personal transformation. Finally, we identified some differences between the three contexts in terms of experience, self-narration and personal transformation. The results are integrated in an experiential diagram, which allows to map the dynamics and psychological states associated with different contexts and stages of transformation.