Today is a soft launch for ‘These Are Me – The Identity Project’. This small scale qualitative research project explores our identity (or rather, our identities!), through interviews. The aim of this work is simply to collect these Identity Stories, and to look for common themes, ideas, insights, and differences.
I’m looking at identity not simply out of interest (although these stories have been fascinating to curate and to write), but because it sits behind many of the things we are interested in for the day to day running, and evolution, of the Organisation.
Identity relates to leadership: which ‘self’ is present, and how does it relate to other ‘selves’, how does group identity form, and how does it relate to our other identities, and are some identities more ‘real’ or authentic than others, and if so, what does that actually mean? In these stories we will hear how some people use their own Identity Story to create space, agency, or to advocate for others.
Identity relates to learning: our presence within different communities and spaces gives us access both to knowledge, and to ‘sense making’ groups. It is within these groups that we create ‘meaning’, our understanding of how the world works. So identity gives us access to knowledge, contextually, and also impacts how we make sense of it. Identity is also changed through learning, as comes out in some of these stories. In these Identity Stories we will hear how learning has been painful, liberating, and shared.
Identity relates to culture: as an expression of our shared action in the moment, the identity we bring (or the identity we hide behind) impacts both the creation, and experience of culture. In these Identity Stories we will meet people who shelter within culture, and shelter from culture.
Identity relates to change, even to Organisational change, as change is an act of violence against the ‘self’ within the system. Change fractures structures of power and belonging, although can also act as the catalyst for a new identity to emerge. These Identity Stories have change as a common theme – people sharing the changes in themselves, both through introspective self development, and through the imposition of change from outside.
At this stage i am not seeking to do any formal analysis of these stories (for example, through discourse analysis or sentiment analysis), but rather i am sticking to simple narrative reflection. I will be writing and recording some commentary to run around the stories.
For now, i hope you find as much interest, and perhaps value, in them as i have in recording them.