Universiteit Leiden

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What’s Your Story?: diversiteit in een kaartspel

The JEDI Fund supports projects that promote diversity and inclusivity within the university. One of these projects is the card game called ‘What’s Your Story?’, developed by university lecturer Tingting Hui.

With What’s Your Story?, Hui aims to create a safe environment where players can use stories to talk to one another about diversity, inclusion, and camaraderie. ‘My aim with this card game,’ says Hui, ‘is to promote the connections between people. Many of the workshops I attended focused on quotas and achieving diversity targets. This approach is by no means wrong, but I felt there was a missing: the importance of on caring about one another and truly listening. It was this gap that gave me the idea for this card game.’

Building connections

Initially an individual project, the card game evolved into a collective effort, as Hui explains. ‘I approached a group of students I taught and with whom I felt a strong connection. We brainstormed ideas for the game together.’ During these sessions, they discussed what form the game should take and whether the potential questions and answers would encourage meaningful discussions.

The existing relationship among the participants also played a crucial role in the game’s development. ‘The students who worked on this with me already knew each other,’ Hui explains, ‘and they understood that they could share their stories in a safe environment.’ She observed the same sense of safety when playing the game with her colleagues. ‘Despite different group compositions and varied conversations, the secure environment remained a constant.’

Portrait of Tingting Hui
Tingting Hui

The right expectations

Hui also recommends playing ‘What’s Your Story?’ with a group of people who already know each other a bit better, or who have a common denominator, such as a similar background. ‘This way, the goal of the game can be achieved more easily. If there’s no connecting element between the participants, it can be harder for people to open up.’ She has played the game with her students. ‘We did it at the end of a series of lectures.’ Afterwards, the main feedback I received was that they were glad they didn’t play it at the beginning of the series. Now they were much more comfortable with each other and so could talk more freely with one another. But moments of silence and discomfort are also part of the game.’

This does not mean, says Hui, that ‘What’s Your Story?’ can only be played in a formal setting. ‘We have developed different game variants and I can imagine that it can also be played by people who just want to have a fun game. If strangers play it with each other, you have to ask yourself what you want to achieve with the game.’

What's Your Story?

You can find more information on the card game here.

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