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Building block 4: continuing and retelling the community story

Once community development has conducted an anamnesis of the community story told so far through Building Block 2 and Building Block 3, it is necessary to design how and by whom it can be retold and retold. It is necessary to decide how the previous story from the community's founding onwards can be enriched in order to strengthen the identification of all groups of actors and to make it attractive to potential members.


ACCESS: For the ACCESS context, the following questions arise:

     - How can the existing narrative about the ACCESS context be enriched so that it becomes an attractive community narrative with which all stakeholder groups can identify?

     - How can the ACCESS community story be told in such an attractive way that one of the project goals, namely to expand to a network of thirty African universities, can succeed well?

     - How can the ACCESS community story be told in such a convincing way that it is also conducive to reporting to the funding body, also with regard to the acquisition of further funding? Building a sustainable community can be a key argument here.


In line with the core idea (building block 2), it is also possible to work out how the story is to be continued into the future. It can be narratively anticipated what adventures will be faced in the future, what challenges will be overcome and how the community will adapt to them. There is room here to present the community mission, its vision of a better world and a desirable future for the community. This is where a future success story can be painted, i.e. what triumphant progress is in store in relation to the core idea. Since future perspectives are always uncertain, it is always necessary to regularly adjust the future dimension of the community story in order to remain plausible and motivating for groups of actors and potential members. Again, individual future stories can be fruitful as they can provide a rich and innovative reservoir of proposed solutions to future challenges. And, of course, the involvement of relevant actor groups in the development of future scenarios that promote identification also makes them more likely to be taken on board.


ACCESS: For the ACCESS context, the following questions arise:

     - Is there already a future narrative about the ACCESS community? What ideas exist about the future development of the ACCESS context and how are they currently told?

     - What role does the current funding phase play for the future time horizon and are there any ideas beyond the end of the current funding? Does the communication with the funding body form the actual thread of the current community history or does it also address other ACCESS stakeholder groups? Is there a perspective for sustainable community development even without continuation of the funding?

     - How can the future narrative about a desirable future for the ACCESS community be reshaped in such a way that it has such a plausible and motivating effect on all groups of actors and many potential members that they are (further) committed to supporting the realisation of the core idea?

     - What challenges must be overcome by the community in order to write an ACCESS success story together? How can the community effectively address these challenges and become unstoppable?

     - What individual visions of the future exist in the ACCESS community and how can these be used as an innovative reservoir of solutions?

     - How can the learning community approach also be mapped in the ACCESS future narrative? Which individual and collective learning processes are desired, planned and necessary to develop a sustainable learning community in the sense of the ACCESS core idea?


Ideally, community development pushes a process through which the writing of history is balanced between top down and bottom up in a way that is conducive to the community: In this process, all groups of actors are involved directly or through representatives with the aim of developing an attractive overarching story with which all groups of actors can identify.

The following tools, among others, can be fruitful for community development:

- Qualitative interviews (alternatively: questionnaires) with key persons about their community history          can be conducted and evaluated, reflecting the diversity of the groups of actors.

- Large group methods (e.g. Open Space, World Café, Barcamp, Dynamic Facilitation, Art of Hosting) can be used in analogue and digital form to recapitulate, document and update the community history from multiple perspectives. Here, too, the participants should represent all groups of actors.

-   A digital platform and / or other media can be used for ongoing participatory history writing: This can be a logbook or a wiki. This can be ongoing, but also in the form of quarterly, semi-annual and annual reports. There can also be a photo and video album that captures community activities and milestones. Podcasts can also be a good medium to share individual community stories. There should be room for one-way and two-way communication. All kinds of attractive forms of communication are allowed and there are no limits to creativity to circulate the stories in the community and beyond and to promote the common realization of the core idea.


ACCESS: For the ACCESS context, the following questions arise:

     - What might a history-making process look like for all ACCESS stakeholder groups?

     - How can this process take on the character of a collective ACCESS learning story?

     - Which key ACCESS personnel should be interviewed?

     - What large group processes can be conducted in digital and/or analog form to recap, document, and perpetuate the ACCESS community story?

     - Which existing platforms, channels and media could be used for a participatory and ongoing ACCESS historiography? Which new platforms, channels and media should be created for this purpose? Which formats are conducive to encourage different groups of actors to tell and share (learning) stories?

     - By which rhythms is the history writing process structured? At what intervals is the history updated (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually)?