Status Roadmap

Status Map made by a dozen people at the Images of Transition workshop on 25 November, 2013.
This mapping activity explores transitions and how changes in our lives affect status. It can be done around a specific theme or multiple themes, as an exercise for one person or for an entire group. Below are instructions for doing this activity with a group around a chosen theme:

Materials:
  • Colored index cards or paper to write on
  • Colored markers, pencils or crayons to write with
  • Colored tape (such as theatrical spike tape) or yarn to map with
  • A wall with 4 signs on it: "Higher Status" at the top, "Lower Status" at the bottom, "Long Ago" on the left, "Today" on the right
Each person does the following:
  1. To make your path distinctive, choose one color to write on, one color to write with, and one color to map with.
  2. Think of a transition around the given theme—something that you, or someone close to you, have gone through. What were the significant moments, incidents and sitautions along that path of transition?
  3. Write down each of these events on separate index cards.  Put them in chronological order.
  4. Use the tape to map your transition on the wall:  The X-axis is time, the Y-Axis is status. Decide what the relative status for your first event is and if that goes up or down for the next. Use the tape or yarn to link these events as you map them sequentially on the wall.
Discussion: Once everyone has contributed to the map, step back and look at it. What do you notice? What is the relationship between status and time? Where are the biggest concentrations of cards? Do people's transitions follow similar pats? What sorts of things are marked as higher or lower status? What are some recurring themes?

Variations: One person can do this exercise by picking a handful of transitions that they have gone through, each with a different theme. Do it on a piece of paper using a different color marker for each theme. Begin with the theme of aging—What are some significant events that have marked your age and how did they affect your status? What else can you map? Some other themes could be ability/disability, class/finances, education/work, faith/culture, language/geography, relationship/marital status, and so on.

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