Healthy communication while collaborating clearly benefits from the ability to attentively listen. However, developing listening in our Lab revolved around the concept of identity. In placing identity as the focus we were not just asking our participants to reflect on their sense of Self, but also how this “self” projects meaning and filters the information it receives while engaged in discourse. Discussing complicated topics in a group often brings out tendencies to anticipate one’s turn to speak, rephrase, and interpret at the expense of hearing full statements, guiding us towards an area of knowledge we already possess. In our collaborative sessions we encouraged separating the listening experience into three stages: receiving information, noticing our interpretations, and drawing conclusions. Creating that space between describing an experience and interpreting its meaning allows us to listen more deeply to the stories we tell ourselves and each other, revealing how the projection of our identity and culture produces meaning. In this sense, listening to the self while receiving information can be just as important as hearing the other’s utterances. 

Storytelling was used as a tool for developing such skills. Sharing an experience in narrative form is perhaps one of the oldest ways of transferring knowledge between subjects. It allows both the teller and the receiver to simultaneously reflect on their own interpretations of an event as well as, in intercultural environments, understand from where these interpretations might be stemming. It also allows us to synthesize our own experiences either through mutual or contradictory understandings of a narrative. By embracing the narrative vehicle for communication, a possibility for transmitting ideas opens up in artistic researchers that embraces artists’ natural creative potential, allowing them to explore the playfulness and hyperbolic aspects of drafting a narrative while also retaining the gaze of a serious researcher. The collaboration of stories is an additional tool which can reveal the plurality of experience and stabilize our own perspectives.