Finding Aladdin in Barcelona

By February 29, 2016 Features No Comments
On Monday 22nd February I waited in Bristol Airport for my flight to Barcelona. Lucky? Heck yeah! Again. For the first time on this Aladdin project I was early.
Ah. All the partners were already there, our lovely Ali Smith included. So, in actual fact, I was arriving a day late.
During the early part of this year I had already written a couple of sections for the Aladdin printed book; I still didn’t feel completely part of the project yet. I hadn’t met the partners as yet…. This weighed on my inner mindscape. My inner critic told me that I wouldn’t be up-to-speed like the others must already be.
After finding my way to the joint AirBnB accommodation with our lovely Dutch partners, the next morning we zoomed along the sunny coast in a train from Badalona to Barcelona. After a coffee in the sun we got to work.
Barcelona view
This was the start of many learning curves, changes of perspectives and even paradigm shifts. Yeah, read that again if you wish.
Aladdin and the Intergenerational Lamp is all about empowering Seniors at risk (here in the UK we call Seniors, Older People; I prefer to call them our Elders) in the practices and techniques of Applied Storytelling. Right down my street! In turn, these Seniors (at risk) will share their stories, lives and wisdom with Young People at risk, 18 to 30 year olds. Right down my street. We, the human race, have been doing this for tens of thousands of years. During the Industrial Revolution we have lost this aspect of human interaction, of human connection, because of more ‘important pursuits’. I want to reconnect with these ‘old ways’, these natural ways, these ways of human nature.
The learning curves were exciting. We learnt, and affirmed, ways of working with people, whether old or young, using the power of Personal Stories. If you’ve ever been present, gathered in a circle, sharing stories (often very deep) together, you will know this power. It is cathartic, often therapeutical, fun sometimes and incredibly uplifting and connecting. If you haven’t, no rush but, do it! At your next opportunity, in a pub, with friends or colleagues, round a fire!! Do so. (Then get back to me, let me know how it went).

The changes of perspective were, at times challenging. The partners from Hungary and France had wanted to put together plans and detailed structures for the workshops in the week. Both Superact and the partner from the Netherlands come at this from another angle; we don’t plan. We put together certain structures and exercises based on our knowledge and experience; then, using our intuition, we work ‘in the moment’ with the people present in the room. Some call this Heart and Gut Intelligence rather than Brain Intelligence. It was illuminating to the others who hadn’t experienced this way of working. That is the key. One has to experience this way of working, it can only be explained to a degree. It was thrilling to experience others going through their changes of perspective. On the Wednesday it was challenging, tough, frustrating. We, as a group dynamic, needed this transition. We needed to experience working in this way to be able to pass these nuggets, these gems, this wisdom on to Seniors.

Man dancing

The paradigm shifts were beautiful to observe. Two in our group (they shall remain anonymous, as per the ethos of this way of working) experienced the true power of sharing their Personal Stories with others, gathered in a circle. When we share ourselves in this way, occasionally we open up so much that our vulnerabilities shine through. This is the power I am speaking of. I shan’t explain any further as it can’t be explained. You have to experience this process, these feelings, this paradigm for yourself. May that be so!
I love this project. It is right down my street. I am at home here.
Barcelona? Oh wow! You beauty, you wild beast, you cheeky monkey. I wish I could have seen you more. I’ll be back.
Oh no, now I sound like a robot from the future…
For more information on the Aladdin project contact Stu Packer, Superact Storyteller, on