The collage process is a tool for transformation – a creative visual process that can open you up to new ideas, provide insight into yourself, your current situation and a possible future, suggest a new way of doing things and a new way of being and shift your planning or thinking into something you would never have thought of if you had stayed in a verbal mode.

I learned this collage process from Dr Catherine Camden Pratt when I was undertaking my Master of Arts (Social Ecology) at the University of Western Sydney. She said of the collage process

 Collage is working in metaphor – done today – and a snapshot in time – done tomorrow it may be different …and it cannot tell the whole story…but it can enrich your perspective and understanding and offer a glimpse of something new.

What you need:

  • Piles of magazines
  • Scissors (optional)
  • A3 paper
  • Glue

Work in silence through this process. Be open to surprises. Do not resist any images that attract you. Be prepared for transformation!

  1. Focus

Decide a focus question or topic. Be specific.

For example:

  • My future business
  • My life in three years time
  • My life with my business flourishing

2. Collect images

Scan quickly through the magazines keeping the focus question or topic front of mind. Chant the focus to yourself like a mantra if you like. Tear out images and words that “leap out”. Try to stay with images over words – keep words to a minimum. (10 minutes)

Working quickly in the scanning stage yields rich fields, ie your usual rational mind gets out of the way so other intelligences – visual and kinaesthetic – can have a “voice”.

 3. Arrange

Arrange and glue the images you have torn out onto an A3 sheet of paper, allowing patterns and connections to emerge from the images you select. You may not use all the images you collect. Check the back of the chosen images. There may be better ones there! (10 minutes)

4. Observe

Then sit back and look at what you have created. Do not judge. Just contemplate and respond.

5. Share

If you are with others, get into pairs or a threesome and show your collage to the other(s). Talk about what you see and how you have responded. How does the collage “answer” your topic or question?

The listener(s) should stay quiet and just listen. You might then want to invite the listener(s) to tell you what they see. The listener(s) contributes only if invited to do so.

Swap, share and listen to the others as you want.

6. Reflect

Write some notes in your journal. What did you see in the collage? Were there any themes? Were there surprises? Disappointments? How did it make you feel? Do you have an explanation for that response? What did others see? Has it changed anything for you? Do you understand something better? Have your ideas or thoughts or perspective changed or been transformed? So now what will you do? Are there any actions you want to take? When? With whom?

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