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Turning Failure Upside Down Kit


The kit includes 32 cards and a little book – 1 instruction card and 31 illustrated cards with ideas and questions on the back. The book explores the history of the idea of normality, how it affects us and how we can use our failure to be normal to make visible what really matters to us. It is both a therapeutic tool and a conversation starter for individuals or groups. The artwork is whimsical, subtle and full of meaning and the questions are thought provoking – designed to move our thinking from feeling like we don’t measure up to curiosity about how to put our values further into action.

This kit is a series of illustrations and question cards designed to open up conversations about how the idea of normality impacts on us and how it can take us away from what really matters – from our hopes, dreams and values. Norms and expectations set up measuring tools for us to live up to in order to be seen as successful. These expectations can be contradictory and impossible to achieve which leaves us vulnerable to a sense of personal failure. Modern technology and social media has amplified the pressure to fit in and measure up in these ways. This kit provides entry points to start from our sense of personal failure and create space for new identity stories that link us to our values, hopes and commitments. These stories open up new possibilities for action in our lives and can be exciting to step into. The kit can be a tool for anybody interested in exploring these possibilities. It is especially useful for counsellors, teachers, narrative therapists, social workers, psychologists, doctors, physiotherapists and occupational therapists or anyone interested in the pressures people are under to conform.

Jane has a longstanding interest in the practice and teaching of narrative therapy and this project is also a way of making some of the ideas that inform narrative therapy more accessible. This is a teaching tool for counsellors and therapists for understanding the concepts of modern power and the normalising gaze and how to engage with people to turn the gaze back on dominant ideas of how we should be in order to step more into preferred ways of living. The collaboration with Gela-Marie Williams has brought to life in illustration some lived experiences of the pressures of normality, the sense of failure it can produce and the joy in connecting with our hopes and dreams.