Cards for Culture in use during a workshop

Use Cards for Culture to tell stories that resonate with your audience

An avid user of Cards for Culture – Museum Edition recently asked us if she could use the cards to discover and develop stories that would resonate with a large audience. Cards for Culture is developed with questions like these in mind, so we were able to suggest two approaches to use our game to tell stories that matter.

1. Strategic stories

Gameplay summary:

Use strategy cards to explore the stories that define your institution and, together with your team members, find common themes that resonate with a large audience.

Intended outcome:

Themes for strategic stories, and an approach to tell them.


  1. Schedule two sessions with your team and prepare the white strategy cards deck by removing the 8 cards from the ‘stories’ theme.
  2. In the first session, divide the remaining strategy cards randomly among your team members and explain their task. Their task is to go into the institution, and use each of the strategy cards as a pointer to look for story ideas. Encourage them to walk around the institution, observe and interview members of staff, visitors and other stakeholders. For instance, the neighbors card could have them reach out to the neighbors of the institution to figure out what stories they have to tell. How do they feel about living next to the institution? Or, for the sustainability card they could ask members of staff to what extent the think your institution is sustainable?
  3. Set a minimum number of story ideas for each team member.
  4. In the next team session, ask the team members to pitch all their story ideas. Map these using a technology like affinity diagrams to find connections between ideas and common themes.
  5. When you’ve identified some themes, use the strategy cards from the ‘stories’ theme to discover how you can share this story with the largest possible audience. Which of the themes you discovered can be told through the various storytelling elements of the institution? For instance, which ones can be told through new media, which ones through your brand? You can use the ‘Integrate your strategy’ and ‘Pitch perfect’ gameplays from the manual to structure this part of the meeting.
  6. Summarize your findings in a brief report, communicate them with your organization and define follow-up actions for your team.

2. Trendy stories

Gameplay summary:

Use trend cards to identify how your institution relates to current trends and developments in society, and the stories it could tell about this relation.

Intended outcome:

Relevant and timely stories about your institution’s relation to trends.


  1. Schedule a session with your team. Prepare the trend cards and strategy cards decks.
  2. Divide the strategy cards at random among your team members. Then, one by one, pick a random trend from the trends deck and ask your team to answer the question “How does our institution relate to this trend?” They can and should use the strategy cards as pointers. For instance, when the millennials trend card is played, a team member who has the members strategy card could mention that there is a group of millennials among your members who always come together to exhibition openings. The team member with the new media strategy cards adds that this could be shared online.
  3. Make note of all the responses and select the most promising ones from a storytelling perspective. In the example above, you could consider telling stories about the millennial members of your institution on a dedicated YouTube channel.
  4. Once you’ve selected 3-5 good storyline ideas, use these as input for the ‘strategic stories’ gameplay above or play a game of ‘Pitch perfect’ from the manual to explore all elements of the story. Encourage your team member to use their own creativity to turn the initial idea into a more comprehensive set of ideas.
  5. Appoint a team member who is responsible for producing and managing each of the storylines and meet regularly with the team to check on their progress.

Are you using Cards for Culture to develop stories or in storytelling workshops, and do you use the cards in another way? Please reach out to us via the comments or the email to share these.

Good luck!

Photo by Dmitry Smirnov / Strelka Institute.

Jasper Visser

Jasper Visser is an international change agent, social and cultural innovator and facilitator. He has extensive experience in the cultural and heritage sectors and social institutions. Jasper is senior partner at VISSCH+STAM Strategic Services.