The Stereotype Gallery
This activity helps groups to work together more successfully on international projects. At
the end of the activity, participants will
have recognized their own stereotypes and those of their colleagues, and will have been
exposed to others’ perceptions of them;
realize the damage that stereotyping can do to cooperation; and
have defined a framework for future cooperation.
This activity is designed for multicultural groups of 20 to 50 people.
70 minutes
A number of flipcharts (number of subgroups plus 2)
Sufficient board markers, masking tape
A large room with open space. Tables are not required, and chairs are needed only during
debriefing phases. The flipcharts are placed at various points around the room so that each
subgroup has sufficient space in which to work without disturbing the neighboring group.
1. Briefly introduce the concepts of stereotyping, bias, and prejudice, relating them to why
the participants are at this workshop or training. Say something like this: “We all have
stereotypes, both positive and negative, about other cultural groups. This is not bad in
itself. Stereotypes become negative when we allow them to interfere with how we judge a
situation or communicate with someone.” (5 minutes)
2. Divide the group into single-culture subgroups with no more than six members. If there
are more than six people from one cultural group, form them into two groups.
3. Give each subgroup the task of identifying and displaying their stereotypes of two other
cultural groups participating in the project. Tell them to use two separate sheets of flip-
chart paper. The stereotypes can be both positive and negative. (20 minutes)
4. Display the flipchart pages in art-gallery form where the groups are working. Instruct all
participants to take a tour of the gallery and read the flipchart pages. (10 minutes)
5. Return to the original subgroups. Discuss and note on flipcharts: “What leads me to see
others in stereotypical ways?” (10 minutes)
6. Debrief them in one large group. Questions to ask might include:
“What are your reactions to these results?”
“What does this tell you about yourself?”
“What does this tell you about your colleagues?”
“How might this affect your cooperation in the project?”
7. To discuss a final question, “What do we have to do to cooperate successfully in the
project?” form culturally mixed groups (up to six members per subgroup) and ask them to
note their thoughts on flipcharts. (15 minutes)
8. Have each subgroup briefly present its results, and clarify them in the whole group. (10
No additional debrief is needed. The final part involves the project team defining the frame-
work for a set of working principles for themselves.
Caution: This exercise might not be appropriate to circumstances or in cultures (such as is
often the case in the United States) where group sensitivities or political correctness are pre-
sent, and where the expression of one’s stereotypes about others is taken as evidence of
deliberately sustained bias or prejudice.

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