What would you draw to illustrate the meaning of 'culture'?
This is a little exercise we commonly use in cultural awareness training courses to get people thinking about how culture works.
It's a fascinating insight into people's minds and how they understand culture.
We thought it would be fun to look at some of the more common images, pictures or drawings people use to capture their particular insights into 'culture'.
So we've chosen 5 images that come up time and time again within training.
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1. The Cooking Pot
One image we see all the time, especially from Americans, is the cooking pot!
It perfectly captures the idea of culture being a rich mix of lots of different ingredients that come together to create something unique!
2. The Tree
Can you get a more organic analogy for culture that the tree?
Unseen roots buried deep in the ground feed and shape the trunk, branches and leaves, which represent those 'seen' aspects of culture such as art, language, food and dress.
It is very similar in concept to the idea of the Iceberg which is widely used in cross cultural training.
3. An Onion
Do you see culture as something multi-layered?
Well, that's exactly what plenty of other people think and as such the onion is a perfect illustration. You just keep peeling away layers until you get to a core.
Culture shapes and colours how we see the world around us.
That's why glasses and sunglasses offer a useful anolgy as everyone to a certain extent sees the world through their own Cultural Lens.
5. The Boat
Culture keeps a group of people together, helping them get through life.
This is the idea we see with the metaphor of the boat; it defines a group, their conditions, trials and tribulations!
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