Birgitta Borghoff, MA
The case study “Narrative Recherche” in a Municipal Context was commissioned by the Hochschule für Künste im Sozialen (HKS) Ottersberg in Germany. It was published by Birgitta Borghoff, founder of entrepreneurialstorytelling.net.
This discourse-analytical case study reconstructs the language of public discourses by Bachelor’s and Master’s students in the course of the seminar “Narrative Recherche – Artistic Movements in Organizations” held at the HKS in the winter semester 2020/2021. Using the municipality of Ottersberg as a case study, the seminar firstly explores the topics and stories the students are moved by in the process of “Narrative Recherche” in connection with local politics and administration. Secondly, the way in which the students experience and evaluate the process of “Narrative Recherche” and the applied practices will be examined. Two narrative group interviews with a student group consisting of four students and four individual observation and experience reports show that topics such as structuring, language and the comprehensibility of (local) politics are highly relevant. Especially the language of politics and administration is a central pain point and a controversial issue. The overarching “public story” is that of the world-improving bridge-builders. The students reconstruct “Narrative Recherche” as a dynamic growth-promoting and community-building group process that can be used to help shape local politics, e.g. by researching, selecting and asking questions or reflecting and sorting out insights together and individually. All of this takes place in meeting spaces that convey security and where dealing with uncertainty and insecurity can be learned and trained.
 “Narrative Recherche” is the German name of the artistic method developed by Michael Uhl (2021), freelance director.