Humans of Adelaide

Humans of Adelaide - a glimpse into the lives of strangers.
This unit mimics the Humans of New York (HONY) project. Initially a photographic project, it has become a powerful exploration of the lives of others. It reminds us that we all have complex inner lives and helps us see the humanity in each other. With an honest interview, a powerful photograph, and simple but raw storytelling HONY is a humanising exercise in empathy and understanding. In this unit you will step outside of your comfort zone, develop your communication and creative writing skills, and develop your empathy for others.

Getting Ready - developing your communication skills.
Watch this video (15:12) on how to approach strangers on the street by HONY founder and then fill in the questionnaire on this google form.

Read these 11 tips on getting friendly with strangers. In the discussion area at the bottom of this page post which tip was the most useful for you and explain how it will be useful.

Hitting The Streets - stepping out of your comfort zone.
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In pairs, interview people you meet on an excursion to Rundle Mall, Adelaide. You are looking for people who seem different from you in some way - people you would not normally approach. You are also looking for people who do not appear to be in a hurry, so that they have time to speak with you. Try and elicit from them a personal anecdote. Be an active listener, and ask questions to gain as much detail as possible. Ask permission for a photograph, and ask permission to take notes of he interview. Also write down as many notes as you can remember straight after the interview.

Reflecting On Your Experiences - developing your creative writing skills.
Individually, recount one of the anecdotes from your Humans of Adelaide excursion.
  1. Write a short introduction in which you describe the experience of approaching this person. Put it in italics to distinguish it from the anecdote. This will be 100-200 words, in first person narrative, and in present tense. It is a piece of descriptive writing, which means to need to craft it as carefully as possible, engage a range of sense, and focus on interesting details to bring the experience alive for readers.
  2. Write a version of the person's anecdote in the style of Humans of New York. This will be 200-300 words, in first person narrative, and in past or present tense (depending on whether the anecdote has happened or is happening). You need to reflect the style, tone, vocabulary, and grammar of direct speech.
  3. Write a brief reflection on what you gained in regards to empathy for others from interviewing this person. Put it in italics to distinguish it from the anecdote. It will be 100-200 words, in first person narrative, and in past tense. It is important that you are honest, reflective and specific.
Include the photograph if they allowed you to take one.

Play the Kahoot Quiz.
Show Don't Tell PowerPoint:


Humans of New York Website:
Humans of New York Facebook:
On portraying people in an honest moment (5min video):
Humans of New York: Behind the Portraits (5min video):
Interview with Time Magazine: