At The Walker Institute, one of our research projects explores the use of serious games as a transformative social learning tool. It has proven to be a highly effective, yet underappreciated, mechanism for capacity building, scenario planning and crisis response training. Staunchly different from top-down, conventional training sessions, serious games create supportive environments to bring together actors from diverse backgrounds, disciplines and sectors to ‘experience’, understand and analyse diverse and difficult situations, which often underpin development challenges.
They provide innovative, participatory opportunities for transformational learning as players take on new roles and engage with decision processes they may not normally be involved with, to gain appreciation of others’ circumstances, recognise their own biases, frame challenges from new perspectives and reconsider paradigms.
Walker Institute, together with Oxfam will host a session at Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience’s Transformations 2017, held in Dundee on the 1st September 2017 starting from 9:15am.
In this session we will show how academics and INGOs have collaborated to develop relevant, inclusive and accessible games based on rigorous scientific foundations and embedded in policy processes. We aim to generate debate and spark conversations on the role of games to make research a more participatory process with non-academics (and stakeholders in general), and more accessible and relevant to them. Participants will hear about some of the many games available focussing on different decision-making contexts, and have the opportunity to play the Red Cross Climate Centre’s ASK game.
ASK explores communication challenges between scientists, humanitarian agencies and communities symbolised and represented using everyday items like tennis balls and a drainpipe! Reflection on the benefits, challenges and implications of approaching development challenges with serious games will provide participants with the opportunity to consider how games could be integrated into their own work contexts.
Transformation starts on the 30th August and runs until the 1st of September. For more information about Transformations, and to register, click here.