Walker Institute, together with Oxfam hosted a session at Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience’s Transformations 2017, held in Dundee on the 1st September 2017.
The use of serious games and theatre as transformative social learning tools has proven to be a highly effective, yet underappreciated, mechanism for capacity building and empowerment. 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’ first hand, 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.
Artist's capture of Transformational Learning
In this session we showed 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 spark conversations on the role of games to make research a more participatory process that’s also more accessible and relevant to stakeholders.
Participants took part in the Red Cross Climate Centre’s ASK game, which explores communication challenges between scientists, humanitarian agencies and communities using tennis balls and a drainpipe! They are also given the opportunity to walk into a theatre play and become actors shaping the play’s outcomes – as they explore the transformative potential of the theatre of the oppressed. Reflection on the benefits, challenges and implications of approaching development challenges with serious games provides participants with the opportunity to consider how games could be integrated into their own work contexts.
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 provides participants with the opportunity to consider how games could be integrated into their own work contexts.
The CAULDRON game aims to foster cross-sector discussion around the science of extreme weather event attribution and its potential for use in policy-making, especially in UNFCCC Loss and Damage Work Programme negotiations. The engaging and fast-paced game encourages players to understand the role of climate change and extreme events against a backdrop of changing risk. Strong emotions arise as players find themselves changing roles and pressured to make fast decisions whilst working together to address challenges such as drought – hence the name “the CAULDRON”. All the resources needed to run the game yourself are available for download from the project page.