Summary

The experience begins with participants being given a new identity that they use to ‘find their people’. Through the immersive whole group experience, they explore how they see different elements of identity and the way they form groups. They examine the benefits of forming groups and when grouping has been used to create division between those who are different. Through an associations activity, they examine how society influences how we understand and categorize ourselves and others and how this impacts our interactions. To strengthen their ability to identify and name biased attitudes and behavior, in small groups they analyze historic and current examples of division. Participants recognize how hate can grow and enhance their appreciation that all actions have an impact. They collaborate to identify actions they can take to respond to bias and hate, developing a deeper understanding of the importance of taking action while also looking after their own wellbeing. In small teams, participants create their vision for how they want the future to be and identify how their personal actions can help make their vision a reality.

Outcomes

  • Participants recognize how we see different elements of identity and understand that ‘one humanity’ means valuing our unique complex identities with the identities of others
  • Participants strengthen their awareness of their own biases and the biases of others and recognize that this awareness is needed to overcome harmful divisions and create inclusive communities.
  • Participants identify ways they can respond to divisive views and behaviors and the role they can play in making their vision for an inclusive local and global community a reality.

Activity Details

Find your People

Participants are given a new identity through a lanyard that contains a picture of someone and a map showing different elements of their identity. Participants are asked to ‘find their people’, which they do by interacting with others through a series of structured interactions. At the end of each round, the facilitator asks for observations on how participants have ‘found their people’. At the end of the experience, the facilitator leads a whole group discussion on the choices they made, prompting participants to reflect on how they grouped themselves and why. If participants did not form one group of people, the facilitator will lead a debrief on why this did not occur, pointing out that they were never told to form multiple groups. Participants will analyze how the exercise reflects how our brain naturally categorizes things and our tendency to form in and out groups based on valuing certain similarities over others. If participants do form one large group, the facilitator will lead a debrief about why they made that choice, what was required for them to be united with their diversity and why most groups don’t group this way, both in the exercise and in real life. The participants explore the benefits of forming groups and examine when difference can be used to create division both historically and today. The debrief concludes with a brief exploration of the benefits of collective identity, where we each value who we are as individuals and the groups we belong to, without devaluing others.

Reality and Perception

Participants are introduced to brain priming as a technique that can be used to develop biases, both positive and negative. This concept is brought to life through a fast-paced, group challenge exploring the associations participants have about specific words. Through the process, participants realize how their individual perceptions may vary based on individual experiences in life and the information their brain has received from various sources. The concept is then extended to cover some of the ways that brain priming is used to perpetuate harmful biases and further divisive agendas. Through a small-group analysis of historic and current examples, participants develop their ability to identify and name biased attitudes and behaviors. Participants appreciate the importance of calling in all forms and levels of hatred even those that are subtle or phrased as jokes. They are pushed to reflect on how they think and feel about themselves and others, where these thoughts and feelings come from and the impact it can have on people’s every day experiences. Participants understand the importance and benefits of being an independent thinker i.e. someone who is aware of biases and can recognize divisive messages

Inclusive or Divisive

In this activity, participants explore the different ways we can choose to respond to difference i.e., inclusively or divisively. They examine a scenario that illustrates a biased attitude and behavior and workshop how they could respond to address the bias. Participants share their ideas and explore the impact of different actions when responding to divisive views and behaviors. They feel confident that they have a range of ways they can respond to bias and hate and have a deeper understanding of the importance of taking action while also looking after their own wellbeing.

One Planet, One People

Participants move into thinking about how they want people to be treated now and in the future. Using creative mediums, participants design what an inclusive community looks, feels and sounds like. They identify a call to action for themselves and others to take so their vision can become a reality. Participants share their creations and recognize the need for everyone to personally contribute to building unity with diversity.

I Resolve To

Participants reflect on what they have learnt and make a commitment for future action. Individually, they complete an appreciative inquiry reflection using a traffic light concept whereby they record an action they will continue doing (orange), an action they need to stop (red) and an action they will begin to do (green) so that in time it becomes a new green. Each participant is given an “I Resolve To…” card, to record their commitment. Participants are encouraged to share their I Resolve To with another person and to hold each other accountable. They take the cards away with them and are encouraged to keep them somewhere they can see daily so that it acts as a further incentive for them to take action.

Classroom Requirements

  • Venue: large open space with room for approx. 60 participants to move around and work in both small and large groups (ideally a gym, library, drama room etc.)
  • AV: data projector and large screen, microphone (cordless is ideal), speakers to play videos and music
  • Chair for each participant
  • Pen/pencil per participant
  • Minimum of two staff members for active observation
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Some images from our Identity & Purpose workshops