description of activity

This activity can be run as an activity for an external group or for an existing editorial / production group

Print and cut out the identity cards below (or make your own in advance, depending on what you want to focus on). Then...

  1. Mix up the cards and place them face down. Let each participant pick a temporary social identity, and let them know that if they find out that the one they have chosen it is too close to their own reality, they can swap. Ask them to stand in a line along a wall in the room.
  2. Give the participants a few minutes to think about their new identities and to ask questions if necessary.
  3. Choose an activity leader who will read out the statements below to the rest of the group. If the participant can answer the question with a simple ‘yes’, then they are allowed to take a step forward. Those who answer with a ‘no’ or a ‘maybe’ must remain standing where they are.

External group questions

Ask your participants to take a step forward if you think it is easy for them to:

  • use all forms of public transport
  • get married
  • collect social welfare
  • travel freely to other countries
  • purchase alcohol
  • drive a car
  • get your mail delivered
  • get housing suitable for your needs
  • get a passport
  • adopt children
  • get a bank loan
  • get a job
  • party in the local pub/night club
  • visit the GP/dentist
  • dress as you like when out in public

The statements also can and should be adapted to your national/local situation and/or the cards you have created. You can focus this exercise anyway you like this way.
At the end of the exercise ask participants at the very front, and those left behind about their emotions. Let them reflect on these feelings and discuss when it was the last time that their 'persona' was in the media.

A 30 year old male, single and addicted to games

 

 A 45 year old female with Vietnamese provenance, married, 1 child  A 27 year old single black female
A 20 year old sound engineer, lives with his Kurdish family

 

 40 year old nurse from the Netherlands, studies interpreting, divorced

 

A 67 year old retired woman who used to work as a teacher
A 25 year old punk with Spanish provenance, student.
A 28 year old pregnant reporter

 

A 40 year old single mother of two children, responsible for public relations
A 22 year old accountant, single and HIV positive

 

A 42 year old female musician and DJ, stutterer, no children A 48 year old plumber, Buddhist, one child
28 year old cleaning man from Nigeria, married with a non-migrant teacher

 

A 35 year old blind man, unemployed, one child

 

A 46 year old male music programmer, Syrian provenance, Muslim, 2 kids
A 25 year old male nurse from Iraq, still in process of political asylum

 

A 59 year old librarian, his wife needs special care

 

A 17 year old trainee, from the Traveller / Roma Community and lesbian

Editorial /Production group

Ask participants to move forward if they think the response to the questions below would be "yes" for the social identity in the card they have chosen from the ones below.

  • The (majority language) news speaker is falling sick two hours before the show and the station looks for a replacement –can you do the job (on short notice)?
  • Can you feel safe from harassment at work and on your way to work?
  • Can you move freely in the radio station and access all parts of it?
  • The weekly editorial meeting might be moved from the morning to the evening – can you still take part?
  • There will be an interview with the president of the country – can you travel to his residency and make the interview?
  • Can you be sure not to have to listen to things like: “you are different” or “do your people do things like this, too?”
  • The radio needs a new project coordinator –is there a chance that you apply for the job?
  • Your colleagues are planning a trip to the disco to celebrate an anniversary – can you join them without problems?
  • Are your programmes just valued for there (minority) language or ethnic background and not for the content?
  • Your radio is invited to receive an award in the City Hall – will you be sent?
A 30 year old male journalist, single and addicted to games
 A 45 year old female radio presenter with Vietnamese provenance, married, 1 child  A 27 year old single Irish black female journalist
A 20 year old editor, lives with his Kurdish family

 

 40 year old nurse from the Netherlands, studies interpreting, divorced

 

 A 67 year old retired woman who used to work as a radio presenter
A 25 year old punk with Spanish provenance, studies communication
A 28 year old pregnant reporter
A 40 year old single mother of two children, responsible for public relations
A 22 year old accountant, single and HIV positive
A 42 year old female musician and DJ, stutterer, no children A 48 year old technician, Buddhist, one child
28 year old cleaning man from Nigeria, married with a non-migrant teacher A 35 year old blind man, unemployed, one child
A 46 year old male music programmer, Syrian provenance, Muslim, 2 kids
A 25 year old male radio technician from Iraq, still inprocess of political asylum A 59 year old news-speaker, ,his wife needs special care
A 17 year old trainee, from the Traveller Community and lesbian

Final Questions

After the last questions, you ask the participants to observe the position of people in the room and ask them:

  • How did you feel in your role?
  • How does it feel to be first/last?
  • How does it feel not being able to advance together with the others?
  • Which questions did make you think the most?
  • What do you feel this exercise was about?
  • Which feature of your identity did you feel had the biggest influence on where you ended up
  • Which statements surprised you (in that you could or could not take your step)?
  • Do you know anyone who matches the role you played in the game? If not, where did you get the information that allowed you to move forward or forced you not to move? After the activity, it is important for participants to dedicate some time to discuss why they decided their character can move forward or not. For example what society's perceptions (stereotypes) or internal prejudices influenced their decision. It is important to highlight that we all hold prejudices, and that it is necessary to be aware of them and take time challenge our assumptions.

information on the activity

Movement activity to raise awareness on societal inequality

This activity focuses on creating empathy with others by stepping into situations they might encounter in their daily lives by putting them in somebody else’s shoes and literally let them walk a few steps.

Participants will understand

  • Their own localisation in the societal hierarchy
  • How people from minorities or otherwise underprivileged people may feel
  • How perceived “little differences” in identity and privilege can have considerable effects

INFRASTRUCTURE

A room with enough space for participants to move forward.

MATERIALS

Identity cards (some are enclosed, but you are encouraged to make your own, see TIPS FOR TRAINERS)

DURATION

30-60 minutes (depending on closing discussion)

RECOMMENDED NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS

at least 4-5 to make results visible, up to 15 depending on room size

TIPS FOR TRAINERS

The identity cards enclosed deal with different reasons for societal disadvantages in the Irish society. Making your own activity cards can improve the impact of this activity considerably. You can focus on specific minorities or adapt to the societal reality of your country/region. You can also focus the closing discussion that way. The same goes for the statements (see DESCRIPTION).

After the activity, it is important for participants to dedicate some time to discuss why they decided their character can move forward or not. For example what society's perceptions (stereotypes) or internal prejudices influenced their decision. It is important to highlight that we all hold prejudices, and that it is necessary to be aware of them and take time challenge our assumptions.