description of activity

Print and cut out the identity cards on the attachment (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.

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.

You can also ask the following questions:

  • 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)?

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


A room with enough space for participants to move forward.


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


30-60 minutes (depending on closing discussion)


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


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).