As previously alluded to, on Nov. 22-23, I had the good fortune to attend a workshop entitled ‘Serious Games for Policy Analysis and Capacity-Building,’ delivered by Prof. Rex Brynen (McGill, PAXsims) via the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs Professional Training and Development centre.
Proof that games have been training some of the world’s most amazing political actors for over 100 years: this week, my social media echo-chambers have been ringing with the “rediscovery” of Suffragetto, a game of activism and state violence designed by the militant British Women’s Social and Political Union circa 1908.
Militant suffragettes are pitted against a team of police officers in a quest to occupy the House of Commons while defending the famous Royal Albert Hall. While the police put women in prison, women put the police in the hospital. Players retrieve detained or injured pawns by negotiating prisoner-swaps.
There are too many great things to say about this: it is a present-day opportunity to learn about a pivotal time in the political history of British democracy, an astounding example of games as teaching tools in history, and an opportunity to cast ourselves back to the dramatic political climate of the day. And that’s just off the top of my head! Who says games can’t teach you anything?
This is the first in a Lessons Learned series on essential resources for simulation development.
Natasha Gill’s e-book, Inside the Box: Using Integrative Simulations to Teach Conflict, Negotiations and Mediation, is (in my admittedly humble opinion) very nearly a one-stop shop for educational simulation development. While Gill designs simulations specifically to teach peacebuilding negotiation skills, her method and accompanying manual can be applied to the development of simulations of other political, social, and economic scenarios as well. I have explicitly adapted Gill’s “IN-Simulation” method in the design of LLST’s upcoming sim, The Day My Life Froze: Urban Refugees in the Humanitarian System.
As a geographer, I certainly have my problems with “push-pull” models of migration. Simply put, people move for many reasons; these motivations are difficult to describe, capture, or categorize, even for the individuals who are migrating. Real trouble starts when overly simplistic models are used to inform state or UN policy on migration. Physical violence and the economics of violence are more difficult to tease apart than most formal definitions of “the refugee” tend to assume.
Related to the recent first look at “The Day My Life Froze: Urban Refugees in the Humanitarian System”, Matt has another sneak peek for you: the draft promotional one-pager for the full simulation. Expect changes before the first public delivery of the course, but this is the structure you can expect to experience when you register!
A panel put forward by LLST, titled “Escaping ‘aidland’: Embracing multiple viewpoints through simulation-based trainings”, has been selected to stand among an inspiring list of finalists for the 2019 WUSC/CECI International Forum in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
This year, the final selection will be made via popular vote. Voting is ranked by preference, with #1 being the highest.