The activity is designed to end a work session about online solidarity, making the participants experience the need of a balance between online and offline / real world support and help, and opening a discussion on this topic.
- to understand the difference between activism and clicktivism
- to realize how clicktivism hardly affects the topic it wants to address
- to understand the need of a good balance between online presence / clicktivism and activism to support causes and promote solidarity
Following the presentation available here as a track, a point is reached when some diverse advertisements are shown (go to the Unicef ad - 24/29), implying a possible or impossible effect of online actions on some solidarity causes.
To experience this possible effect, all participants are asked to proceed as follows: split in 4 groups; from each group, 4 persons are asked to step forward and enter one of the 4 squares prepared beforehand on the floor and marked with the tape. The squares should be half meter large max., and quite distant from each other.
Step by step description
We have 4 groups of participants, every group close to a square prepared on the floor.
Every group sends 4 participants inside the square.
Participants outside the square are now asked to watch in silence without intervening.
Participants in the square are asked to do something impossible, e.g. staying all inside the square with no feet and only one hand touching the ground – they will have a minute to try.
After a minute, the attempt stops. Now the participants outside are allowed only to talk, give hints, show support for the ones inside, and there is another attempt for one more minute.
After this second attempt, the participants are allowed to physically help the ones inside: hold their legs or arms, etc. – last attempt to make it.
After the last attempt, a discussion is started to debrief the activity.
Reflection with the students / questions for debriefing
The discussion is started asking if the simulation has something to do with the activism/clicktivism topic, and with the Unicef advertisement shown in the presentation at the beginning.
During the debriefing, it might be useful to underline the possible parallels (for bad and for good!) between the role of the participants outside the squares, and the behavior of someone willing to support some cause online:
Maybe showing support has not been useful to the ones in the square (or has it?), but maybe hints and directions instead have (or not?).
It is very useful to continually refer to the experience of the ones inside the square, to prove the effectiveness of what the ones outside did. Different points of view in this activity are crucial.
Suggestions for adaptations and variations
The method relies totally on the request made to participants inside the square, and it has to be really impossible to achieve the mission by themselves alone.
With more time available, it might be interesting to change this request, from something easily achievable, via something achievable with some simple directions from outside (maybe blindfolding the ones inside…), to something really impossible without the direct intervention of the ones outside.
Reference / original source of the method
The method is an original creation of Michele Di Paola designed especially for his workshop "Solidarity goes online and…" at the aces Kick-Off Meeting 2015 in Sarajevo.