ClearFear game camp day one: hide, seek and play!
Today has been a really great day and a completely new experience for me.
The ClearFear game camp got underway in London this morning with traditional ice-breaking activities. Throwing a ball to one another as a way of getting to know each other’s names was a harmless enough way to start. But then the fun really began.
To get in touch with our playful selves we played a game, but it had to be one that we were all familiar with. As we were a truly international group with Brazil, Spain, Austria, Romania, USA, Syria and the UK amongst the countries represented in the room, this was potentially a difficult task. However, ‘hide and seek’ appeared to be a cross-cultural and universally played game that we were all familiar with. So, 15 adults proceeded to agree rules, split into teams and play hide and seek.
The game camp was being held in a university building so the rules were that we had to stay in public spaces, not enter any prohibited zones or go out of the building. I was thinking that it would be great fun to hide in the back of a lecture theatre during a lecture, but I came across a colleague as we were searching for a hiding place who found us a hidden corridor to hide in, so we were confident of winning. As time passed our seekers did not arrive so we thought that we had won. However, I then received an email on my BlackBerry saying I must stop the game as it was causing a security alert.
When we returned to our room we discovered that the seekers had not found any of us. Instead they were being tailed by a security guard who appeared quite concerned that 11 people were apparently missing in the building. I think he eventually understood that it was the aim of the game to hide, but I don’t think he quite understood why 15 adults were playing hide and seek to begin with! (I think the person who knocked on someone’s door and asked an academic busy at his computer if he wouldn’t mind if he hid under his desk was bending the rules slightly, though, and may have triggered the security alert!).
Anyway, with that re-introduction to game playing and rule breaking, we set about designing the game. The first stage was defining our superpowers. We had to think about what powers would be really useful in the game camp to help us create something fun and effective in helping people to overcome their fears. I chose the power of foresight as I’m wondering where this is all going..!
Next we worked in small groups to consider the important elements of an engaging game. Bringing our thoughts together, I was struck by the frequency of the same ideas arising. Notions of using our own strengths and assets to help others was a recurring theme and tied in very well both with our work on the Connecting People study and the work of Kingston RISE.
We worked again in small groups to think about the specific elements of the ClearFear game and there was considerably more agreement in our ideas than dissonance. Brought back together at the end of the day we laid out our game plans and, again, there were remarkable similarities. This iterative process is akin to a meta-synthesis of ideas – bringing together different people with a host of different experiences with a common purpose in mind.
From this early stage, it looks as though the game will have successive levels of difficulty, players will form teams and use each other’s strengths to support each other to overcome challenges and arrive together at the finishing point. It will be non-competitive (there will be no winners or losers), except that the players will be heroes battling their fears (which will be characterised as the villains). It’s still a little vague, but it will shape up more tomorrow as we aim to give it a trial run in the afternoon.
The great thing about today (in addition to having fun) was that it was an egalitarian co-productive enterprise. Members of Kingston RISE, researchers and Playmakers Industries shared ideas and banter equally. Although I feel ready for my bed now, I’m really looking forward to day two and the surprises it will bring!