Accepted paper:

Experiential role play: data games for social change in Colombia


Lien Tran (University of Miami)

Paper short abstract:

An interdisciplinary team of designers, researchers and engagement specialist will work on the creation of a tabletop game with the primary focus of humanizing statistics and instilling a sense of urgency in the collection and use of child development data.

Paper long abstract:

In accordance with the shift in development work, social change is now viewed through a dialogic lens; individuals are no longer passive victims of a top-down system, but active participants of their empowerment. Engagement via participatory research has afforded researchers incredible insight into decision-making, socio-cultural norms, barriers to social change, and intergroup innovation. However, at times economic and technological constraints have impeded efforts. In Colombia the digital divide has continued to grow at exponential rates; specifically, the area of data collection, monitoring, and dissemination regarding child development seems to be lagging extensively. Local government and civic activists wishing to advocate for the disenfranchised find themselves with insufficient or inaccurate data to inform their decision-making. In partnership with Community System Foundation and UNICEF Colombia, an interdisciplinary team will work on the creation of a tabletop game. The primary focus of the game will be to humanize statistics through the lens of real life testimonials, thereby using narrative to instill a sense of urgency in the collection and use of child development data. Narrative will be based on stories collected during survey and in-depth interviews. In the current game concept, a player takes on the role of a Colombian child and makes choices that have systemic consequences on the character's chances for survival and personal advancement. Child well-being indicators identified using existing datasets will influence these in-game choices. To implement the game, the team will train organizations currently working with Colombian youth on how to use the game as a tool for advocacy and awareness of Colombian child livelihood issues.

panel P37
Visual research, creative methodologies and the position of the subject: possibilities and limitations of creative experiences