Choices and Voices was developed over a period of 6 months with the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit. I was asked to make an interactive and meaningful social tool that engaged young people in difficult discussions around violent extremism. I worked closely with Security and Partnership officers, School based officers, teachers, young people and PlayGen as well as Professor Lynn Davies at The School of Education, Birmingham and the DCSF (Department for Schools, Children and Families now known as Department of Education). As an artist and academic with a socially engaged focus, I found the project highly inspiring. I liaised with a wide range of people and organisations and the process of translating creative problem solving into the various settings highlighted a set of transferable skills that I have since implemented in new projects. As part of this I also trained Police Officers to use the game within schools to instigate and facilitate discussions.
Choices and Voices game encourages young people to explore different points of view and make a range of moral decisions. The players interact with a virtual community set in a volatile location with a multicultural population. The choices they make result in differing outcomes that drive structured group discussions and debate which are an integral part of the experience, helping to instill a culture of respectful questioning within young people. The intention is to tackle violent extremism, through encouraging young people to explore and discuss the underlying issues and adverse influences, which can lead to divisions and tensions in communities.
Choices and Voices is accompanied by a teachers” guide that covers the background to the game, learning objectives, curriculum links, character profiles, lesson plans and questions for discussion and debate.
The game has won several awards including the Engage Learning Award for its contribution to social inclusion.
Several localised versions of the game have been made to suit different counties around the UK, followed by new versions to suit different age groups discussing pertinent and relevant issues.
For more information on this project or if you are interested in a commissioning a serious game, contact me via the contact page.