EUROPEFICTION ACADEMY : Digital Tool – Migration

The first Europefiction Academy method, which explores the theme of migration through the prism of digital technology, was tested on Sunday 6 March! Around 30 young people from Germany, India and Nigeria gathered online for an international participatory workshop on role-playing and migration!

Reminder of the project

The Europefiction Academy project, supported by ErasmusPlus, brings together 10 European artistic companies. It aims to offer new spaces for artistic expression and creation with young people. 

During 2 years, the partners will create 6 new innovative methods that offer alternative ways of creation, adapted to the current context.
Two series of tools will be produced: 

  • In year 1: 3 methods under the prism of digital tools are created through 3 current themes: identity and digital, migrations and gender issues.
  • In year 2: 3 methods under the prism of urban space and in-situ work are created through 3 themes: environment and global warming, economic crisis and democracy.

More information on the project here.

First method around digital tools: European Crossroad #Migration

For the first year of the project, Transplanisphere is working on a method that explores the theme of migration through the prism of digital tools. In collaboration, Ex Quorum (Portugal) and the company have created a beta version of the method and Helios Theater (Germany) is in charge of testing it with an international group of young people.

The method combines biographical arts and digital theatre processes to create a creative and participatory experience about migration and its representations.

The theme of migration addressed online through a role-playing game

The objective of this method is to allow any citizen to set up an online workshop on the theme of migration with a group of young people, on an international scale.

Through this method, the idea is to explore the topic of migration as a global issue and a fundamental theme of humanity. All forms of migration are addressed: whether it be migration chosen to work, study, discover another environment, or “forced” economic, environmental or political migration.

To explore these topics, the method proposes to build a digital role-playing game with the participants, and then to experiment with it together. In groups, the young people will create their avatars and imaginary countries with their own characteristics. The young people will then navigate through these different worlds, as political, climatic or social events occur. Through this game, they will experience migratory movements, successively playing the role of the host country or the new arrivals. The objective is to open a collective discussion on the theme of migration from new perspectives or problems that they will have experienced through the game.

The method also offers the possibility to finalise the workshop with a theatrical performance, drawing on the experience and stories created during the game.

Course of the workshop proposed by the method

The method proposes to start the online workshop with icebreaking exercises adapted to an intercultural context (Chinese portrait, mirror exercise etc). A discussion on migration is then set up to start the exchanges on the explored theme. 

After this introduction, it’s time for the young people to create the role-playing game!

Participants start by creating their avatars and choosing 7 objects that they will use during the game. Divided into groups in different rooms of the videoconference platform, the young people then create their own imaginary country, using a questionnaire addressing several aspects (name, values, strengths and weaknesses of the country, what is valued or not, rules in force, relationship to other countries etc.).

After creating their characters and their world, the participants discuss what their imaginary country brings to them and their motivation for moving. In this way, they build their common ideal world and give themselves a role in their new ideal society.

Each group then presents their country to the others, through short performances and improvised scenes.

Once the characters and worlds have been created, it’s time to experiment!

During the game, each character will have the possibility to travel, to move through the different countries (different rooms of the videoconference platform) or to stay in their own country.
Each group will decide on the arrivals modalities of their country, with the help of a questionnaire that addresses several aspects (what would be the possible motivations for coming to the country, what are the reception conditions and the steps to follow for those who arrive, what are their rights, the proposed resources etc). 

Several rounds of movements/trips are then organised. Depending on the location of each character, they can choose to stay at home, return home, flee, travel to another country, etc. Depending on these choices and on their movements, they may have to part with some of their belongings.
When a character arrives in a country, an improvised performance is played by the participants (arriving and welcoming). Through this experience, the young people experience several migration situations from different perspectives.

Following these different situations, the young people discuss what they have just experienced, what was interesting, what conflicts occurred, what solutions could be imagined. The game leader then organises a feedback session to discuss how the participants felt during the game and what they discovered. 

What does it mean to welcome a stranger? How does it feel to arrive in a new country?

To conclude the experience, the young people can then create a performance based on the stories created during the game. Bodywork is then proposed, working on the emotional gesture to create a choreography. Each participant has to find a movement to express what his or her character has felt during the workshop experience. 

What happens when two people with different gestures meet?

Workshop test of the method

The method was therefore tested on Sunday 6 March 2022, during an international online workshop conducted by Hélios Theater. 

About thirty participants from Germany, India (Lagos, Srinagar, New Delhi, Kolkata, Gurgaon) and Nigeria gathered to test the method, create and experiment with their role play. 

The experience was a real success! It allowed participants from the 4 corners of the world to come together across borders, to meet, exchange and create together, exploring the theme of migration.

Thanks to this test and the first feedback, The Transplanisphere, ExQuorum, and Helios Theater will improve the proposed method. In May, the other project partners will be trained in the method so that they can implement it in their own projects. It will finally be published in open access this summer!

Ready for this immersive and participative experience? See you this summer!

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