Advocacy and games evaluation in South Africa

In March 2016, Professor Lien Tran and PhD student Soroya McFarlane traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, to conduct a qualitative research study on the use of creative methods of advocacy. Tran and McFarlane facilitated 9 focus groups with over 50 South African advocacy leaders, representing more than 15 human rights and health organizations.

Participants of the study either played Cops and Rubbers (a tabletop game designed by Professor Tran for Open Society Foundations [OSF]) or read OSF’s Criminalizing Condoms report. Both the report and game address the adverse effect the practice of using condoms as evidence of prostitution has on sex workers’ health and human rights. Participants discussed the benefits and barriers of the game and the report within the context of standard methods of advocacy.

In addition to participating in the focus groups, the local advocacy and outreach leaders were invited to attend a training session, led by Tran, on using Cops and Rubbers as an awareness and advocacy tool to support the decriminalization of condoms. More than 20 of the representatives opted to be trained as Cops and Rubbers game facilitators for use in their community outreach around Cape Town. The Sex Worker Education & Advocacy Task Force (SWEAT), South Africa’s leading sex worker human rights organization and an OSF partner, will also use the game within their human rights zone at the 2016 International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, in July 2016.

The research study and game facilitation training were funded by OSF and made possible in collaboration with SWEAT. Special thanks to Dr. Susan Morgan for her contributions as evaluation consultant.

An Evaluation of games for advocacy: A quantitative research study conducted in Cape Town, South Africa report was released in early 2017 and is available for download here.

Findings from the study will also be submitted for publication in scholarly communication journals.

Interactive Media featured in Fall 2014 Miami Magazine // Toma el Paso graces the cover

Tim Collie wrote a comprehensive article about our Interactive Media program and games at UM, including both faculty and student projects, for the Fall 2014 issue of UM’s Miami magazineToma el Paso (Make a Move) is featured on the cover and as a sidebar, and Cops and Rubbers also gets a nice mention.

Toma el Paso has been played by hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant minors in Miami since April 2014, and it will spread to Texas starting in April 2015. Stay tuned for more on my immigration games and serious games projects.

 

For the full article, visit: http://miami.univmiami.net/gaming-system/

Miami Magazine featuring UM's Interactive Media program and game projects

Miami Magazine featuring UM’s Interactive Media program + game projects; Toma el Paso graces the cover

Cops & Rubbers wins Best Overall Non-Digital Game at Meaningful Play 2014

Thank you to the Meaningful Play 2014 committee and Michigan State for a really meaningful, radical, and fun conference! I especially enjoyed meeting other academics from a variety of disciplines coming together and exploring the meaning that can be embedded in game systems. Thanks to everyone who checked out and played Cops and Rubbers, Humans vs. Mosquitoes, and Vanity at the game exhibition. A highlight was meeting my co-panelist Dan Jackson, a lawyer by trade and director of Northeastern University’s NuLawLab, and sharing our experiences on the Games for Legal Services panel. I look forward to connect with Dan and Steph Kimbro (an original panelist who couldn’t make it to Meaningful Play) in the future about our progress with legal games.

Another highlight was receiving the Best Overall Non-Digital Game Award for Cops and Rubbers. Check out photos of Cops and Rubbers at Meaningful Play!