My card game, Boumerang
Let Boumerang help you feel the weight and excitement of social activism. In 45-minute, 60-minute, or 90-minute workshop sessions of my card game, participants immerse themselves in the world of activism.
The session introduces challenging scenarios to players. Each card depicts a community member - the local pub, the neighboring church, the loud music band next door - and it requires groups to brainstorm creative ideas to get these people on board with a social campaign.
I always cater my sessions to the hosting institutions' needs. Through fictive premises, crisis mode interferences and last-minute re-shuffling, participants from various backgrounds can work on campaigns that are in line with their own area.
Here are examples. The video below sums up a session at New York University for a class called "Media & The Humanitarian Impulse." Its undergraduate students have been studying & critiquing international humanitarian initiatives all semester - so I put them to the test by plunging them in their own activism. Play the video to see what they came up with!
After undergrads, I workshopped the game at a master's level with law students from around the Arab world. Part of an initiative funded by the Wallenberg Institute, these students were hosted by Beirut Arab University to attend a summer program around refugees' rights. I therefore assigned each group with a unique scenario involving a current or historical refugee crisis. The campaigns the students built responded directly to such crises - expanding their understanding of the refugee experience by coming up with incredible, metaphor-ridden PSAs & creative fundraising schemes to support refugees. Of course they had to include a few lawyers within their campaigns too - but I made it slightly difficult for them by making only the lawyers' interns available!
After academia, I decided to take the game to organizations. Nobel-nominated NGO Amel Association invited me to set up a workshop in their communication department. The media team briefed us about their recent projects and we therefore tailored the session depending on the challenges they have faced in organizing, especially with regards to budgeting. After the session, the head of the department admitted being in awe of new fundraising methods in her mind, some in the most unlikely places, which the game had guided her toward. We can only assume whether the team eventually used some of their ideas in real-life, but what they came up with was definitely worth replicating!
With the academic and humanitarian terrains off our bucket list, I moved to the tech world. Nice group with cool gadgets - but how to get them interested in social change? I was invited to workshop the game at NYU's first Technology Summit. The keynote speaker was Facebook's Head of its Artificial Intelligence Department & most sessions selected involved some crazy technologies - my card game sounded pre-historic. Yikes. Thankfully, I tailored the session to the needs of the summit. The participants were introduced to three social campaigns - involving Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Holograms. They were then faced with exciting premises that required them to use such technologies within their own campaigns. Of course, the crisis mode in this case had something to do with the downsides of technology - often some bug or algorithmic error!
After successful trials, I am now ready to run this workshop whenever a university, organization, or group of people are interested in it. Free of charge - as long as transportation is managed. The picture is another recent achievement - being flown all the way to Los Angeles to workshop the game in the University of Southern California, as part of Out to Innovate, a summit seeking to empower LGBTQ+ STEM students and professionals. NASA folks, you know? The brilliant participants had to get the attention of the LA Times regarding a crackdown on LGBTQ+ members in Chechnya. The celebrity bribing scandal looming around USC served as the perfect crisis mode challenge to the session - some celebrity was cashing in on ad dollars at the LA Times. Will the newspaper cover this wannabe or the kick-ass creative campaign the participants came up with?
If you are pressed & cannot wait to schedule a session, feel free to access a free printable version of the game. Click Part One and Part Two. You can also order a physical card deck in the link below for regular use.
For standard instructions, download this PDF. And additional instructions here. Feel free to reach out to me in case you wanted some ideas to tailor the game more toward your needs. I'll send out some suggestions!