Play this game to contribute to policy making
By Express News Service | Published: 12th September 2017 10:38 PM |
BENGALURU: A game modelled on real-life research and data will provide Bengalureans a firsthand, immersive experience of the intersecting dimensions of gender, caste, and class; how these dimensions frame our view of the world; and how intricately they are bound. The physical multi-player game ‘Made to Order’ is built by Fields of View, a not-for-profit research group based in Bengaluru that designs games and simulations to help make better public policy.
In the game, players will navigate through a given space (roughly a 10ftX10ft) by making certain decisions at different points. In making these decisions, the players will grapple with how caste, class, and gender intersect with each other, and have a firsthand immersive experience of the conflicts and constraints these dimensions pose, says Sruthi Krishnan, co-founder and researcher at Fields of View.
Policies are complex and affect people in different ways, believes Bharath M. Palavalli, co-founder and researcher at Fields of View.
So, how can policy-makers, who are faced with the challenge of accounting for this diverse set of needs, make policies that are more relevant, responsive and rapid? “What we need are tools that can account for this diversity, deal with intangible data, include our needs in the policy making process and allow us to explore and test different possibilities of the policy,” suggests Bharath. There is no ‘best’ or ‘most-efficient’ or ‘the only’ policy, each version of a policy affects different sets of people differently, he says. “Thus, we need tools that help us understand the effects of these trade-offs,” he adds. Bharath believes that games allow people to participate in the policy-making process, provide feedback on likely outcomes and engage with the policy.
“Simulations allow us to test different trade-offs and explore the outcome space to ensure we can rule out disastrous consequences,” he adds.Any discussion on gender is also a discussion of caste and any discussion on gender is also a discussion of class, says Sruthi. For instance, an overwhelming majority of contract Powrakarmikas are women, and 97 per cent of them are from the Madiga community, a community that has been historically forced to perform labour considered menial by other dominant castes, she informs. “These women face resistance in accessing other occupations because of their caste. In addition, they have to put up with verbal, physical, and sexual abuse from contractors, most of whom are men from a dominant caste community,” she adds. Thus, the ways in which questions related to gender are transformed when they intersect with caste and class may not be so readily apparent in many cases.
“Does a woman working as domestic help for a woman who is the CEO of her organisation get maternity leave? What about a same-sex marriage advertisement that specifies a particular caste,” asks Sruthi.
What the team proposes to do in their project is to create a game that will let the audience take a step back and explore these intersecting dimensions of gender, caste, class, how they frame our view of the world, and how intricately they are bound. “The game will draw from real-life data, both qualitative and quantitative,” says Sruthi.The project has received a grant from Sandbox Collective and Goethe Institut as part of Gender Bender.