On 23 April 2012 the Playdecide kit on Neuroscience was used in a slightly unusual setting - an art museum.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice organized a series of 4 workshops under the title "Be Creactive - four classes to reawaken adult creativity". James Bradburne, director of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence and moderator of the 4 workshops, presented this initiative describing the important role played by creativity in contemporary society: "Creativity is not limited to just the arts - it is a vital part of all human activity, and is the key to our survival in a changing world".
The first three workshops focused on creativity in verbal communication, conflict resolution and design. The last workshop looked at the role of creativity in democracy - and PlayDecide was a perfect method to demonstrate this.
The workshop started with an introduction by James Bradburne outlining the role of creativity in our life, which was followed by a short presentation of PlayDecide. I described the process that led to the development of PlayDecide and some examples of how it was used to impact the democratic process - such as in the Polka project.
Then the 33 participants started to play with the Neuroscience kit. There were 6 groups of 5-6 participants, of mixed ages and after the initial phase of reading the cards the discussions became very lively. We managed to finished on time, and had time for a short discussion afterwards.
All the participants were enthusiastic about the experience. One participant commented: "At the beginning I was a bit scared by the topic. What would I have to say in this regard? I thought it was off limits for me. But then I realized I have many things to say and to learn, and the discussion at my table was extremely interesting and engaging". This is truly a wonderful comment, something that we hear regularly after a PlayDecide session. It perfectly captures the process by which the participants become empowered to talk and take responsibility for the choices they make.
Another participant asked me, "where is the creativity in this process?" I showed him the cluster cards and the voting grid, with the space to develop the group's own policies, and I replied "here!". And he realized indeed how a deliberative process like PlayDecide is at its core a creative process where a group of people consider different options, discuss and analyze their positions, and have the possibility indeed of being creative in how they want to tackle the issues at stake.
Several participants said that the choice of having PlayDecide as the last workshop in the series was perfect - one called this the apotheosis of an extraordinary series! It was a very kind comment, and one which showed how creativity is a fundamental way of thinking which is not confined to the arts and design, but also to the democratic processes at the basis of our society.
A similar series will take place in the Fall of 2012 at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence