Go Deep

Authors: Andy Smith and Pat Black

Diversity Matters is a small organisation based in Scotland that develops inclusive ways to bring people together and is one of the organisations behind the development of the Go Deep Game.

Go Deep is a game that can be played by any group of people who want more for their communities and neighbourhoods. It facilities change at different levels, supporting personal awareness, teamwork, community and group transformation. It has won a Global Education Award for Innovation and two new versions are in development involving partner organisations in 7 countries.

Go Deep players and facilitators in southern Italy 2016

It's designed to help groups strengthen their awareness about the resources and talents that exist in a community and to discover their personal assets, gifts, strengths and dreams. Participants learn how to navigate difficulties and challenges positively. Version 1 was developed with a European Union Erasmus+ grant and focused on young-people (see the group photo above). When playing the game they find out more about themselves and their community and make long lasting change more likely. 

The game will be downloadable online and consists of a set of cards, a guide book and a participant journal. 

The game has three phases and takes between 2 and 4 days to play.

Phase 1. Getting Ready - builds awareness about the assets, talents, dreams and resources in the team and community while strengthening teamwork and personal awareness.

Phase 2. A journey on an imaginary metro line deep beneath the city or community. This is the heart of the game, where the group makes a choice to face challenges at each station stop. At many of these ‘stops’ the group must engage or connect with the wider community. Each metro line requires a final goal to create a real community action or transformation that the players and wider community define. (See the metro lines in the image below.)

Phase 3. Arriving also invites a Re-evolution. After the community transformation or event has taken place its time to realise what has been learned, focus on sustainability, dream anew and re- evolve. Where next, who next, what next and how?

Go Deep metro lines

Go Deep is a game because it involves some of the key ingredients of play: it has a mixture of challenges, develops skills, has competition, rewards, celebration, seriousness and fun. As the players progress they dramatically increase their knowledge of the community's real wealth, widening their membership and over a period of 2 to 3 days, players create a community action or change.

Examples from the 14 games that have been played so far include: making community spaces more beautiful, running a food festival, creating murals, music events, community theatre, sculptures and more. 

In every game, people achieve change and stronger links and relationships emerge.

The method behind the game

The game builds on two well established methods:

  1. Oasis which is an asset based community transformation game developed by Elos in Brazil “Elos" in Portuguese means “links” and stands for the power of transformative relationships made in the course of community change. The Oasis Game has been played well over 300 times and involved over 25,000 people so far in many countries. One of the challenges as been about longer term sustainability, helping people keep the energy up after initial changes and how to deal with conflicts that arise when any community starts to use and mobilise its assets.
  2. Processwork is a facilitation method that focusses on awareness and how to welcome and transform conflict. Processwork uses methods like Deep Democracy to help groups and communities create more awareness understanding and sustainable change. Through Open Forums, large group and community meetings and Worldwork events, it has developed a range of ways to work with diversity, conflict and dynamics of rank and power. All voices and modes of perception, and perspectives are welcomed, including more subjective experiences. Processwork training centres exist in 23 countries worldwide.

The Go Deep game was developed by facilitators and community leaders from 5 countries, workshops were held in Scotland, Spain and the Netherlands integrating and gathering the expertise of young-people and youth leaders. Our first full scale version was run in Puglia in the south of Italy in October 2016. 

In the following video, facilitators, volunteers and local citizens talk about their experiences being in the game.

Version 3 is now in preparation and games have been played in 14 various localities in Italy and Spain while 18 more are planned in other countries, including at least three in Scotland in 2018. Impact assessments will be researched this year in Greece, Scotland, Spain and Italy.

Visit the Diversity Matters website for more information.

The project was grant funded by the European Union through Erasmus+. Partners involved: Xena Centro Scambi e dinamiche interculturali (Itlay), Altekio (Spain), Comunitazione (Italy), Diversity Matters (Scotland, UK), Elos (Netherlands) and Elos (Brazil). additional partners through to 2019 are Faculty of Science of the University of Lisbon: Centre for ecology, evolution and environmental change (Portugal) and a partnership of the Processwork Hub and The Athenian Institute of Anthrophos (Greece).

The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Go Deep © Diversity Matters 2017.

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