Board game and its outdoor version to break down stereotypes
Wed, 05/02/2020 - 15:43
Awareness. The goal of the game is to get the residency permit, but players must overcome the everyday challenges and difficulties faced by migrants.
‘Invisible Frontiers’ was conceived as a board game with a series of squares, putting players in the shoes of migrants from Gambia and Senegal who arrive in Spain to live here and have to look for work and housing to be able to get a residency permit.
Conceived by six young scouts from the Agrupament Escolta i Guia Rudyard Kipling, Invisible Frontiers is a game for social transformation which uses education and play to reflect on the difficulties faced by migrants and refugees trying to get a Spanish residency permit.
Each square a challenge
Mercè Lou, one of the youngsters who thought up the game, explains: “We worked with migrant support associations to develop the game, such as El Espacio del Inmigrante, Tanquem els CIE and Diande Àfrica. That provided us with guidance on the circumstances and specific problems people face when they want to manage their lives here”.
Each of the squares that players land on after throwing the dice represents something to be overcome: officially accrediting studies from abroad, training to get a qualification recognised by the state, access to the labour market or opening a bank account. Education, finding a job or looking for a flat are key things in anybody’s life, but for a newly arrived person, they can be an authentic challenge.
Besides young people enjoying themselves for a while, the game is about prompting debate and reflection on everything that being a migrant means today.
Available for recreational centres and schools
The game designed by the scout group, which also makes and supplies the materials, is part of a workshop offered at recreational centres and schools in Catalonia. Mercè Lou explains that besides young people enjoying themselves for a while, the game is about “prompting debate and reflection on everything that being a migrant means today, making players resolve a series of situations where luck often plays a part”. According to Lou: “The process of migration and reception is so complex that often a throw of the dice, purely random, can shift the balance and make it really difficult to reach the final goal, which is to get the residency permit”.
Initially designed as a board game, the same team recently created a version to be played in the street, not just by children and young people, but for everyone to play at fairs and other events.
In 2016, Invisible Frontiers was recognised by the Premis Ateneus, an annual awards programme by the Federació d’Ateneus. Today, the scout group are still working to build the game into school recreational programmes, the goal being, in the creator’s words, “to break down stereotypes and prejudice suffered by people who want to start a new life in our country”.