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Jun 21, 2010 Commentary
Changing standpoint on issues, by playing

by Sally Duensing

Sally Duensing previously worked at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and is now based in London where she carries out research on science communication. In this interview, she tells about her experience as an evaluator of the Decide project, one of the most successful discussion games ever designed. Years after its creation, Decide is still used nearly all over the world. Its main strong point is that it allows to grasp the standpoint of the others and, at the same time, to express your own standpoint in a mutual exchange of experience; in addition, the interface and the game rules allow to overcome any cultural and age gaps. However, sometimes the public expects a debate with an expert rather than a dialogue among peers, whereas on other occasions the debate was inhibited especially by the presence of a scientist. In museums, discussion games often clash with the needs of members of the public, who generally have limited time. However they can still be useful to the museum activities when the results of the discussions are used to program other activities: it is a way to gather valuable information on the public’s orientations which is often underrated.

Volume 9 • Issue 02 • 2010