‘Homeless Monopoly’ is a research project initially funded via the University of Warwick and Coventry University City of Culture Open Call. Using co-creative arts methodology and the approach of gamification, ‘Homeless Monopoly’ has involved the creation of a prototype board-game featuring real-life testimonies and scenarios of homeless and ex-homeless people in the Coventry area.
Image credit Simon Peter Green
The project team, Nadine Holdsworth (Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Warwick) and Jackie Calderwood (formerly Disruptive Media Lab, Coventry University) have worked closely with focus groups of staff and service-users from their project partner, Coventry Cyrenians, a charity that works to support those with experience of homelessness in the city.
This collaborative approach has enabled the project team to create a realistic portrayal of the problems and struggles that homeless people in Coventry (and elsewhere in the UK) face on a daily basis, with a view to raising awareness and encouraging empathy in young people.
During the game, players try to gather resources, collect coins and make it through real-world trials and tribulations such as bereavement, addiction, abusive relationships and severe weather in order to get the key to their very own home. Along the way, players are invited to share their views and advice on ways forward for those experiencing homelessness or those who want to help.
To date the game has been piloted with pupils from Cardinal Newman School; students from Coventry University, CU Online and the University of Warwick; staff from Coventry University’s Disruptive Media Learning Lab and Coventry City Council. ‘Homeless Monopoly’ won joint first prize for a Game in Development at the European Conference of Game-Based Learning held in Denmark in October 2019.
Understanding Homelessness: A Creative Toolkit - click on the image to register and download.
Designed by Nadine Holdsworth as a resource for teachers, youth groups, and other voluntary organisations working with people aged 14 and above, the Understanding Homelessness Creative Toolkit can help you to help others approach the complex issues around homelessness.
Containing information, things to discuss and a range of exercises to develop written, visual
and drama-based responses the toolkit could be used for Active Citizenship, Tutor Time, PSHE and within the curriculum.
‘The local specificity of the game was really effective and meant I learnt a lot about services and experiences relevant to Coventry’ – pilot player
‘It creates community and brings people together’ – pilot player
‘It’s completely relatable, a very lived experience’ – pilot player
‘The game is very informative. great idea to ask advice from players. Helps people problem solve’ – pilot player
‘I don’t think these issues around homelessness are openly discussed…so this game really encouraged me to dig down on my own opinions and prejudices’ – pilot player