Aim This activity aims to help students achieve a better understanding of their experiences of privilege and oppression, as well as those of other students. Flower Power promotes a fuller understanding of the different aspects of our identity and facilitates discussion around how the impacts of some categories may be felt more strongly in current society. Students are encouraged to think about the relevance of this activity to their time at Warwick and how the activity relates to challenges and solutions in their discipline. Students also explore what community means to them by linking the activity to Warwick Values.
- Online and in-person variant.
- Estimated time: 1 hour (less time required if the flowers were completed in advance).
- Would work well as a general community-building activity.
- Would work well to introduce intersectionality - we are members of more than one community at the same time and can experience oppression and privilege simultaneously.
How to carry out the activity
Students are given the drawing of a flower (or they can draw their own): a circle in the middle surrounded by petals. Example flower templates for you to use.
Each petal has the name of an axis of differentiation/marginalization. Some examples are race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, language, ability, immigration status, class background.
Students are told to color the inside half of the petal if they feel marginalized in that particular category and to color the outside half if they feel they are privileged. They can also color the full petal if they feel they are both privileged and oppressed in a certain category. Suggested time: 15 minutes.
This is followed by a conversation on the activity. Suggested time: 45 minutes. Here are some suggested prompts but you may develop your own:
- What did students learn about privilege and oppression from colouring their flowers?
- The facilitator could share some pre-prepared examples of completed flowers (no students are expected to share their own completed flowers). What do students think after seeing those coloured by others?
- What categories were missing from the petals?
- Are the impacts of some categories felt in a stronger way than others?
- What is the relevance of this activity to the students' time at Warwick?
- What are the connections to your discipline?
- As part of the discussion, share the Warwick Values page so students can see the five values. Encourage students to reflect on their understanding of the values and of the Warwick community having just participated in this activity.
Adaptation for online groups
- For smaller groups (suggested under 50), make use of breakout rooms on TeamsLink opens in a new window.
- Use a Padlet to capture discussion points. Here is an example Padlet we set upLink opens in a new window for this activity.
Example flower template:
Reflection on the experience of planning and/or delivering the activity
Submitted by Carolina Alonso Bejarano, School of Law.
Why do this activity? This activity has worked well for me in the past. Students appreciate the opportunity to share their experiences in a different way, and they enjoy coloring in class. Some students resist the activity, though. Some of them wonder what coloring has to do with their classes and some don’t want to share their experiences of marginalization with everyone (CVEP has added variations to make the activity more anonymised).
What works well? In the future, I would make the flowers anonymous [if any] sharing takes place. I would also let the students draw their own flowers and give each petal a different size depending on how important each category is to their experience of the world.
Ng, W. (n.d.). A Tool for Everyone: Revelations from the “Power Flower”. Retrieved February 8, 2015, from http://lgbtq2stoolkit.learningcommunity.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/flower-power-exercise.pdf
Thank you to Carolina Alonso Bejarano, School of Law for sharing this activity.
The CVEP team has included adaptations for moving this activity online and for keeping outputs anonymous.
"Students appreciate the opportunity to share their experiences in a different way, and they enjoy coloring in class."
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