Purpose: This is a good check-in for one of the first few days of a workshop. It is especially useful for geographically diverse groups (i.e. newcomers to Canada, the Economic Immigration Lab cohorts, international students, etc.). It allows the whole group to be able to visualise the how everyone came to be in the room together - quite literally.
Materials: Masking tape or post-it notes to roughly mark out a world map on the floor. You don’t need to draw out every continent, but by indicating two or three major cities per continent, participants will have an idea about how to fill in the gaps.
Time: This check-in can be done in 15 mins.
Step 1: Have participants stand in the place on the map (roughly) where they were born. If you are working with a group of majority Canadians, make sure that you’ve made Canada quite big, so that everyone can find a spot.
Step 2: Explain that we are going to silently trace our life’s (physical) journey chronologically, spending 5 seconds in any place that a participant lived for longer than 3 months and finishing where the participant currently lives. It can be helpful to demonstrate yourself.
Step 3: Ask participants to trace their physical journey from the place where they were born to the place they live today - in silence. The group will be a bit chaotic for a while and then generally come to a standstill, perhaps with a few world travellers still moving.
Step 4: Generally, participants will all end up in the same spot (unless it is an international workshop). Debrief the activity by asking participants how it felt to trace their steps, to catch glimpses of other people’s journeys, or to feel the collective experience in the room.
The debrief can be a good place to talk about the diversity and abundance of experience in the room, and it sets up a good metaphor of a journey (i.e. the journeys we’ve come from, and the journey we’re about to take together).