Second selfie-treasure hunt with refugees in Utrecht

Great success! Two weeks ago we played the selfie-treasure hunt with refugees from the Utrecht refugee center to have them playfully explore the city. The selfie-treasure hunt is developed by me and my fellow PhD candidate Sjors Martens, and research master students Nico Lopez Coombs and Arash Ghajarjazi. The main objective of the game was to create a safe and playful way for this vulnerable group to explore the city. This is the second time we’ve played it.

The neighbourhood as playground

The first play test took place in Lombok, since the refugees were staying in the Beatrix building in the Jaarbeurs. However, the present group is staying in Kanaleneiland, so this time the game’s location was Park Transwijk. Tokens were hidden in the park and hints were given via a photomap. The objective was to collect as many team selfies with the tokens, using their own phones. Points were allocated to the selfies, and the team with the most points won the game.


Selfies as digital memory

Selfie1During the game, players are experiencing the neighbourhood through the lens of play. It provides the opportunity for this vulnerable group to explore the city while at the same time having fun. After the game, players still have the selfies stored in their phones, making these pictures a digital souvenir of a positive memory.

Playing in other cities

So far, 32 refugees have participated in the play tests. In 2016, the game will be played in Belgium in collaboration with the University of Liège. However, hopefully we will play the game in other cities as well.

If you have suggestions on other locations to play the selfie-treasure hunt, or want to join next run, please contact me!

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