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Identifying Your Communities

Submitted by Janice McMillan

This activity opens up the conversation and makes visible the many different understandings of the term “community.” Its meaning is often taken for granted. Participants also explore how they feel in relation to certain communities or how they exclude certain people from communities they are a part of.

average rating is 5 out of 5, based on 2 votes, rating(s)
People gathered in a park playing drums

Learning Goals

  • Develop a nuanced understanding of community.

  • Critically reflect on practices of inclusion and exclusion.


Set Up: Prepare for the Activity

Provide participants with, or if doing this online ask them to have with them, drawing materials, like paper, pens, pencils, and/or markers, if they would like to draw during the activity.

Organize participants into small groups (3-4 ppl).

Begin by introducing the learning goals of this activity.

Step One: Individually Reflect on Community (10 min)

Invite participants to independently reflect on the following questions and write a few thoughts down or draw their response:

  • What does community mean for you?

  • What communities do you feel a part of?

Step Two: Generate a List of Characteristics that Constitute Community (20 min)

In small groups, invite participants to share what they have written or drawn.

Have participants reflect on the responses shared as they discuss the following questions:

  • What for your group makes up “community"?

  • What are the characteristics of a community?

Ask participants to then generate a list of characteristics that define community for their group. Invite each group to share this list on a board, shared screen, or other surface visible to everyone.

Step Three: Debrief as a Full Group (20 min)

Encourage participants to refer to the list of characteristics generated in their small groups as they discuss these questions:

  • Do you feel part of the university, workplace, or broader community where you are based? Why/why not?

  • Are there spaces where you feel like you belong and spaces in which you feel excluded?





Civic Collaboration

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average rating is 5 out of 5

February 14, 2024 at 1:03:34 AM

average rating is 5 out of 5

February 14, 2024 at 1:02:20 AM

average rating is 5 out of 5

February 11, 2024 at 3:55:15 AM

average rating is 5 out of 5

January 4, 2024 at 7:22:22 PM

average rating is 5 out of 5

December 12, 2023 at 11:56:40 PM

average rating is 5 out of 5

Lori Britt

October 3, 2023 at 5:00:05 PM

Have done this in the past, but today a group really blew me away. I did this as a Fishbowl with 7 students taking roles. Prior to the converstaion they could seek input from a few other students about what which decision they think the person in their role would support and why. I also asked them to come up with some things that were concerns for them. This 10 minute of prep time helped my role play participants really embody and feel confident in their roles. Great discussion about what deliberation looks like in practice and about how power can impact conversations and how a facilitator can try and minimize these power imbalances. I used the scenario above and assigned these roles (I was not sure my students woul be able to consider roles that would offer different perspectives): • Facilitator (non-voting) • Mayor • High school teacher • 17-year-old high school student • Transportation planner for the region • Local business owner • Economic development office for the region (your community and the surrounding communities served by the train) • 50-year-old who lost his job last year and who has been on unemployment

average rating is 4 out of 5


September 20, 2023 at 5:18:02 AM


average rating is 5 out of 5


September 20, 2023 at 5:17:25 AM

very good

average rating is 4 out of 5

September 16, 2023 at 2:25:09 PM

average rating is 5 out of 5

September 11, 2023 at 9:02:29 AM

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