10 Voting with your Feet

When working with large groups it can be a difficult task for the Joker to quickly see how people are responding to certain things that are happening. Using the technique “Voting with your feet,” we invite learners to get on their feet and respond to questions by standing in specific areas. For example, in Who Would You Like to Work With (Chapter 12), we might ask learners to stand behind the statue that they would most like to work with in a group project. This can give us quick surface level insights of the choices that co-learners are making and enable us to move into a deeper discussion as to why certain choices were made.

This can also be utilized as a Likert Scale. The middle of the room represents ‘neutral’. The far ends represent ‘strongly agree’ or ‘strongly disagree’. Participants answer a question by positioning themselves across the room. For example, in How Can I Help You? (Chapter 13), choose one of the voices and ask participants how sincere they believed the voice to be. On one side would be ‘very sincere’ and the other side would be ‘not sincere at all’. Participants then “vote with their feet” to indicate their preferences along an imaginary Likert Scale in the room.

Online Variation: Mentimeter and Chat Bursts

When we moved to performing in online formats during the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to recreate this technique to fit an online format. First, we use the chat to create a ‘chat burst.’ This involves all participants voting in the chat all at once. For example, in Who Would You like to Work With? (Chapter 12), we ask participants to choose the statue they would most like to work with by entering a number from 1-6 in the chat (see Image 1 in Chapter 12). This gives a general idea of participant’s initial preferences and offers a launching point for discussion. You may ask why certain people chose certain statues or highlight that only one or two people chose another.

After discussion, we use Mentimeter. This is an online presentation tool that allows learners to respond to prompts in real-time and so to further delve into perceptions and assumptions about one of the statues in Who Would You like to Work With? As the Joker, choose one of the statues and prompt participants by asking them to describe the statue in up to six separate words. Mentimeter will then create a word cloud that will enlarge the words that have been written by multiple participants. This can spark discussion on the variation of words that have been chosen. During the debrief, juxtaposing different perspectives can generate insightful discussions.

Considerations while Jokering

  • Who Would You Like to Work With? is a image-based scene with no audible dialogue. As a contrast, we have also created a second version of this scene: How can I help you? This second scene uses voice only and has no visible content. Depending on your context, one of these scenes may be more useful than another. (For example, if you are training learners to be Telehealth leaders, the audio only version may be extremely useful in exploring potential biases that might come into play during voice only Telehealth calls.)
  • You may also want to use both Who would you like to work with? and How can I help? you as a way to introduce a discussion on the assumptions we make when we have only visual or only audio information in isolation.

Examples of Voting with your Feet

  • Who Would You like to Work With? (See Chapter 12)
  • How Can I Help you? (See Chapter 13)
  • What’s in a Title? (See Chapter 14)


Haunting our Biases: Using Participatory Theatre to Interrupt Implicit Bias Copyright © 2022 by Kevin Hobbs; Michael Martin Metz; Nadia Ganesh; Sheila O'Keefe-McCarthy; Joe Norris; Sandy Howe; and Valerie Michaelson. All Rights Reserved.

Share This Book