RealTalk is an innovative workshop that has been developed in partnership with Streetvibe Young Peoples Service in Leicester. It aims to raise awareness of far right extremism and build resilience to radicalisation amongst young people through a series of interactive workshops that use augmented reality technology to:
The main aspect of the workshop uses augmented reality, a mixture of real life and virtual reality viewed through a tablet or smartphone, whereby life size banners of various individuals effectively come to life to share their personal experiences. Participants hear directly from diverse voices including a former gang member, a former English Defence League organiser, a former football casual and a former recruiter for neo-Nazi group Combat 18. Their stories demonstrate how their lives have been affected by extremism and they challenge the preconceptions that people may have about them based solely on their appearance.
The workshop also utilises a large magnetic wall representing the political spectrum, and cue cards featuring a variety of organisations, including extreme right wing groups, far right groups, far left groups and mainstream political parties. The challenge for participants is to place the cue cards at appropriate points on the wall to symbolise where the groups fit in the broader landscape.
This raises issues about how students perceive groups such as Britain First and the EDL and encourages discussion about what constitutes an extremist group.
RealTalk tackles issues around fake news and propaganda by giving participants a series of cue cards detailing genuine local and national news stories. They are then asked to determine which stories are true and false. Facilitators then offer tips on how to effectively sort fact from fiction and read between the lines.
Extremism encourages people to view the world in binary, black and white terms. RealTalk’s aim is to introduce shades of grey and encourage deeper thinking and dialogue in order to promote critical thinking and build resilience against radicalisation.
The workshop lasts approximately one hour in total and is effective in a variety of settings, eg. classroom-based settings for up to 20 participants, dynamic pop-up sessions in a large social space (foyer, canteen etc.) or street-based (basketball court, housing estate etc.) The materials required for RealTalk are fully collapsible and portable.