Ad Hoc

an interactive zoom play

Our current scenario-based workshop is an updated and revised version of Ready to Vote titled Ad Hoc. Based on anonymized and composited interviews with faculty members from the University of California, Ad Hoc is particularly designed for university and college faculty. It is presented via the Zoom virtual platform so as to comply with current COVID-19 safety guidelines. The scenario tells the story of an ad hoc faculty meeting held over Zoom in June 2020. The Zoom meeting convenes six diverse professors in a department of computer science and goes horribly wrong due to different perspectives on social justice, disruptive behavioral patterns, and range of leadership and communication failures.

Our troupe of actors, along with two brave volunteers from each organization we visit, perform the scenario in a Zoom meeting. Immediately following the scenario, we put certain characters in the “hot seat” where the host organization’s audience gets to ask them pressing questions about the behavior, tactics, and points of view they observed in the scenario. Immediately following this Q&A session, we present the scenario’s key moments of friction again—this time allowing for spectators to become “spect-actors” (in the words of famous social theater practitioner, Augusto Boal) by freezing the action and allowing the audience to suggest solutions and interventions for the problems they observe. The actors then incorporate these audience members’ suggestions and perform new versions of each key moment, allowing participants to “reality test” their ideas for improving workplace climate.

Our work includes rigorous assessment of each of our workshops and the development of longitudinal analyses to gauge the impact of these theatrical interventions on each organization over time. This year, we also aim to write and produce customized workshop scenarios to private industries that are also dealing with intractable human relations issues in our diverse and globalized world.

Our 2021 Ad Hoc scenario is generously supported by a UC San Diego Innovation Grant for Inclusive Research Excellence.