In the Wings: Role Play Exercise for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour Resilience


Participants in the workshop will have the opportunity to join break-out rooms and enact a role-play exercise about racism and resistance co-authored by students, faculty, and recent graduates from Canadian post-secondary institutions. This role-play seeks to facilitate critical and creative reflections about systemic racism, hierarchies of knowledge and expertise, and structural inequities embedded in universities.

Following the role-play, there will be a group discussion and conversation about how students and faculty experience these systemic issues in their everyday lives. We anticipate that these discussions and conversations will involve knowledge-sharing about the ongoing legacies of oppression within which pedagogy and research take place as well as the potential of education as a decolonial practice.

CONTENT WARNING: This exercise includes content that some may find disturbing, traumatizing and/or offensive. It will touch on topics of police brutality, racism, colonialism and violence. We ask that all participants help create an atmosphere of mutual respect and sensitivity. If someone is triggered by the material, please refer them to the General Resources section at the end of the Facilitation Guide.

The “In the Wings” role-play exercise kit includes the following:

You can click on each title above each document, or you can find a bundled PDF here: “In the Wings: Role-play Exercise for Black, Indigenous and People of Colour Resilience

Facilitation Guide:

The Facilitation Guide will serve to support you and all of the participants as you go through exercise. The guide includes a list of instructions of choosing your facilitator, assigning characters, starting the role-play and facilitating the discussion session. The facilitation guide will also include resources to support the facilitator, as well as general resources for participants.

Character Cards:

The Character Cards provides a bief background introduction to the main characters in each Act. The main characters are: Inazuma, Taaj. Dr. Panthère, Kayiman, Dr. Gavel, Kipanga, and Mr. Länsman. There are also 3 supporting characters with no Character Cards: Achimwis (the narrator), Colleague 1, and Colleague 2.

Role Play – Act 1:

Act 1 follows the story of an investigation that was lead by Kayiman, a student equity representative, after a group of racialized students, complained about a professor, Dr. Gavel, who was taking a harmful ‘devil’s advocate’ approach to teaching and gaslighting any student concerns that arose.

Role Play – Act 2:

Act 2 follows the story of Taaj’s experience as a racialized student working within the university administration during the summer of 2020 when incidents of anti-Black racism and police brutality were at the forefront of mainstream media.

Role Play – Act 3:

Act 3 follows the story of Inazuma, a Black student who was racially profiled by Mr. Länsman, a campus security officer, as he was entering the library to study.


Final Remarks

Once you’ve completed the role-play and discussion questions, take some to unwind. Whether it’s organizing a debrief session with participants, going on a walk, or spending some 1-on-1 time with your pet, make sure to do something that makes you feel good and rested.

If you get the chance to take a moment and reflect on your experience going through the role-play, we welcome any feedback you may have for the authors. We would love to hear from you. We are also open to welcoming new members onto our team as we continue to edit, refine and rework this role-play to provide tools for this workshop in multiple languages, accessible formats and with expanded content. Please Feel free to reach out to us by email:

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