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Although little is written about the role of play in community engagement in higher education, professors and administrators intuitively grasp its value in building trust and democratizing spaces, but use games thinly. This paper acknowledges the challenges of developing effective community engagement partnerships and demonstrates how and why games based in Theater of the Oppressed deepen and enhance initiatives to dissolve town / gown divisions and enable collaborative knowledge generation. Through an analysis of literature reviews and interviews, this paper makes a case for deliberately incorporating games from Theater of the Oppressed (TO) - to advance community engagement initiatives by catalyzing trust building, revealing cultural wealth, and promoting democratic values. Play itself has been defined as “the power of the imagination to disturb the world” (Sutton-Smith, 2011), and TO games can welcome the disruption to the field of community engagement in higher education and push it to its potential.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.



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