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This ACTIVITY is designed to highlight the difference between insider and outsider knowledge and resourcefulness. Since this is a physical ACTIVITY, and depending on the group, it may be necessary to be sensitive to issues of culture, gender or ability.



45 minutes.



A group of people.



  1. The Facilitator asks for 3 volunteers. (1 person will be an Observer, the other 2 will be Managers)
  2. With the Observer and Managers standing aside, the group is asked to stand in a circle and hold hands. They are then instructed to get themselves into a complicated tangle without letting go.
  3. When the group is in a complicated TANGLE, the Facilitator asks the Managers to place their hands behind their backs and, without touching anyone, and using verbal instructions only, tell the group how to unravel themselves. The group is advised to only follow instructions and not converse or use any initiative. (the Observer makes notes)
  4. If they are not untangled after 10 minutes the Facilitator advises the group to let go of their hands and re-form the circle.
  5. The Managers can now join the circle. The group is asked to join hands and create a new tangle.
  6. Instruct the group to untangle themselves, in silence, back into a circle. (usually 2 -3 minutes) (the Observer is still making notes!)


DISCUSSION (about 20minutes)

  1. Ask the group about following instructions. (the Managers were given the power to issue instructions)
  2. Ask the Managers about their experience of giving instructions.
  3. Invite comments from the Observer.
  4. Ask the group about their experience, in the second TANGLE, without outsiders giving instructions.
  5. Invite any further comments from the Observer.
  6. Ask the group how relevant they consider this ACTIVITY as a means of exploring power dynamics. Invite examples.


EVALUATION (10 minutes)

  1. Ask how the participants felt doing TANGLE? (for example, some may have felt personally uncomfortable)
  2. “Is TANGLE effective and relevant for the use to which it is put?”



How would the group use this ACTIVITY in the future and would they make changes? Capture, record, circulate.

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