Shutdown! is a piece of dynamic research into what public response would be to a national power failure.
It takes the approach of an immersive story, which mitigates the behaviour-intention gap - that people are unlikely to accurately predict their response if given a traditional survey, in part because of the complexity of the issue. In Shutdown! participants are a ‘citizen review panel’ considering how the inhabitants of a fictional village responded to a week-long power outage. Through following the actions of five characters, the panel are invited to consider key questions like what constitutes essential travel, who is a critical worker and how communities can self-organise. Participants rate the various characters’ actions in relation to these categories, as well as considering how their own choices would have corresponded with those of the characters.
In a debrief, participants feed back on what information and action they would expect and/ or want from government if such an event occurred.
Commissioning notes and aims
Shutdown was commissioned by the Cabinet Office and the CRUISSE (Challenging Radical Uncertainty in Science, Society and the Environment) network.
The data collected during the game and debrief is used to inform government communications.
Cast and creative team
WRITER Rachel Briscoe | DIRECTOR Dan Barnard | MEDIA CONTENT & TECH PLATFORM Joe McAlister | ARTISTIC ASSOCIATE (NEUROSCIENCE) Kris De Meyer | CAST Stu Barter, Paul Brendan, Clare Cordier, Rachel Donovan, Kamaal Hussein, Maria Thomas