Academic Diversity Activity: Poetry in Motion


  • To help participants express some of the key concepts related to managing diversity.
  • To demonstrate working together in teams to produce a creative product.

When to use

  • In the middle of a session
  • To close a session

Group size

12-24 participants

Time required

45-60 minutes


Pencils and writing paper

Physical setting

A room in which participants can comfortably be seated at tables.




  1. Announce the purpose and give a brief overview of the activity. Distribute pencils and paper.
  2. Ask participants to form into groups of four to six, with as much visible or known diversity (such as race, gender, department, job type, age, etc.) as possible. Then give them the following instructions: "Write a poem or song or create a dance that expresses a concept of managing diversity. Concepts to consider - but not be limited to - are valuing differences, inclusion and exclusion, sharing power and respect. You may also take an existing melody and change the words. Your performance will be limited to three minutes, and you have 30 minutes to write and rehearse." (30 minutes)
  3. Ask for volunteers. After each group performs, lead a round of applause. (20 minutes)
  4. Thank all participants for working together to share their talents and remind them that a goal of managing diversity is to blend the talents of many to create beautiful - and profitable - products.

Poetry in Motion (PDF)

Credit: Diversity Activities and Training Designs by Julie O'Mara. San Diego, California: Pfeiffer & Company, 1994.