Peripheral Vision Milling | Training For Change

Peripheral Vision Milling


3rd Party Nonviolent Intervention icon3rd Party Nonviolent Intervention




Training Tool

  • give an opportunity for physical expression;
  • increase participant’s ability to be sensitive to spatial dynamics and widen people’s visual perception.

15-20 minutes


Music (optional)

How to Lead

In this exercise, participants get to practice with spatial dynamics and physical awareness and expression by non-stop walking around the room.

Get participants standing up with a very large space to walk around in (such as a mostly empty room where there is nothing to trip over). (Before beginning, you may make sure that participants understand the term “periphery” and “peripheral vision” so that it does not need to be explained during the exercise.)

Explain that this entire exercise is performed without talking. Have participants begin moving around the room without touching anyone: they can move fast, they can move slow; they can interact with the people around them, they can just walk around; they can walk low, they can walk high. Encourage them to try different things with their bodies – high and low, etc. Let people move for a while.

Tell participants to continue moving around but try to get very close to people without actually touching them. Again, people may be high – they may be low; may be fast, may be slow. (Keep them moving – don’t stop while giving new directions). Let people move for a while.

Tell participants to continue moving around but to pick one person to always keep in their peripheral vision. Explain that participants should not move their head around trying to follow the person or necessarily follow that person – just to keep them in their peripheral vision. Let people move for a while.

Tell participants to continue to keep that one person in their vision and now pick a second person to keep in their vision, reminding them to not touch anybody else in the process. Encourage participants to just move around – not necessarily move their heads around to follow the two people in the room. Let people move around for a while.

Finally, challenge participants to try to keep themselves equal distance from each of the two people while keeping both of them in their peripheral view and while still not touching or running into anyone else during the exercise. Let people move around for a short time (it can be a huge challenge!).

Finally stop the exercise. You may have participants note who they were following – encourage some laughter, too. A short debrief may be all that is necessary. Ask participants: What was it like? See if participants could notice a widening of their visual perception. Ask if participants could think of how that might be a useful skill to have and to practice.

Where This Tool Comes From

This tool comes from Sarah Halley, Playback Theatre. For more information on Playback Theatre: