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Current Research

Hear from the new thinkers of today and tomorrow about how they are advancing our thinking about play and playwork.


24) Children's 'Genderous' Toy Stories

Sarah Goldsmith

For my PhD I am exploring children's knowledge and understanding of toys and gender. Are their stories about toys 'genderous'? Come along and find out!

Time: 9:30 - 11:00 Length: 1 Hour 30 Minutes Aimed at: Getting there

Relevant to Playwork Principle 6

This is new research and how it can be encorperated into playwork practice

25) Children, Mobile Digital Technology & Outdoor Play

Chris Martin

The session introduces the initial results of fieldwork investigating the relationship between children and mobile digital technology in outdoor play, based in an adventure playground in southwest England. It is part of a PhD that takes a detailed looks at how children and mobile digital technology mix together in outdoor play, suggesting different ways of looking at the issues.

The research examines how modern childhoods are still full of play and wonder, and makes the case that this new normal is no less important than any other childhood. It examines how children combine play in digital spaces and with digital tools while still climbing trees, making dens, and chasing each other.

Time: 11:15 - 12:15 Length: 1 Hour Aimed at: For Anyone

Relevant to Playwork Principle 5

The session explores how children are incorporating digital spaces into physical ones, and provide an opportunity to discuss issues and playworker responses.

26) Exploring the buzz: playful affective atmospheres

Julia Sexton

We have probably all felt the buzz of a space, its affective atmosphere, the feel or mood of the space. However, as a playworker, explaining this buzz to others is often difficult because words frequently fall short of being able to fully evoke the richness of the everydayness of children’s environments, especially the more intangible aspects of emotion and mood.  This session will draw on posthuman participatory action research (PAR) undertaken for my MA in Play and Playwork with playworkers at an adventure playground. It will share key aspects of the research especially the use of creative methods such as photography; video and storytelling to attune to and articulate the buzz.

Time: 12:15 - 13:15 Length: 1 Hour Aimed at: For Anyone

Relevant to Playwork Principle 7

Through understanding more about playful affective atmospheres, playworkers can deepen their understanding of their own impact on the play space and the impact of children and young people’s play on the playworker.  Using creative methods such as photography; video and storytelling offers opportunities to attune to different affective aspects. This can aid playworkers in being responsive to the conditions which support playful affective atmospheres.

27) Play in the USA

Suzanna Law

Pop-Up Adventure Play has been working hard to support child-directed play all over the world, but it all started in the USA. Join this session to hear about what's been going on, and how it has impacted the PhD research done by Suzanna, one half of Pop-Up Adventure Play. Could the USA be bordering on a play movement?

Time: 13:30 - 14:30 Length: 1 Hour Aimed at: For Anyone

Relevant to Playwork Principle 4

This is about adults finding a way to work around adult agendas to ensure that children's play can happen.


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