Meynell Plays Ltd.
Meynell Plays Ltd.

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First things first!

It is going to be impossible for you to get to see and do everything that is going on over these two days!

The content is too vast with over 40 different aspects on Tuesday and over 30 on Wednesday! The key is to choose carefully what you would most like to experience.

You can choose in different ways:

Choose by track

Choose by specific subject

Choose by level

Choose by the person delivering

Or don’t choose: let a colleague tell you

We know there are far too many sessions, debates, discussions, papers etc. for you to get to do everything. We could offer only a limited number of sessions but then we wouldn’t be giving you the widest number of opportunities and that’s just not the way we do things!!!!!!!!!!!

So it is really important that you plan your Conference journey.

If you are here with colleagues don’t expect to hang out with each other – there’s too much to see and do. Go to separate sessions and feedback afterwards.

Try to think about what it is you really want to learn or to get out of your time here at Conference.

Is it a particular subject matter, like playwork theory?

Or are there specific people you want to hear deliver?

Or do you want to be up skilled in a certain area, perhaps on children’s rights?

Or are you here to network, to visit the exhibitors, to find a training organisation or a place for you to study?

The best way to approach conference is to choose 3 sessions you want to go to on Tuesday and 2 sessions you want to go to on Wednesday. It’s about choosing what you think is going to be most useful or beneficial to you, if you can then fit something else in, then that’s a bonus

As Conference organisers we want you to get as much out of this event as you can and the Conference staff are here to help you achieve that. Obviously, the two days are designed primarily for learning, both personal and professional development, but they also provide a fantastic opportunity for you to meet and network with other people in the playwork field: academics and theorists, trainers, writers, service providers and students.

On each day there are a number of different types of experiences you could have: sessions; colloquia; interactives; installation; networking etc.

Answers to questions [that you might not have thought about]

Are any sessions repeated?

No, everything happens just the once – that’s why we suggest you always come to Conference with a friend, go to different things and share later! We are trying this year to record some sessions in the hope that we may be able to put them up on our website later.

Do I have to go to sessions?

It’s your Conference; you get to decide what you are going to engage in [a bit like a child and their play!]

Where’s the nearest cash point?

There is one in the pub next door but you have to pay for it. Otherwise it’s a 5 minute walk to the town centre.

How do I meet someone whose name I have seen on the delegates list?

Approach one of the Conference Team and we shall endeavour to introduce you. We have most people’s mobile numbers so we can send them a text to help you meet up


In the Devonshire Halls are our ‘session rooms’. The ‘tracks’ take place in these rooms. A track is a loosely linked set of sessions following the same theme. You don’t have to stay on the same track all day but if, for example, you are interested in “Risk” then you could spend Tuesday following Track 3 in Room 3. Alternatively you may be interested in the “Understanding ‘not play’” session delivered by Jacky Kilvington on Track 2 and then want to go to “The Role of the Playworker according to the Playwork Principles” with Karen Benjamin on Track 4. Even though it is on another track and in a different room - that is okay!

We call them ‘sessions’ because each one may be delivered in a unique way. As always the ‘session’s’ contain many formats: papers being presented; interactive hands on; experiential; discussions; workshops; powerpoint presentations and debate; film and audio and so much more!

Sessions will be taking place all day long on Tuesday and until 14:00 on Wednesday and as they don’t all start and finish at the same time - moving quietly from yours when it finishes will avoid disturbing the others that are still continuing!

We only limit the number of participants in a session where it says specifically in the programme that there is a maximum number.

If all the chairs are in use, not to worry, there will be more chairs outside the room!

The whole approach of ‘freely chosen’ applies to your movements around the Conference; all we do ask is that you recognise that sessions in the seminar rooms have a start and finish time and that the facilitator will have planned a session that is progressive, moving from the beginning to the end. All session facilitators will be given a sign that says“Please respect that this session has already commenced and find yourself an alternative enjoyment”. If they have put the sign on the door that means you will have to go to something else.

It is disruptive to arrive late and discourteous to leave early.

If, as you plan your day, you discover that there is an unavoidable overlap between two sessions that you desperately want to be part of – how about finding the facilitator and asking them if it is okay to arrive 10 minutes, 20 minutes late? All the facilitator’s pictures are further along in the Conference Journey Planner or ask one of the very helpful Meynell Games team to point you in the right direction.

We could have started and finished the sessions all at the same time. We don’t. This is to force you to think about which session you want to go to and it also makes it hard for you to go to sessions back to back with each other. This means that you will get time to breathe and time to reflect!


To try to make finding the session room that you want easier we have this year, put Track 1 in Room 1 and Track 2 in Room 2 etc. On Tuesday there are 8 tracks [Tracks 1 – 8] and on Wednesday there are again 8 tracks but numbered 9 – 16. This means that the rooms are numbered from 1 – 8 on Tuesday and on Wednesday they are numbered 9 – 16. The location of each room is shown on the layout plan


Getting started: You are new to the subject, you haven’t covered it before; you don’t really know what it’s about. Ideal for face to face workers and learners on playwork qualifications

Moving on: You have been working in playwork for a while. You probably know it but might not be completely comfortable with the language or have all the complexities of the subject sorted in your head. A session that takes the subject to a greater depth. Ideal for experienced playwork practitioners and tutors/trainers

Give me more!: For those of you who have been around the playwork block a few times! Time to extend your thinking, take your current knowledge and understanding to another level or introduce concepts that you haven’t already encountered. Aimed at playwork graduates, highly experienced playworkers and well read trainers and tutors.

Hopefully this will help with your decision making about the level you wish to engage at.

If you need help choosing do come and talk to me [Meynell] or another member of the Conference team and we will try to guide and advise you.


Defined as “usually an academic meeting at which specialists deliver an address on a topic or on related topics and then answer questions relating to them.”

Our Colloquium is where a learned academic or social thinker presents a paper, related to play and/or playwork for approximately 45 minutes and then, after a quick refreshment break the group resumes around a ‘board room table’ to ask questions and explore, critique and clarify the issues raised in the presentation of the paper

This very exciting approach will be limited to 30 participants in each session and places will have to be booked in advance on the sign up board by the Colloquium entrance. This board will be made available from 9:30 on Tuesday morning
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The National Playwork Conference is brought to you by: Training, Playwork and Play CIC: 13575861 11 Beachy Head Road, Eastbourne BN20 7QN 01323 730500