Meynell Plays Ltd.
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If, as playworkers, our purpose is to support and enable children's play, then we need to have an understanding of what play is, because if we don't, then how can we provide for the opportunity to play?

The Joy of Play/The Pain of Play: Intro to Dialudics - Professor Anna  Beresin

Play contains multitudes and this is what makes it deep. Light/heavy, silly/serious, direct/indirect, huge/miniature. Key play theorist Brian Sutton-Smith crafted a term 'dialudic' to describe play's power, rooted in the Latin word for play, 'ludic', and the words 'dialectic' and 'dialogue'.Together we will examine bite sized chunks of Brian's idea and test it as a lens for looking at play that each of us have witnessed. How is play a vessel for dialudic understanding? How does this concept expand our notion of what play is for (or not), and how might we plan for more of it? Anna will share images of her own studies of captive gorillas, her work with young artists, and her curiosity around trickiness of games.

TIME: 9:30 - 11:00 LENGTH: 1 hour 30 minutes

Understanding Play though a Post-Humanist Lens - Dr. Yinka Olusoga

The session applies a posthumanist lens, informed by Barad (2007) and Hollett and Ehret (2015), to consider children's playful and affective entanglements with the human and the more-than-human during the COVID-19 pandemic. It draws on text and images from the Play Observatory (2020-2022), a U.K. rapid response research project, which invited children and families to share examples of their play experiences via an online, multimodal survey. From a posthumanist perspective, entanglement is not static. Thus, these 'snapshots' of play from the survey, via being shared, encountered and discussed amongst those of us in this session, will enter into new, extended and emergent entanglements of affect, space, time and being.

TIME: 11:15 - 12:45 LENGTH: 1 hour 30 minutes

Play as the crucible of consciousness - Tony Delahoy

In the past play has been attributed with a broad range of benefits for the child. We will home in on and explore the question “Is there a relationship between play and human subjective reality or self-consciousness?” and if so, what is the nature of that relationship? Is it possible that play may be the crucible of consciousness in humans? The notion of play as a continuously altering state of consciousness will be explored and the possibility that play is fundamental to the development of human consciousness across all levels.

TIME: 13:00 - 14:00 LENGTH: 1 hour

The Brain that Loves to Play - Dr. Jacqueline Harding

Using bite-sized films and lively illustrations, I will explain the latest stunning brain research in terms of how creative and imaginative play works at a cellular level. I will also discuss the skillsets needed for a future generation and how these skills are fostered through sensory-based play activities. I will also explain how play impacts the nervous system and why laughter is undervalued! I challenge the historical division between play and learning in relation to the latest evidence-based brain research - drawing on my own research and that of colleagues too. I am privileged to be frequently asked to speak in the media so I enjoy breaking down complex concepts and having fun chatting.

TIME: 14:15 - 15:30 LENGTH: 1 hour 30 minutes

Playing with Winnicott - Penny Wilson

We will share a whistle-stop tour around the work of Winnicott, a man who held children's play in high esteem and learned a great deal from it which he used in his writing and psychotherapeutic practice.   There are many overlaps between his work and our own. That are well worth exploring.

TIME: 16:00 - 17:00 LENGTH 1 hour

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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