Playful Learning 23 – Headline Acts

We are delighted to announce our three playful Headliners for 2023: spanning research and practice but connected by play.

Photo of Giskin Day, brown haired woman standing next to a wooden giraffe
Giskin Day

Giskin Day

Giskin Day has had a haphazard portfolio career. Her first degree was in flowers botany and crazy difficult science biochemistry.

After working in science publishing and at the Science Museum, she joined Imperial College London to enliven develop humanities courses for unconvinced science students. She is the sucker in charge pathway director for a hugely enjoyable deeply serious BSc in humanities, philosophy and law for disenchanted hard-working medical students.

She is also in the death throes of finishing a PhD on the topic of gratitude in healthcare at King’s College London.

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Lara Ratnaraja

Lara Ratnaraja

Lara is a Cultural Consultant who specialises in diversity, innovation, leadership, collaboration, and cultural policy implementation within HE, cultural and digital sectors. She co-created the Hello Culture event series  (how cultural and digital technology intersects), and is planning for a new series of events in Yorkshire from March 2023. 

She has developed, managed, and delivered successful ERDF, ESF, ACE, AHRC bids, and programmes working within the public sector, HE and he commercial sector. She works or has worked with the University of Birmingham, Coventry University, Birmingham City University STEAMhouse and University of Salford delivering and developing projects on diversity, digital engagement and research collaborations between arts, HEIs and SMEs. 

Other consultancy clients include Southbank, OPUS, mac, Arts Council Collection, National Theatre Wales, the ICO, CAN, Warwick Arts Centre, Jerwood Arts, FACT and Artangel and the Fifth Sector where she has worked on a number of place based  projects including Manchester, Rushmoor, Derby, Leicester and Tees Valley. 

With Helga Henry, she co-produces a series of leadership programmes:  RE:Present, ASTONish,  which supported the development of cultural leaders from diverse backgrounds so that the cultural ecology of Birmingham,  better reflects its changing demographic; AD:Vantage which  placed the vantage point of d/Deaf, neurodivergent and disabled creative practitioners at the heart of leadership and EmPOWer for OPUS,  that supported diverse Neighbourhood Producers who were part the  Commonwealth Games Festival Sites.

Lara is on the board of Derby Theatre, Vivid Projects and Coventry Biennial and the Advisory Group for  SHOUT Festival.  She is on the UK Council for Creative UK and the Equality Monitoring Group for Arts Council Wales.

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Kim Holflod, Tina Visgaard Duedahl and Vici Daphne Händel

Kim Holflod

Meet Kim Holflod, a design-based educational researcher and higher education playful learning enthusiast who further dabbles in collaborative practices, dialogic pedagogy, and co-creation. In his doctorate, he co-created theoretical and practical knowledge on playful collaboration across disciplines and professions in higher education while designing and experimenting with playful pedagogies across institutional, national, and international contexts. He has a particular academic affinity towards (playful) objects to think and relate with, relational pedagogies, and tinkering and experimenting with new ways to make education playful. Hoping to elevate the overall quality and experiences of higher education, he is on a quest to unleash the awesomeness of playfulness!.

Tina Visgaard Duedahl

Meet Tina Visgaard Duedahl, an associated professor and Ph.D. student doing design-based research in a practice theoretical perspective. In her doctorate, she develop, test and refine designs in co-creative and iterative processes with teacher educators transforming existing practices in PlayLabs established at University College Lillebælt in Denmark. Her research implies a special interest in the pedagogical ideals that underlie the establishment of laboratories in teacher education, as well as teacher educators’ professional competence and ability to (implicitly and explicitly) model for their students the thoughts and actions that underpin their practice and pedagogical approach. Tina’s ultimate (professional) dream is to promote and qualify practices in teacher education by teacher educators modelling the use of experimental teaching- and learning processes. This by 1) doing themselves what they expect the student to do in their teaching and 2) thinking aloud and giving the students’ access to the pedagogical reasoning, feelings, thoughts and actions that accompany such practices.

Vici Daphne Händel

Meet Vici Daphne Händel, an associate professor at the University College Copenhagen in Denmark. Research-wise she is a practitioner researcher focusing on the interplay between playful learning, physical activities and digital materials in higher education. Although self-declared, she is also a professional (winning) board gamer, expert in various television game shows and the heir to any scavenger hunt. In her doctorate, she investigated how the interplay between playful learning, physical activity and digital materials can enhance playfulness and embodied playful presence in teacher education. National and internationally she is also known for developing play laboratories which encompasses both quirky and whimsy materials.