Programme Session Details 2024

Hide and Seek! Explore creative and innovative leadership practice through the playful metaphor of Where’s Wally?*

Corresponding Author: John Lean

All authors: Mâir Bull

Length: 60 minutes
Location: Outdoors


When you work in playful and creative ways, it can sometimes be difficult to locate yourself within traditional views of leadership. You might find that you work between teams, without a real home in your institution; you might be stuck somewhere in the middle of theory and practice; or you might find that it’s tricky to recognise or justify your work in terms of ‘sensible’ targets and outcomes.
We’re creative and playful practitioners from Manchester Met’s Learning Enhancement and Educational Development Centre, and we’ve been struck by how often we get stuck thinking in these ways about our work. Luckily there’s a playful way out of this bind! Through playful exploration and reflection, you can find yourself by thinking holistically about your work, leadership and your context.
In this session, we’ll explore the notion of playfully ‘finding the leader in you’ by taking part in some activities inspired by Where’s Wally?* books. We’ll use the books themselves as a prompt for discussion of some of the issues above, and share our own learning journeys.
Then we’ll send you out into the conference venue to find Wally, and his hidden prompts – what does leadership look like when it’s playful, creative and innovative? How can we be leaders but still retain the important core of creativity and play?
Finally, you’ll create your own Where’s Wally? pictures that demonstrate your reflections on your playful practice, your leadership and your aspirations, and you’ll be able to challenge others to find you too. It’ll be the most powerful game of hide and seek you’ve ever played!
At the end of the session, participants will have taken part in a novel CPD activity that will inspire them to think differently about their playful practice, and help others to do the same. Most importantly, they’ll leave with a toolkit of ways of thinking about themselves that will help them to incorporate playful and creative practice into their own professional development and leadership journeys.
You do not need to be a leader (in the traditional sense) to enjoy and learn from this session – the aim is to bring out the creative and playful leader in us all. Stripey tops and bobble hats optional!
*or Waldo if you’re North American

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