Meet James – PLA member profile

Each month we will introduce a PLA member through 5 photos telling their Playful Learning journey. This month, we introduce you to…

James Charnock in his own words: a conference and event organiser for Manchester Met Uni currently in lockdown in Withington. I am painfully disorganised, capable of incredible procrastination and fascinated with virtually everything (but trying to whittle it down to experiential events, hybrid events and how to engage the lost delegate).

At the moment, I’m also doing a mean line in home schooling (teaching my kids poker), reassessing traditional work wear (conducting online meetings in fancy dress) and if this thing carries on much longer, I may even learn to play the guitar properly…

Group photo of the Playful Learning conference team
James Charnock – bottom right

This is me, and everyone else at the end of Playful Learning 2017. I tried to find a picture of us at the end of the first one in 2016, but actually, I think it was 2017 that I really got the idea of what PL was about, and it’s this utterly wonderful group of people who helped me get there. They’ve changed my life.

James on the floor with a colleague
Run complete!

This was last year, after Rosie’s post box run of Leicester. Did you know every post box in Britain has its own code? Neither did I, till I’d run round the leafy suburbs of Leicester looking for them.

I HATE running, but I loved this run.

I’ve since designed a similar challenge for people who come and stay in our residences to help them get to know the quarters of Manchester quickly and in depth. I am keen to try it out on people, WHEN WE CAN LEAVE THE HOUSE AGAIN. 

2 singers and a guitarist doing Karaoke
Karaoke Dave

This third picture is of the conference karaoke we did in year two of PL, and I like it as it pretty much epitomises everything I wish I did more of – working with my friends, making music, helping people get out of their comfort zones, and crossing the boundaries of what a conference can be.

James Charnock in a Fez and sunglassse and wearing a Lei
Fezzes are cool

This is me at the moment, in my back room, writing nonsense on a wall I painted with blackboard paint, principally as writing on it makes me feel like I’m perpetually developing a plan for a heist or some such.

Conferences and Events are already changing in the wake of the current crisis, and so I’m thinking more about how we can bring play to online meetings and events, which is one of the reasons I’ve started dressing up for all mine!

I also want to look at what we can do to ensure the hybrid meetings and events that will take place once we can all hug each other again are as meaningful, collaborative and joyous as possible!

In the meantime, stay safe.x

Thanks for sharing your story and your photos James.

If you are unlucky, you might be selected as next month’s sacrifice chosen member – we will be in touch!