Playfulness and Hope – University of York

Last week 30 Playful Learners met up at the University of York, to explore Hope and Playfulness. We defined Hope as relating most directly to climate change or sustainability but also extending to playfulness in learning about mental health and wellbeing, and in building community and support in education. This post is a summary of what we got up and the agenda, pics and resources are all on this Padlet, so you can follow up on the parts that interest you.

We started with a workshop on “Origin Storytelling for sustainability” from one of our York host’s Laura Mitchell. We co-created a university origin story…which will follow once written up!

We then went on the ‘Long Boiology’ arts trail, celebrating famous York duck ‘Long Boi‘.

Next up, a couple of lightning talks: Roger Sauders took us through ways of using card games and Sylwia Potorak, the lobster architect, talked about her reasearch on play in Spatial Design in HE.

To end the day, our other York host, Pen Holland, got us designing Sustainable Hope board games – and again, we hope to bring one of these to live in the near future!

After an evening at Brew York, we met again on Friday morning, kicking off with Joe Shimwell demoing the climate game he has created for children and explaining how it teaches the need for collaborative action.

Then we played Preposition Safecracker with Lander Hawes, looking at apps for teaching English.

Andy Walsh introduced the Journal of Play in Adulthood and Liz Cable talked about how we can get involved with the UK Games Expo next year. This was followed by a session on specific learning difficulties and play for hopeful learning with Alison Cornforth.

We rounded off with a session on using a roleplaying approach to designing wellbeing games with Simon Grey.

Our in-person events are always free – you just pay for your own travel and accommodation and the host institution provides a room and some catering. We hold an event each April/May and November, alternating the locations. If you would like to host a future event, do get in touch. Our next event will be in November 2024 on the theme of ‘Playfulness on a Shoestring’ – more details to follow!

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