Space to Play – Cambridge meet-up May 2022

On the 19th and 20th May 2022, the Playful Learning Association held it’s first in person event for some years! 26 of us got together to spend some time thinking about playful spaces, hosted at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge by our co-chairs Alex and Katie. Here is a record of the event through photos!

Alex Moseley introduces the event
Attendees getting to know each other at Anglia Ruskin University

We kicked off with a game of Herd Mentality as an ice-breaker. Making the most of some outdoor spaces we discovered on campus.

Attendees playing ‘Herd Mentality’ – try to blend in by giving the same answer as everyone else!

Then we were talked through the process of creating a prototype for a Climate change boardgame by Matteo Menapace @baddeo

Matteo has created the game Daybreak, a cooperative game about climate action.

Matteo Menapace taking us through the board game design process
Tweet from Alex Moseley

(Look out for the Daybreak Kickstarter, which launches next month!)

Three visiting PhD students from Denmark (Kim, Tina and Vici) then introduced the topic of Playlabs, looking first at the theory and then the opportunity for us all to put it into practice.

Entering the PlayLab – lego, floor markings, craft tables and am opened up space

Playlabs are designed to support active and experimental processes.

Making (and then breaking) and minimalist lego elephants (from only 6 red bricks)

The discussion was around finding a balance between transforming your teaching to fit the new space and reproduction of your familiar way of teaching – with students sitting down and watching you present at the front.

Creating models for common expressions, then guessing them

We ended Thursday by heading to the Thrive vegan cafe for Games and cakes

Playing Daybreak in the Thrive vegan gameboard cafe in Cambridge

Friday began with everyone heading into Cambridge to think about Playing Outside through a Secret Portals group activity.

We used a map to find Dinky Doors and then the challenge was to create our own door from found materials.

A selection of Dinky Doors around Cambridge
Team PortELLES building a portal from found materials

Discussion followed on how to use the town/city you are based in as an induction activity for students.

Before we said our goodbyes, as always, we had an open slot for PLA members to offer/test/share their current work.

Summary of the event from Emma Bearman

Thank you to all the presenters and attendees for coming along and creating such a great event.

Want more? Missed out this time? Our next in-person event will be November 17th and 18th in the north of England (theme and venue tbc). Save the dates!