At the moment I’m researching the concept of play through reading, writing and drawing. This will result in the following project:
During Play Perspectives children will explore the common practice of play in relation to its urban environment. The workshops led by Merel Zwarts will mainly focus on the concept of play in public space. It functions as a laboratory both stimulating playing together as well as reflecting on it. The participating children are invited to research the concepts of play and playgrounds in public space while playing. This manifests in workshops focused on drawing, building, mapping, playing, talking and interventions in public space in order to set a playful framework for the main principles of playing in the urban context of Utrecht.
Inspired by Colin Ward’s The Child in the City (1978) this projects gives current children, instead of city planners or architects, the opportunity to reflect on (the history of) playgrounds in order to give them agency in formulating their vision and become play designers in their own right. What are their visions on play and public play space? What tactics are incorporated in this playful way of appropriating the city? Which embodied knowledge is situated in the children’s play? How do children play together to find a common ground for play in relation to the space they share? Can they function as a community of children imagining its own rules? During this program children reinvent and imagine principles of play in the urban space and reflecting on them.
In a wider context the results of the children’s collaborative research offers perspectives on how structures of urban environment can be re-used and re-imagined. How can our cities become accessible for its young inhabitants? Which conditions can make our cities more pleasant to live in? Also, which social and aesthetics values are incorporated in the playing process?