playing in the street

This post is a little overdue. The last week just went flying by and I have not had a chance to put my thoughts down in any order. I am now in danger of losing those initial thoughts following on from the seminar Mashing up: Pedagogy and Play so I thought I had better at least start and maybe make sense of them later.

The  Pedagogy and Play Seminar GoMA programme was a mix of presentations, workshops and discussions. The workshop asked us to go outside with no purpose (except that they did give us one in the end (bring back an object) and that kind of dominated for a while. I had done something similar at the Out There International Ideas Exchange in September 2010 but somehow this felt more playful and adventurous (though this might have had something to do with my ‘play’ companion). There were photos, sculptures and playing ‘chicken’ with pedestrians on Buchanan street followed by that age old game of not walking in the cracks in the pavement….once returning with the spoils of our adventures we were asked how we felt, the ethics of what we had done and also the aesthetics of the encounter.  There didn’t feel enough time to explore this and it felt a little disappointing to move away from that discussion onto lunch.

My presentation was the first of the afternoon and I spoke about the show and the background of the theme and where it came from. I was asked if I had developed the show with teachers in mind and to be honest no.. they never entered my thoughts. I thought of the exhibition as a catalyst for people to explore ideas of their own and if teachers were part of that,then fine. The actual time in the gallery was interesting though it was hard to discuss too much as the space was mobbed. I found out at the end of the day there had been 3,000 visitors that day so no wonder it felt busy!

The last part of the day posed the question ‘how do you curricularise play?’ The discussion immediately became more practical and became caught up in the idea that you would still have to assess the outcome and that free play would be too risky for a curriculum to accommodate. Also if you curricularise play does that not take the play out of it all anyway?

I had a vague sense of deja vu with the discussion and realised that in our various field bubbles we are having similar conversations from our perspectives. The inital question about curricularising play reminded me a lot of the discussion in gallery and museum education fields about ‘best practice’. How do you ‘best practice’ creativity? How do you scale up a successful small project? It is something which I have always had a problem with as a lot of the work that I have been involved in focusses around relationships… those relationships are key to how projects develop and the process is defined by the relationships involved.

How do you ‘best practice ‘ relationships?