Thursday, 27 June 2013

Play Across the Lifespan

I've never been to a conference organised by the Leeds Met Playwork Team before, so today when I arrived in Leeds, I really didn't know what to expect. But I was definitely excited - I'd be hanging out with some lovely people that I don't see very often, and so I knew it was going to be fantastic.

The Play Across the Lifespan conference was set up to bring a wider range of professionals, angles and focusses together to discuss, inform, and learn about play. It's been a little different from other play related conferences because the focus wasn't only on the child, but on play itself as a central role in enhancing life. Although the delegate list was relatively small, it was very varied, and hugely interdisciplinary, and in turn gave the conference a little bit of sparkle.

176/365 - Zan takes part in a play conference. :)

Up until now, I think I have been to about 6 play conferences. The first one ever was in Atlanta, Georgia, where I went with my supervisor at the time, Rachel Alymer. It was a frightening but positive experience that planted a seed of desire to do more. Maybe I like the rush, maybe I genuinely enjoyed it. Maybe I just like to cause myself unnecessary stress. Maybe despite my own fears and worries about the whole thing, it actually went well...

Anyway, 1 US Coalition for Play conference, 2 TASP conferences, 1 Spirit of Adventure conference and 1 Eastbourne conference later, I arrived vaguely prepared to present in Leeds about my journey through playwork and my PhD.

It was pretty scary, standing in front of experts talking to them about something they already knew about. But I did it. They were engaged, there were discussions, there were smiles and laughter, constructive comments and applause. I'm really pleased, and glad it's over.

After the conference, we all attended my tutor, Professor Fraser Brown's Inaugural Lecture. I still don't really know what that means, but it was really good. Lots of fun stories, anecdotes and just general awesomeness. I'm so pleased that Fraser is my tutor, and I'm so happy for his Professorship and contributions to the playwork field.

There he is, Fraser Brown. His face was all over the building today. On all of the screens and posters that were put up to advertise the event. It was pretty funny.

Anyway, a visit to the pub and a train journey home took a tired Zan back to Manchester. I am absolutely exhausted, but excited. It feels like we made a breakthrough yesterday. I'm not sure what that might be, but something clicked for a lot of people yesterday which has something to do with play. And that makes me happy.

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