2017 PLAYWORK CAMPFERENCE
TRULY AN EVENT LIKE NO OTHER
ABOUT THE 2017 PLAYWORK CAMPFERENCE
Over the President’s Day weekend 2017, professors, filmmakers, playworkers and play enthusiasts from the greater US and over 7
countries gathered in Val Verde, CA for the Playwork Campference. Named a campference as over half the participants camped directly on Eureka Villa, the main site of the event.
SCV Adventure Play Foundation (Santa Clarita Valley Adventure Play at the time) teamed up with Pop-up Adventure Play to plan for a year to create this one of a kind (and first of its kind in the US) event exclusively focused on play working and adventure playgrounds. The event consisted of headline presentations, public screenings, a public pop-up adventure playground, dozens of hands-on demonstrations, intimate campfire discussions, active play working by some of the most gifted and seasoned play workers from around the world, open mics on various topics by professionals from a range of adventure play areas and more!
Participants were steeped in playwork history, philosophies, techniques, and advocations for self-directed play for all ages. Even as the event faced one of the worst rainstorms in California history, the programming continued.
Professor of Playwork at Leeds Beckett University
Fraser Brown is the world’s only Professor of Playwork, and head of the UK’s oldest playwork department (Leeds Beckett University). His extensive research and practical knowledge spans many years and has proved crucial in establishing Playwork as a recognised, professional field of study.
He is author of Playwork: Theory and Practice, co-author of Rethinking Children’s Play and editor of Foundations of Playwork Practice. However, he is perhaps best known for his powerful work with children in Romanian orphanages, and his team’s moving accounts of play’s therapeutic and transformative power for some of the world’s most deprived children.
His most recent book, “Play And Playwork: 101 Stories Of Children Playing” features some wonderful reflections of play.
Middlebury, VT USA
Houston, TX USA
Leeds, UK EU
Middlebury, VT USA
Brooklyn, NY USA
Alex was a member of staff at the Ithaca Children’s Garden for several years, recently finishing as their Head Playworker. She has consulted with schools and summer camps on play, landscape design, and staffing approaches, and is shortly starting work at Eureka Villa. Alex found playwork through an initial interest in playground design, but she has since been completely captivated by playwork’s focus on the deeper issues of children’s rights. To this end, she is as likely to be found with her hands raised, at the pointy end of a stick wielded by a child warden, as she is at the front of a room talking to grown-ups about how and why to embrace the very play that brought her to surrender in the dirt the day before. She loves it all.
United Kingdom, EU
Chris is a UK based playworker, play writer/researcher, and playwork activist. He has an MA in Play and Playwork and is currently starting fieldwork for his PhD, examining the interaction between children and mobile digital technology in their outdoor play. He is on the board of the International Play Association (England, Wales and Northern Ireland), a postgraduate fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers), and has published and delivered academic and professional papers in the UK and internationally. He has extensive knowledge and expertise in national workforce development; facilitated the All Party Parliamentary Group on Play, and for over ten years was National Playwork Convenor for the Community, Youth and Playworker’s Section of Unite the Union, the UK’s largest Trade Union. Before that he was chair of the Association of Playworkers (England). He has played an active role on the UK Play Safety Forum, Play Policy Forum, and on Play England’s former Strategic Advisory Board. In his spare time he cooks a mean curry, plays in a post-punk band and holds a black belt in Taekwon-Do
United Kingdom, EU
Luke has given talks on The Land, playwork and various theories from Cardiff to Eastbourne to Tokyo. He has been a trainee playworker, fully qualified playworker, Resource Officer, Senior Inclusion Playworker and a Senior playworker; where he oversaw the running of five different projects in five different communities. His writings on Environmental Modifications have been published in the Journal of Playwork Practice. He hasn’t managed an Adventure Playground...yet! A playworker for five and a half years, Luke worked at The Land before, during and after its inception. He has now left to travel the world and explore practice in other countries, and misses the team and kids greatly. At Campference, he’ll be telling a series of stories that will hopefully illustrate what makes The Land such a special and unique place. He says: “If anyone see’s me around please feel free to pounce and ask me any questions; and I’ll apologise now in case I get too overly excited.”
San Diego, CA USA
Megan Dickerson, San Diego, CA, USA: Megan is Manager of Exhibition Development at The New Children’s Museum, a unique museum in which each “exhibit” is a one-of-a-kind art installation. On any given day, you might find her playing peek-a-boo with a toddler in Wobbleland, a space with giant fruit and vegetable sculptures, or meeting with a partner artist to plan logistics for a new art installation. Prior to The New Children’s Museum, Megan spent ten years at Boston’s Children’s Museum developing pop-up play spaces in urban parks, health-focused interventions in public housing, and numerous exhibits and programs. Her work as an artist and independent curator focuses on public art, and has included such projects as the Bumpkin Island Art Encampment, a five-day island-bound arts residency in Boston Harbor, and Willy Wonka in Smellovision, a series of outdoor film screenings with choreographed scent deployments. Megan holds a BA in History from the University of California, Los Angeles and an MA in Play and Playwork from the University of Gloucestershire, and writes and publishes regularly about art, play and playwork. For more information, visit www.takeplayseriously.org.
United Kingdom, EU
Simon Rix, UK: Self-professed “dangerous radical”, Simon has been part of the UK’s playwork scene since the age of 17. He has worked on many adventure playgrounds across London, designed consultation programs and worked to inform government policy. Simon co-founded Design and Build (Play), an organization which trains playworkers in construction with children. He now runs Meriden Adventure Playground, a multifaceted community project and adventure playground in Solihull, which is thriving in spite of the difficult context of political austerity. Through this project, he is also involved in research linking adventure playgrounds with public health and fostering resilience. Meriden was also a partner in a film made by the art group Assemble Collective. He regards the adventure playground as a constructed situation which is both disruptive and compensatory, as they both ‘rattle the cage of the spectacle’ and compensate for environmental deficiencies in the daily lives of children and other community members.