As the post-election storms continue to rock the world, a group of play enthusiasts are coming together to ask the question, can play help us heal from this divisiveness and turmoil? One Facebook post really caught my imagination. It was entitled, “Can Play Save Us?” Mathias Poulsen, Co-founder & Chairman of the Board of the NGO CounterPlay in Denmark, began his post by saying, “I need to act.” He went on to explain how a playful perspective is more vital than ever right now and therefore, so is his crusade. Between his words and the many inspiring comments, I’m re-energized to keep going as well.
So this episode is my refection on what I’ve been learning so far about play from PlayGrounding guests and how we might be able to answer the question, can play save us? In a special conversation with Amanda Coolong, Co-Chairman of the Board at WITI – Women In Technology International and former PlayGrounding guest, actress Michelle Barton, we’ll look at how play can pull us out of negative, non-productive thought patterns and open us up to inspiration and action. We’ll also learn from other former guests, Meg Athavale and Megan Sadd about play’s role in battling addiction and depression.
This is not my way of definitively answering Mathias’ question. It’s my starting place. I hope many more voices join in to help answer the questions he poses in his call for proposals for the CounterPlay Festival/Conference in 2017:
We wish to explore the potential role of playful participation, for individuals, communities and society at large. How might it facilitate a stronger sense of agency and become a catalyst of adaptability and change? In what ways can play inspire and encourage us to question the status quo and challenge the rules? When will our innate playfulness spark our imagination and curiosity, and will it enable us to see that the world could be transformed into something else? Should we consider play a political act that can shape societies? Could it even make democracy come alive through new forms of participation? Can play bolster our courage, so we dare to speak out and challenge established power structures and hierarchies?
Let’s start figuring it out together.
- The Play Summit
- Mathias Poulsen’s Inspirational Facebook Post
- The CounterPlay ’17 Conference/Festival on Facebook
- Meg Athavale’s Full Interview (a.k.a. Meg Rabbit)
- Lumo Play – Meg Athavale’s Interactive Projection Toy
- Stuart McMillen’s Graphic Novel – Rat Park
- Megan Sadd’s Full Interview
- Charlie Hoehn’s Book, Play It Away, A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety
- Follow #100daysoffun with The Flying Raccoon
- Michelle Barton’s Full Interview
- Life Vest Inside