I am also trying to understand how I use playfulness and arrive at it in my own work. There is definitely an intentionality about it. For example in this current playful project, I go out to look, I find an unsuspecting object, take it out of context, turn it into something else and then with the help of text make a funny comment which is contextual to the current situation we are in. We are informed by what we see and make sense of the world through it. Playfulness is about letting go, inviting the inner child to play again and not worrying what it looks like. I think the issue about play/playfulness is so ambiguous. I think the question is more about where does playfulness NOT manifest and I believe when seriousness and restrictions become so tight, there is no room for it. There has to be an element of permission for it to happen surely? Even in the most serious or unplayful of contexts, the person instigating a playful act has to permit himself/herself to do it. There has to be a connection with something, some other.
A leaf can only be playful because it is relying on the wind to keep it moving. A toddler can only play peek-a-boo if he/she makes contact with another person.
There is a connection that needs to take place, be it between an object, person, animal, environment or organisation.
It is the playful encounter where freedom takes place and playfulness can be fully expressed.
Facing the future 5 – How can you not smile when you see this staring at you? Faces are everywhere if you allow yourself to see them. That is what playfulness is like. My journey into playfulness is one I can share practically, but hopefully in the academic world too and beyond. Playfulness is so important. I can’t teach you it, it is within you, but I can invite you to embrace it again as you did as a child. It will look differently to each of us. I have walked past this particular tree many many times, but because I was open to seeing its face, I saw it. That’s what playfulness does, it opens us up to fresh opportunities, fun, laughter and wonder.
Facing the future 6 – It was quite appropriate to find this fish face by the canal bank. It was obviously out of ‘school’ like many of our children and students at the moment, so I thought it needed some water. If no fin is impossible with cod then we need to start believing and trusting again! I make no apologies for my punny nature because we all need a good laugh. It’s my playful way to encourage you to start dreaming again, whilst remembering the positive lessons we have learnt over this past year.