Bringing together authors from a range of academic disciplines and research backgrounds – united as standard-bearers for the child’s right to play – and set against a backdrop evoking play’s critical essence, this book documents the rise and fall of an explosive period of political interest in play in the UK.
Has the withdrawal of so much state funding damaged the playwork profession forever? Has the battle for recognition of the significance of play in child development been lost? Why is children’s happiness always so low on the agendas of our politicians? The invaluable contributions in this book identify the lessons learned, and the opportunities that may be available to those determined to maintain the struggle for a greater recognition of the importance of children’s play in an era defined by the oppressive politics of austerity. This book was originally published as a special issue of the International Journal of Play.
Table of Contents
Introduction Fraser Brown and Mike Wragg
1. The state of playwork Adrian Voce
2. Memories of and reflections on play Tracy R. Gleason
3. Complex geographies of play provision dis/investment across the UK John H. McKendrick, Peter Kraftl, Sarah Mills, Stefanie Gregorius and Grace Sykes
4. Play in the good times: the (English) inside story Tim Gill
5. The Big Lottery Fund’s Children’s Play Programme: a missed opportunity to gather the evidence? Alexandra Long
6. Slip sliding away: a case study of the impact of public sector cuts on some of the services supporting children’s play opportunities in the city of Sheffield in the north of England Helen Woolley
7. Playwork practitioners’ perceptions of the impact on play of austerity in the UK: comparing experiences in Scotland and SW England John H. McKendrick and Chris Martin
8. Supporting healthy street play on a budget: a winner from every perspective Alice Ferguson and Angie Page
9. Opportunities for free play Rob Wheway
10. Promoting playfulness in publicly initiated scientific research: for and beyond times of crisis Cindy Regalado
11. ‘Strategic playwork’: a possibility that is neither ‘intervention playwork’ nor ‘environmental playwork’ Arthur Battram
12. Geographies for play in austere times John H. McKendrick, Peter Kraftl, Sarah Mills, Stefanie Gregorius and Grace Sykes
13. Sharing playwork identities: research across the UK’s field of playwork Sylwyn Guilbaud
14. Ethical practice for the playwork practitioner David Stonehouse
15. The Big Swing: reflections on the first 10 years of an adventure playground Mike Wragg
16. Books worth (re)reading: Adventure playgrounds Fraser Brown
Fraser Brown is the first Professor of Playwork in the UK, and teaches on the Playwork degree course at Leeds Beckett University. He is the specialist link tutor for APAC’s postgraduate play therapy courses, and has presented at conferences across the UK and around the world. His publications include Play and Playwork: 101 Stories of Children Playing (2014).
Mike Wragg is a Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, and the Chair of two charitable trusts: Eccleshill Adventure Playground, and New Hall Prison Visitors’ Play Facility, both of which have been subject of his recent publications in the International Journal of Play and in the Prison Service Journal.