1st Edition

The Playful University Philosophy, Pedagogy, Politics and Principles

Edited By Rikke Toft Nørgård, Nicola Whitton Copyright 2025
    232 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides philosophical, political and practical insights that open ways for the university in going beyond its tightly controlled state and into more playful and imaginative futures.

    In the context of a marketised and regulated environment that stifles creativity and curiosity in higher education, this collection provides an antidote that lies in the potential of play. It identifies tactics and tools for playful practices to conjure real utopias and pathways for the present and possible futures. Pulling together global perspectives from a wide array of different disciplines including higher education, sociology, philosophy, media studies, design, literature, play studies, game studies and political science, it concludes with a collaborative chapter that offers philosophically and theoretically grounded principles for the playful university. The book shows that it is possible to reimagine a higher education in which students and staff approach their studies with a sense of purpose, care, and openness to explore, imagine and build a better future.

    Looking beyond pedagogy to imagination, and wonder as important perspectives within the university, this is an essential read for those interested in play and subversion in higher education.

    1. Introduction
    Nicola Whitton and Rikke Toft Nørgård

    Part I: Playful Philosophy

    2. Expanding the playful university: Democracy and locality
    Rikke Toft Nørgård and Herdis Toft

    3. Chaos in the university – playing the dangerous game
    Søren S.E. Bengtsen

    4. On the Strange Relationship between Play and Wonder
    Finn Thorbjørn Hansen

    Philosophy: Global voices

    5. Collaborative guided play for teacher education and development at a South African University
    Sarah Gravett

    6. “Catch me if you can”: Learning to Play in a Jungle of Expectations
    Fitri Suraya Mohamad

    7. Response: A playfulness of ease and love
    Nuraan Davids

    Part II: Playful Pedagogy

    8. Play order in an educational context: Exploring Play Qualities through Play Practices
    Helle Marie Skovbjerg and Helle Hovgaard Jørgensen

    9. Everything to play for
    Alison James

    10. Rethinking the University Curriculum, Playfully
    Alex Moseley

    Pedagogy: Global voices

    11. Playful University: Gamification Activities in the Territories of Higher Education in Türkiye
    Pınar Ayyildiz

    12. Finding the freedom to play in HE in Japan
    James York

    Part III: Playful Politics

    13. Playful Collaboration in Higher Education – Imagining a Relational Pedagogy of Care, Interdependence and Soulfulness
    Kim Holflod

    14. From “Gaming the Metrics” to the “Well-Played University” – Audit Culture, Game Design Patterns and Re-designing Our Institutions
    Luca Morini

    15. The Naked University
    Nicola Whitton

    Politics: Global voices

    16. Learning as an infinite game – changing the pedagogy from “I HAVE to” to “I WANT to
    Benny Faibish

    17. Politics in the Playful University
    Vinay Kumar


    Part IV: Playful Principles


    18. Principles of the Playful University

    Rikke Toft Nørgård and Nicola Whitton


    Rikke Toft Nørgård is an Associate Professor at the Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark.

    Nicola Whitton is Professor of Digital Learning and Play at Northumbria University, UK.