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Playful Café – creating new connections through play
Playful Café – creating new connections through play

Sat, 05 Nov



Playful Café – creating new connections through play

The Playful Café will celebrate new connections created through play.

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Time & Location

05 Nov 2022, 10:00 – 16:00

Maketank, 3-5 Paris St, Exeter EX1 2JB, UK

About the event

An ESRC Festival of Social Science 2022 event What's on offer?

At Maketank, Paris Street, Exeter we will offer music, food - expect Dutch pancakes!!! - games and a range of immersive and fun activities that support building intergenerational and intercultural bridges. We will challenge you in an engaging and informal environment to use play for the creation of new connections while simultaneously develop creativity, compassion, and wellbeing.

This FREE and open to all Social Science event is created by the University of Exeter Playful Lab and Maketank a cultural lab for social change.

What is it about?

The Covid pandemic revealed many short falls and brought a multitude of things that were taken for granted to the foreground. In order to achieve positive change in a post-covid world there seems to be ample space to create new connections around the new expectations that have arisen. New connections, which can be catalysed through play.

By using the notion of play we can enter a space that allows us to think and create. We can push an idea, combine it, contradict it, relocate it, stretch it and see where all that leads. At the same time, the speed of change across society requires a shift in approach where you can develop and try something in a very short space of time. Play creates this space. On top of that, play is increasingly recognised as both a fundamental part of the human experience and basic biological need at every stage in life.

Who is leading the event?

Maarten Koeners (Medical School) and Adam Lusby (Business School) from the University of Exeter

Who is this event open to?

Open to anyone

What is the ESRC Festival of Social Science

The ESRC Festival of Social Science is an annual, UK-wide, free celebration of the social sciences. The 2022 festival will run 22 October to 13 November.

The festival consists of a series of events run each autumn, delivered by ESRC’s ‘festival partners’, higher education institutions spread across the UK. Events range from exhibitions, lectures and panel debates through to performances, guided walks and workshops.

The festival is an opportunity for anyone to explore topics relating to social science, from health and wellbeing to crime, equality, education and identity, through events run by researchers from UK universities.

There’s no cost to attend, and most events are open to everyone, though some are aimed at specific groups.

More information

We will facilitate activities which are developed within our “Playful Lab” which are based on our research on overcoming barriers to improve learning, connectivity and innovation within Higher Education (Koeners & Francis, 2020). These activities will address contemporary concerns about the future, often exacerbated by increases in stress due to ever more demanding workloads and corresponding expectations (Brown & Vaughan, 2009; Kenny, 2018) and the growing demand for creative skills, innovative thinking and complex problem-solving, as indicated by the World Economic Forum.

During the event there will be experts (and resources like books, flyers and games) available to give short debriefs after the activities, creating further understanding about the underlying research, to address any questions and create dialogue.

You will be able to experience different forms of play, and how these can be used to explore human interactions and create new connections – promoting a new understanding of how humans can engage, in a playful way. We aim to gives attendees opportunities to counteract the prevailing day-to-day seriousness with fun, joy and belonging – which is, we believe, urgently needed. At the same time play can provide surprising results which can enrich both our personal and professional life's.

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