Bodies at Play

Thu 10 October 2019, 6:30pm - 8:00pm


(Photo credit: Helen McCrorie)

Play is often opposed to learning. At school it takes place in the playground and at playtime, largely separated from the 'serious' business occurring in the classroom. Yet play is a fantastically creative form through which bodies come together to reshape one another, their environments and their futures. This also makes it a powerful educational form. Through film and discussion, this event explored the politics and material cultures of play. It explored to what (and whose) ends play might be mobilised, and considered play's relationship to technologies of data collection and storage.

The event opened with a screening of Helen McCrorie’s film If play is neither inside nor outside, where is it? (2019), which centres on a child-led outdoor playgroup in the grounds of a former military camp in Scotland. Adapted for imaginative play and experiential learning, the site is also home to a data storage facility. Celebrating the innate creativity of the childrens’ play, the film also traces connections and divergences between data gathering and learning.

Following this, Helen took part in a conversation with Dr Sarah Mills, Reader in Human Geography at Loughborough University, chaired by Dr David Bell, Radar's Programme Co-Ordinator. Dr Mills' research explores the geographies of childhood and education; investigating the spatial, sonic and material cultures of learning, play and the imagination; and connecting these to broader questions of politics and power.

The event formed part of the public programme for the exhibition of This is Just What I Saw, Katarina Hruskova’s Radar commission, developed in collaboration with Dr Mills. 

A report of the event by two Loughborough University students can be read by clicking on the link below.

If play is neither inside nor outside, where is it? was commissioned by Collective Edinburgh.

Helen McCrorie's recent exhibitions and screenings include Against the Flow, Perth Playhouse, Platform Festival, Culture PK, 2018; This Is It – Universe at No. 35 Gallery, Bannockburn, 2017; and The Clock in Commune, The Glasite Meeting House, Edinburgh Art Festival, 2016

Project Partners

Dr Sarah Mills

Reader in Human Geography Read more

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This is Just What I Saw: Exhibition

Thu 3 October

00:00am - 00:00am

A mixed media installation by Katarina Hruskova, inspired by the pioneering arts educator Marion Richardson. Read more

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This is Just What I Saw

Katarina Hruskova and Sarah Mills develop new work exploring the legacy of the educator Marian Richardson. Read more


Bodies at Play: A Report

A report on 'Bodies at Play', an event exploring the material cultures and politics of play through film and conversation. Read more