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People, place and play/ play is free/ Play is freedom/ Play is not ordinary or real life/ Permission to play/ Adult play/ Creativity and play/ Play as process/ Culture as play/ Play memories/ Play as necessary/ Play as vital/ Play as fun/ Neoteny / Play and happiness...

Artist Lucy Steggals was invited to work with a group of local residents as part of the ongoing Even Better Together programming. Using a series of regular meetings over a four-month period Steggals sought to further develop her project exploring notions of play, and her preoccupation in the encounters we do or don’t allow ourselves in being playful.

Conversation often plays an active and vital component to Steggals’ approach. With her preoccupation and delight in a conversational approach in generating research and hearing of personal negotiations of themes pertinent to her interests, Steggals sought participant’s memories and experiences of playing, both past and present. Making, and the act of inviting the group to make kaleidoscopes, spinning tops and miniature swings also allowed a series of playful encounters during each meeting, encouraging a sense of open dialogue. 

A third element of the project incorporated Steggals’ use of making short video pieces in response to the discussions at each session. These films were shared with the group each time they met alongside film extracts selected by Steggals to further explore different observations or explorations of the wide ranging theme of play and being playful.

This project continued to expand on Steggals' research undertaken while on a fellowship placement with Insakartists Trust in Zambia. During her fellowship Steggals sought out instances where making and playing were intimately connected with a series of films showing dice being made, games with stones being played and tree swings being constructed and played with. The parallels with Steggals’ fellowship continued through this continued focus on play with project participants, and by the accidental discovery of a self made swing hanging from Gasworks’ outside stairwell left in place by previous residency artist Francisca Benitez.

Event: Permission to Play: Screening and conversation

Wednesday 9 April 2014, 4pm- 6pm

Lucy Steggals presents a short video made after the conclusion of the project. The event will also show extracts from films selected by Steggals that depict different insights or observations on play, and invite those present to join her in a conversation on personal negotiations of play and our understanding of this form of creative activity.