We created Ludicology as a not for profit organisation to share our knowledge and experiences of supporting children’s play and to work with other parents, practitioners and policy makers to improve conditions for playing beyond the scope of our day jobs.
We also really like working together, it’s when we do our best work; so that’s what we try to do as much as possible.
Humans have evolved to embody a playful disposition in their youth. Playing represents children’s primary form of participation in their everyday lives and is central to their experience and enjoyment of living. Play has unique behavioural qualities that lend themselves to the creation of experiences that are essential to children’s immediate and longer-term well-being and development.
Children are capable of being highly competent players, however their opportunities for playing will be restricted where conditions are not supportive. Ensuring our communities and institutions are fit for children requires the cultivation of sufficient time, space and permission for play across multiple levels of politics, policy, practice and provision.
Adults have a responsibility to be sensitive to the ways in which their actions impact upon children’s ability to play. This will inevitably involve negotiating concerns associated with allowing children greater freedom but will ultimately lead to the design and development of neighbourhoods, services and spaces that are more in tune with children’s innate drive to play.
Mike is currently the play sufficiency lead for Wrexham Council, in line with the Welsh Government’s new statutory duty on play. This has involved him in active participatory research with children and the subsequent development of systematic approaches to securing sufficient time and space for their play, in particular the development of risk management systems to address concerns associated with children being afforded greater freedom. Mike is particularly interested in children’s perceptions of playfulness; playwork, as play centered asset based community development; play as a function of all public space, and flexibility and uncertainty as design principles of space intended for children. Mike is a qualified playworker, design engineer and adult trainer, and has background in out of school childcare and staffed, open access, play provision. He is also a dad of two girls and husband of one wonderful woman.
Ben brings 20 years of experience to the Ludicology team. His job history includes: Senior lecturer in Play and Playwork at Leeds Beckett and in Childhood Studies at Glyndwr University, management positions in two adventure playgrounds, Local Authority Play Development Officer, and National Play Development officer for Play Wales. Ben has provided, presentations, developed and delivered training materials and research and evaluation projects on a range of subjects for ‘National Playwork Conference’, ‘Spirit of Adventure Play’, ‘Child in the City’, ‘IPA’, Isle of Mann Children’s Centre, Play Board Northern Ireland, Play Scotland as well as many Local authorities. Most recently Ben has been involved in Local Authority play sufficiency assessment, impact assessment of a regional play project, development of a play in schools evaluation toolkit, development of risk management policy and procedure, training development and delivery including; Risk Management, Playworking (intervention), Reflective practice, the role and function of play in childhood.
Nils Norman, Artist & Professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Art & Design