2019, 2021 & 2022
After a period of online learning through the pandemic, we felt it vital for our 3rd-year students to reconnect with the idea of play. Anthea helped both our staff and students on the Graphic Design course at Falmouth fully immersive themselves in a week of playful activity which was so vital, valuable and timely.
The student feedback was overwhelmingly positive and Anthea's work helped them reconnect and form lasting bonds. At the end of their 3rd-year experience, students reflected that those initial Play activities were formative in helping to reinvigorate their creative practice.
- Dion Star, 3rd-year Design Lecturer, Falmouth University
In 2019 I was invited to give a full-day workshop on play for 18 masters and 100 3rd year design students at Falmouth University. This was then extended to a full week of play in 2021 and 2022.
This work required working closely with the permanent staff members, designing and co-facilitating week-long workshops on play for their students. The play workshops looked to engage the student in an embodied understanding of play through the playing games in several different areas of play: competitive, non-competitive, pretend & make-believe, dark, and risky play. Thereafter students were required to design their own games/play experiences which were then shared at the Falmouth Flux Olympiad. After this, there was a day for reflection and assimilation of learning and practice into their everyday studies.
In addition to strengthening interpersonal relationships between the students, sorely needed after the COVID-19 pandemic and counteracting excessive screen time, the week assisted the students in learning how to use play as a tool to benefit and enhance their creative practice and mindset. Questions from the students included: Is there a connection between play and mental health? How can I incorporate this into my everyday design practice? How can play be more inclusive? Why didn’t we do this in our first year of study? Why didn’t we learn about the benefits of play sooner?
Using student feedback as a springboard, each year the Falmouth Design staff members and I revisit, rework, and recalibrate, refining the course to enhance the student experience. Seeing and feeling the benefits of an open and explorative approach that playfulness inspires, after each year the students requested, initiated, and then incorporated their own playful approaches into their everyday studies. This might look like scheduled play sessions or even an area dedicated to creative play.
I have facilitated versions of this play workshop for Birmingham University's 2nd year Drama and Creative Writing students in May 2022 and for the University of the Arts London's MA Performance: Design and Practice students in January 2023 as well as for corporates and charities.