Play in Times of Austerity

Call for contributions – Play in times of austerity: A seminar for play service providers, practitioners and researchers.
Date: Wednesday 22 May 2013
Location: University of Leicester
Cost: £20 waged; £10 postgraduate researchers/unwaged

The Geographies of Children, Young People and Families Research Group is convening a seminar to bring together play providers, practitioners and researchers to discuss the prospects for play in 2013 and beyond. The recent history of investment in children’s play in the UK is a good news story that now risks turning bad. Following the growth of private sector investment in the 1990s and Noughties, came public sector investment on an unprecedented scale. Rising to a challenge set by the UK Government, through Making the Case for Play (2003), the play sector presented a compelling case for public sector investment. After the Dobson report (Getting Serious About Play, 2005), this investment materialised with £123 million of Big Lottery funding for children’s play in England between 2006 and 2012. The end of this Children’s Play Programme has coincided with an economic downturn and public sector cuts, both of which threaten to unravel the advances of the recent past.

This seminar addresses the key issues that face the play sector of 2013. Contributions are welcomed from play providers, practitioners and researchers. In addition to offers of short papers, proposals of workshop topics and suggestions of themes for small group discussions, the organisers are open to contributions in a wider range of formats.
Questions likely to be addressed will include:

– Impact of budget cuts on play provision
– Making the case for investing in play
– Surviving budget cuts
– The role of the academy in supporting children’s play

The organisers will offer limited bursaries for travel to support postgraduate/unwaged attendees (please discuss details with Stefanie when registering).
Interested in speaking at the event? Contact John McKendrick (Board of Directors, Play Scotland and Glasgow Caledonian University) (Tel – 0779 311 3785). Please register expressions of interest by 1 March 2013.

Interested in attending the event? Contact Stefanie Gregorius (University of Loughborough). Please register to attend the event by 12 April 2013.