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LIVING MAPS SEMINAR: Play Cartographies

With Joel Seath and Kelda Lyons

Chair: Mike Duggan 

Children have a right to play, as stipulated by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Too often, however, tolerance for play is confined to corrals of adult acceptability: designated areas within the urban fabric. The reality of play (that is, play for its own sake, without adult agenda) is that, as urban citizens in their own right, children will play anywhere and everywhere if conditions are conducive for them to do so. Play is an everydayness of being.

Whilst working at an adventure playground in west London, Joel Seathaimed to raise the tolerance and awareness of play, in part by mapping contemporary accounts and observations of play in both destination places and the in-betweens, and by simultaneously gathering historical accounts of local played-places. This anecdotal lived experience of different generations was reflected back in interactions with adult community members.

Drawing on the thinking of writers of urban studies as well as on that of playwork theorists, this seminar aims to give a flavour of the urban palimpsest, as perceived and mapped, in which play that has been still marks, and in which play continues to take place. As societal positioning on the well-being of children continues to shift, this seminar is an on-going call for careful observation, understanding, tolerance, and respect for children’s play, wherever and however that play happens.


Joel is a playworker, playwork trainer, researcher, and writer. With close-to thirty years’ experience, he has worked with and for younger and older children and teenagers in a wide variety of play, early years and youth provisions, in outreach on the city streets, in forests, and at festivals. 

Kelda is a playworker, play consultant, writer and researcher with 15 years experience of doing inclusive playwork with children and teenagers. Kelda does independent and original research on playwork and children’s play in public space, and is a Built Environment Expert with Design Council CABE.  

Date: Tuesday 15th May 2018

Time: 18:00 – 20:00 

Venue: Room 3.52, Waterloo Campus, Franklin-Wilken Building (FWB), 127 Stamford St, Lambeth, London SE1 8WA (Note: A member of the team will be waiting to sign you in at reception)

Cost: Tickets £10.00 and £7.50 concessions

Tickets available via Eventbrite