John Potter

Play, performance and palimpsest in children’s lived experience in the digital age, including in the time of a global pandemic

This talk will describe active new literacy practices in which particular strategic dispositions and skills are employed by children of primary and lower secondary age (5 – 14) to represent identity, affiliation and cultural capital. Drawing on, amongst others, an ethnographic approach to data collection in ‘Playing the Archive’, a project on children’s playground games, it will consider these in the light of theories of both play and media literacy. The presentation will also discuss the ongoing research project, The Play Observatory, funded in the UK by the ESRC, which aims to enable children to record their experiences of play of all kinds, onscreen and offscreen, during the periods of lockdown. It will consider how both researchers and educators can respond to the material conditions of childhood in at the present time. It will develop further the concept of the space between home and school as a third space and play itself as a location for meaning-making and a more agentive engagement in learning. There will be time to show examples of work in media and play of various kinds and hopefully to discuss them in the context of the theories outlined.