Participants > Isabelle Croissant > Journal
How on earth do you share a week where you've listened to incredibly inspirational speakers, ran around a city with giant stickers, tested whether people would indeed burst a balloon if you left it on the road with "burst me" written on it, tried to build "Friday night" in Lego, talked about social issues that need to be resolved in our cities... should I carry on?
I think what has come out loud and strong for me is the effectiveness of giving people the permission to play and the empowerment it can generate. How playfulness can make people look at their everyday life, environment and behaviour in a different light; the impact it can have in making us more confident to try things, step out of our comfort zone, and feel we can give a go at being creative. And I'm not even talking about our audiences yet.
Of course I should have expected it. Being part of a cohort of 20 artists, technologists and producers from the UK and Brazil in a scheme delivered by the Pervasive Media Studio was going to be all but obvious and straightforward.
Take the presentation from our Recife Counterparts. The agenda said "talk and discussion on Recife and its potential as a Playable City". You might think presentation and Q&A session?
Instead we learnt a lot about the culture by matching soundscape to illustration (lovely QR codes pictured) , got a very real sense of the transport infrastructure by attempting to associate a mode of transport with the length it takes to do a specific journey (get a skateboard people!) and so on..
Mistakes were welcome and a full part of the experience and its effectiveness (note to self though. Never again start a sentence by "apart from this one, which is obvious"...and get it totally wrong).
This was for me a good summary of our week: learning by doing, empowering people, thinking about designing experience differently, allowing the space for failure and making the most of mistakes
During the week I loved how the different people / attitude / habit and practice both collide and complement each other and give us new ways to think and behave. From developer instilling the test/iterate spirit to project development, to looking in awe (and slight envy) at my neighbours' beautiful notes from the week, to trying to decide which way to develop an idea when 20 peole have all different and equally intersting suggestions as how to do it; not forgetting discovering the humongous complex spreadsheet hidden behind what seem to be a natural,organic, playful and simple project and much, much more...it has just been an incredibly rich week.
Everything has been about playful, inspiring and creative experiences, people and places.
Don't get me wrong, behind all this play business is a lot of very hard work and doing things in a very rigorous way. Kim Plowright, Sarah Ellis and all the speakers we have been privileged to talk to this week have given us a very real sense of the work that goes into producing these experiences (I still haven;t recovered from these humongous spreadsheets). But they made it all incredibly exciting too.
A bit of play goes along way. And it certainly made me more inclined to try things and step out of my comfort zone. Hell, I even dared writing a blog post. And for me that is a lot.