Unleashing the power of play

Our Chairman Robin Sutcliffe was delighted to be invited to speak at the International Play Association (IPA) Triennial World Conference in Canada last month.

Robin contributed to the Risky Play debate that featured throughout the Conference. The Conference brought together representatives from 50 countries from around the world to help secure every child’s right to play.

Robin says: “It was a pleasure to speak at the Conference and I was delighted to meet influential members of the play community including Ellen Sandsetter from Norway and Mariana Brussoni from Canada, both of whom have written thought-provoking papers on risk.

“The issue of risky play ran through all the themes of the Conference including a thread on play in disaster zones. This was fascinating and quite counter intuitive. Six areas were discussed including a very old squatter settlement in Kolcarta (Calcutta). The settlement is several generations old and lies between the Ganges and across an active railway line.

“An amazingly dangerous location, but there was never an accident. All in attendance agreed that the children had a rich and risky play experience out of sight of their parents, who were most of the time at work. It was like play on the bomb sites after the war. There was a lot of sympathy for the many impoverished children. I also pointed out that they had a far better experience of play than their wealthy European counterparts, driven by academic ambition of their parents and fears for their safety!

“The next IPA Conference will be held in Jaipur, Rajhistan, India in 2020 and I’d highly recommend those with an interest in the play industry attends.”