Professor of Playwork to host lecture
Professor Brown's lecture is entitled 'Stories of children playing: What do they tell us about the significance of play and playwork', will take place at 6pm in Leeds Metropolitan University's Rose Bowl.
The lecture will explore how we can deal with the approach that western societies have taken to the study of children and childhood of isolating the problems that individual children pose to society. It will look at the significance of play in childhood and in a child's world and whether playwork can offer solutions.
As Professor Brown explains: "We can all, as adults, share the experience of having had a childhood and can provide insights into a child's world but this rarely makes us 'experts'. In reality, each person's childhood is a unique experience, and it is that which draws us into the complex and often emotional arenas of debate about childhood."
Professor Brown will offer a selection of stories that have been submitted by playworkers for inclusion in his forthcoming book, Play and Playwork: Reflections on Practice. The stories are about children playing and are instructive, often funny, and sometimes sad.
He said: "The stories help playwork professionals to explore complex issues such as risk and the unpredictable nature of play. They introduce theoretical concepts such as play cues, adulteration, and the significance of reference points in children's lives. Some of the stories also show how children's play can be therapeutic."
Before the inaugural lecture takes place, there will be a day of presentations and workshops bringing together service providers, practitioners and researchers to discuss how play can benefit everyone. The Play Across the Lifespan conference, taking place at the Rose Bowl, will allow playwork professionals to progress ideas on play with the early years, play therapy, therapeutic play with older people and play for people with learning disabilities, amongst other topics. Keynote speeches will be presented by Dr Sue Jennings, play therapist and dramatherapist, and Brian Cheeseman, co-author of the Charter for Children's Play and playwork consultant.
Professor Fraser Brown is the joint course leader of the BA (Hons) Playwork degree at Leeds Metropolitan University. He has produced several key texts in the field of play and playwork and is the Chair and Co-Founder of the Aid for Romanian Children charitable trust and a member of the Executive Board of the Association for the Study of Play.
He is well-known in the field of playwork for his research into its therapeutic effects on a group of abandoned children in a Romanian paediatric hospital and has also researched widely into the areas of the impact of deprivation on children's play behaviour and the benefits of student volunteering, amongst many other areas.