Playing in Public

Some of you may know that I’m participating in the The Sketchbook Project 2012 World Tour and that I’ve even got a companion blog for it, 10minutes.   I expected this project to be a creative outlet for me and that is certainly proving to be true.  What I find surprising is the number of people who seem to be inspired by it.

10minutes, the blog, is me playing in public.  I am not a professional artist and participating in The Sketchbook Project 2012 World Tour is my ticket into ever having my work in an Art Gallery (Brooklyn).

It is serendipitous that @gcouros asked me to create a video for the opening of his K-12 Online Conference. You can read the rest of the story in the 10minutes post: Playing in Public – perhaps the most popular post in that blog.  What I want to do here is to share the sketch, the video and what I’ve learned from this experience; after all this is my learning blog.

What have I learned?

  1. Many adults still like to play. in public even.
  2. Sharing begets sharing. This video has inspired more videos from dear Twitter friends. Here’s one from my sketchbook buddy @janellewilson, one from @stefras – (you have to read his post) and one from @7MrsJames. Granted the latter 2 were pushed along by @gcouros’ appeal for more sketches as inspired by mine; this included this video from @edusum. Apropos sharing, my Be Amazing post further validates this point.
  3. I can be a bit more confident about my creative talents, rusty though they may be.
  4. Playing in public invites others to play along, with, or on their own.
  5. Playing encourages conversations that may never would have happened otherwise.  Maybe it’s because we ‘let our guard down’ when at-play and that helps build friendship.   Such a conversation has led me to my next piece of artwork on organ donation.
  6. Sense-making is a personal thing.  People have told me various things they’ve taken away from this singular playing in public effort.  What they make of it is influenced by their own personalities, culture, interest and individuality.
  7. Playing means lots of different things.  Defining it is difficult because it’s not black-and-white. It’s a spectrum, a colourful one at that. Fun. Challenging. Purposeful. Creative. Destructive (as in, it can be fun to squash sandcastles at the end of the day). Process. Mindset. Context of and for learning.
Are you playful? Do you like playing in public? Have you tried to play in public as an adult? What do you regard as play?
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12 thoughts on “Playing in Public

  1. Janelle Wilson says:

    While I was at Space Academy for Educators this summer, I was reminded how important it is for us to play. The entire week was like playtime for grown ups. The great thing is it also reminded me how important it is to incorporate play into my classroom. It’s amazing how much we learn and discover while playing, and I think you are right. We definitely let our guard down while playing and are open to more creative experiences.

  2. Jeannette James says:

    You amaze me Malyn- so many talents! I am so pleased we had the opportunity to meet this year and I am able to share with you my “play”.

    This later half of the year for me, has certainly been a playful time experimenting with all that 21st century learning has to offer. I really do love it! I love playing with the various tools, apps and resources available to us- so exciting!

    Your “sandcastles” image is one that I love. Being so close to the summer break makes it even more special. I love how you took the time to create this. This is what inspired me to have a go. Taking the time to play. I had a ball!

  3. malyn says:

    Thanks Jeannette. It’s hard to believe we’ve only known each other for a few months. Seems like years!

    What’s really awesome is that your playing/sketching has inspired your daughter as well.

    As for amazing – we can all be amazing – and that is fantastic! Celebrate our individuality and diversity.

  4. George Couros says:

    I remember seeing what you were doing and basically you were exemplifying what I was trying to get through in my message. Even just seeing a picture, I thought it was cool how you could help me while I push you to do something in a different way. You are right that the work you have done has been inspirational; imagine if you just did it in a way where no one could ever see it? That would be a huge loss.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • malyn says:

      Thanks George. Particularly in asking me in the first place. Such belief! And for trusting me to come up with something – not pushing what you thought of in the first place —which you sort of got via Jeannette’s video.
      Thank you.

  5. Shawn Urban says:

    Play is both personal and communal. And you are right, it inspires connection, participation and collaboration. Just look at kids in a playground or teachers in a creative PD workshop. Rules are made up as the play progresses. Participants agree on what the play will look at. Some people challenge the consensus and reshape the play. Some follow, then lead. Play is very emergent. And each time, skills and knowledge are learned.

    Thank you for the mentions in your post. I enjoyed our connection and conversation as well. Perhaps, even when playing on one’s own, play is social. Even the lone player plays with his imagination – a second player to interact with. But don’t we all, even when we are playing with others?

    • malyn says:

      It’s been fun for sure. Thanks for playing and picking up on the theme. I feel almost guilty that yours took way longer! But as we’ve all confirmed, playing is a process and there is fun in playing in and of itself.

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