As part of Playwork Campference 2019, we would like to invite folks to tell us about their own projects, their communities, and their playwork perspective, so we put out a Call for Presentations. Since then have heard some whispers that we’d like to gently address – hopefully this blogpost written by Campference organiser and speaker, Pop-Ups very own Morgan, will help to soothe some nervous playful people out there.

By Morgan

FWN: “I thought I wanted to speak at Campference, but the Call for Presentations has me all alarmed!”

So, you’re nervous about presenting. Of course, you are! It’s a scary thing, public speaking. Everyone is afraid of at least one aspect, so here (instead of Frequently Asked Questions) are some Frequently Whispered Nightmares (FWN).

FWN: “I don’t know enough!”

Yes. Only experts are allowed at the front, and you’re not an expert! Right? Except that you’re probably the person in your neighbourhood who knows the most about playwork, and at Campference you are the person who knows the most about your neighbourhood. We want to hear your stories, and you’re definitely an expert on those.

FWN: “I haven’t been doing playwork long enough!”

Playwork has its roots in post-WW2 adventure playgrounds. That means there have been generations of people doing this work, learning and developing and talking about what it means to do playwork, to be playworkers. In the USA, we are in a remarkable time of perhaps the greatest number of playworkers and playwork students ever.

That means that, however long you have been in this field, you are part of something extraordinary. Your thoughts and experiences are vitally important. You don’t have to be an expert but we want you in this conversation. What are you curious about right now?

FWN: “I haven’t even finished the PDC!”

Haha, we know. That’s okay. I mean, obviously, we encourage you to return and are here whenever you’re ready, but we also know firsthand how life – including the overwhelming responsibilities of starting and staffing play projects – can make distance learning even harder.

Are you trying to do the best playwork possible, as you understand it? Are you using language from playwork, such as cues and frames and adulteration? Are you trying to learn more every day, from texts and from the children themselves?

Then we want to hear how it’s been going so far.

FWN: “I haven’t presented before!  Talking to adults is terrifying!”

Very true. On the other hand, we would like to gently suggest that Campference may offer the most sympathetic and genuinely curious audience you’ll ever find.

We would also love to help people put together sessions that go beyond the tired “one person at the front with Powerpoint” model. Are you good with knots? Know a great way to build platforms fast? Do you have another practice in your life, like tango or Feldenkrais, that you think might have interesting things in common with playwork theory? Have you and a friend recently been discussing an aspect of playwork that other people might have opinions on?

We get it. Truly. Suzanna and Morgan never meant to spend so much time speaking in front of audiences, either. Morgan literally threw up before her first playwork conference presentation (a story she’ll share if you ask nicely), and Suzanna feels usually wants to cry before a presentation (and has done so three times and counting). In spite of these humble beginnings, they have come to see that presenting can even (gasp) be fun.

Get in touch. We’ll talk it through, and help you get there.

Playwork Campference 2019 - Frequently Whispered Nightmares

To find out more about the Campference, check out this website here.