Speaker Highlight: Prof. Helle Marie SKOVBJERG
Speaker Highlight: Prof. Helle Marie SKOVBJERG

“Can I join in?” – Designing for an Inclusive Play Environment

Helle Marie SKOVBJERG, Professor, Design School Kolding

A number of recent studies show a close correlation between the lack of play competences and social marginalisation. Based on an ongoing research project “Can I join in?” Play, Inclusion and Community in School this talk will explore how a combination between theory of play, inclusion and childhood studies can be used as a guiding principle to design pedagogically framed play, and thereby create inclusive play enviroments.

The project partnership has established joint play labs - Ludotorium - at 2 schools, where we have involved ~900 children aged 6-9, 50 pedagogues, 7 researchers and 3 external partners. The play labs will in total host 6 joint experiments at each of the 2 schools during the 3-year project period, i.e. 12 play design experiments in total.

The play design experiments in the play labs will be based on the following play types inspired by Huges;

Experiment 1: Creative play,
Experiment 2:  Role-play,
Experiment 3: Construction play,
Experiment 4: Rough and tumble play,
Experiment 5: Dramatic play
Experiment 6: Rule-based play.

All play experiments at the schools - i.e. experiments 1-6 – will last for 6-8 weeks and are structured according to the Design-Based-Research model.

The talk will present primary results focusing on the participation of the child, the role of the teachers and the qualities of the play design – each being of huge importance in order to create inclusive play environments.


Prof. Helle Marie SKOVBJERG

Helle Marie Skovbjerg is a Professor in Design for Play at Design School Kolding (Denmark). Helle Marie leads several research projects about designing for play. Her main research contribution is the development of the mood perspective on play, aiming at creating a language of play, and then development of strategies of how to design for and with moods of play.

Skovbjerg, H.M. (2020) Designing for Play Moods in a Ludotorium in Framing Play Design: A Hands-on Guide for Designers, Learners and Innovators. (red). Guliksen, S & Skovbjerg, H.M. (2020). BISpublishers. Amsterdam.

Skovbjerg et al. (2020) Designing Playful, Tangible Self-report Tools to give the Child a voice in IDC Proceedings. ACM Digital Library. London. Skovbjerg, H.M & Bekker, T.

(2018) The Value of Play. Design School Kolding: https://www.designskolenkolding.dk/publication-value-of-play