Monday, 10 December 2018

A new journal around play and playfulness in adults?

a pile of journal articles
I've been analysing some data recently and started to think about where I might be able to write it up for. What journal would suit something on adult play? There are plenty of digital games type journals, and a few play journals that concentrate on aspects of play in children, there isn't a great deal of choice if you want to publish research on play in adults. There are options, of course, but adult play seems on the periphery of even the best options out there. Add in my fussiness over things being as open access as possible, and that reduced the field even further.

After a bit of whinge on Twitter, I seem to have agreed to set up a journal specifically for articles on Adult Play.
Tweets between myself and Mathia Poulsen
I've pulled a proposal together and sent it to the University of Huddersfield Press to consider... so in the next few weeks I should know what they think and either go ahead with them or another (uni?) press.

There has been an overwhelmingly positive response from interested people and I have loads of people offering to be on the board / reviewers, as well as interest in writing for it. So (fingers crossed), early in 2019 I should be able to start firming up a new journal and putting out the first call for papers - perhaps with the first papers being published late Spring, early summer 2019?

Whatever happens, my intention is the the journal to be fully open access (including "licence to publish" rather than assigning copyright to the journal, CC-BY licences), no APCs (charges to authors), primarily double blind peer reviewed (but with a section for less traditionally academic material / formats too), and international in scope.

The name of it is still under discussion (might do another post about that), but will probably be something like the "Journal of Play (or playfulness?) in Adulthood" to make it easy to discover and see at a glance what it is about!

Friday, 19 October 2018

Possible Counterplay proposal

Paper Castles hanging from wires
I'm currently pondering ideas for the current call for proposals for Counterplay 2019, but it's all a little in the air at the moment.

I'd welcome comments on the draft proposal below! Basically considering giving people a (non-literal) map that playfully challenges people to reflect on how the library space (the venue) makes them feel as they consider different aspects of their space and their own (and colleagues) experiences.

Draft follows:

Navigating the lines between the mental and physical library spaces.

This is an experimental intervention, guiding participants through a psychogeographic exploration of the physical library space in order to allow them to consider their mental models and prior experience of such a space.
Playfully crossing the edges between physical and mental library spaces, participants will explore different ways in which they may experience physical and shared social spaces such as Dokk1. All participants will be armed with a map and instructions and sent out into the library, before returning to reflect upon their experiences.
Based on Counterplay participants’ feedback, this approach may be adapted to help enable new undergraduate students next year to playfully consider themselves within their new, confusing, scary university environment. It is hoped that this approach will allow them to reflect upon their prior expectations and experiences, and allow them to find new ways of belonging within these new social and physical spaces. It may also be adapted by anyone who wishes to explore how people experience a social space, or who would like to help people reflect upon their own sense of belonging within such a space.

Monday, 10 September 2018

LibraryCampCamp has finished

Handwritted note saying: Really great time at library camp camp, met some inspiring people, had some excellent talks, and picked up some good ideas. Would recommend to anyone.
It's Monday as I write this, after the weekend of #LibraryCampCamp, a new library learning festival. Thank you so much to the Information Literacy Group of CILIP for sponsoring it, and the attendees for their engagement and participation that made it work.

We made draft zines (on reading for pleasure and on play (they do need tweaking before they could be printed / distributed!), manually tweeted, chatted about lots of interesting and library related things, tried new teaching ideas out, played games, made fire, and explored the gorgeous site.

At some point soon I'll think about whether we run it again (we collected ideas for future events!) and what that event will look like... but for now I hope people enjoy seeing some of the content we created under the links above.

Look for another iteration of the festival in 2019 if we can manage to organise something...

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Permission to play research interviews

Set of goodies from the CounterPlay conference including mask and chatterbox
I've been thinking about the idea of "permission to play" a lot recently, putting some of those early thoughts into a paper for the HEaD conference.

More recently I've been interviewing people who use play with adults about how they use play, trying to dig a little into how they enable people to play, or help to give "permission to play" to them. I've talked to a series of fascination people (15 of them?) and it's been brilliant hearing the amazing range of things happening and the different approaches that people take. It's also wonderful how generous they've been in offering up their time to talk about these things - the play community is full of great people.

As soon as possible I'll be transcribing, analysing, and generally puzzling over all the stuff that people told me about and trying to work it into a journal article (or a short book if I think I can justify it).  I'm sure I'll present it to at least one conference as well, though not 100% sure where (except perhaps Counterplay).

So thank you to everyone I interviewed and watch out for outputs at some point in 2019!

Monday, 23 July 2018

Moar books! 2nd Edition of The Mini Book of Teaching Tips for Librarians

Book cover
Another book due out at the start of September!

I created the Mini Book of Teaching Tips for Librarians as an experiment - it 60+ pages of teaching tips and ideas, most of which on one page, in a mini A6 format.

This is the 2nd edition, expanded to 100 pages long. It's due out early September, but if pre-ordered will probably arrive before then!

ISBN: 978-1911500117 - only £9.95

Saturday, 21 July 2018

I've just okayed the final proofs of "The librarians' book on teaching through games and play", so it'll be appearing on bibliographic databases over the next few weeks (already on Amazon!) to pre-order. Officially out on 3rd September, pre-orders should ship pretty much straight away!

At some point after publication I'll update the free / OA first draft version so it's available online as a PDF too.

Friday, 29 June 2018

New (early release) book, The librarians’ book on teaching through games and play

The Librarians' book on teaching through games and play

I've just finished the first draft of a new book, "The librarians’ book on teaching through games and play". It contains lots of materials aimed at librarians and information professionals to use games and play in their teaching.

As an experiment, I'm releasing it in a fairly raw* state. It still needs editing, plus some content is likely to be added over the next couple of months (and some edited out!). Sections may also move around to make more sense. BUT, the content is roughly complete. So take a look please! When the final version is ready it will be released as a print book (aiming for September 2018), but I'll also update the Open Access PDF too.

Please don't save and share this version elsewhere as it will be updated before too long, share the link to this blog, or the repository page instead so people will be able to access the most up to date version!

Full text, including updated files as they become available:

* Note: This is the “early release” PDF version – it has not yet been edited and some content may still be missing. The final versions (print and PDF) will vary from this early version. 29th June 2018.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Permission to play and the HEAd conference

Summer hat with conference logo

I went to the HEAd conference in Valencia last week and talked about "Permission to play in Higher Education". It's something I've been thinking about a lot recently, so I'll be doing more on this over the next year or so!

I did a run through beforehand, so if you want to know (roughly) what I said (minus the pass the parcel activity!), watch the video below. I've not done subtitles yet, but the slides are also available including notes, plus the full /formal written paper too.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Video on play and libraries

I did a short presentation today in the form of a video for a lovely bunch of library staff in Lithuania - I think they'll be showing it in June. I talk a bit about play, games, gamification, and some of the playful things I've done over the last few years. If anyone fancies watching it, here you go!

I'm pondering doing a series of short (few minutes long) videos using something a bit funkier than PowerPoint - I might have a go over the summer :-)

Monday, 23 April 2018

Predatory conference game early thoughts

I've had spam from predatory journals for years, together with a much lower level of dodgy conference invites. The conferences used to be fairly easy to spot, sending the sort of email that says "We want to invite you to chair a session / give a talk at the <conference name> that covers <ever subject under the sun> in <exotic location>".
It may be my imagination, but the conference spam seems to be arriving much more regularly now and is a lot harder to critically evaluate than it used to be. It isn't as obvious any more which are predatory conferences (which may not actually run, or will be very poor quality, often at the same time as multiple other "conferences" organised by the same people), and which are "real" conferences that would be genuinely valuable for people to attend.
I came across one a little while ago that I thought would be great to speak at, but I'd never heard of before, so I was suspicious - but as far as I could tell, it was a genuine, good quality conference that would be a valuable experience. Alongside that, I got asked on 3 occasions over the period of about 2 weeks about conferences by early career researchers - they were the opposite to me and were either considering submitting to conferences, or on one occasion had already sent a paper in which (of course!) was accepted, thought the conferences seemed clearly dodgy to me.
So I started to think about what questions we should ask when we come across a conference to judge whether it is predatory or not... with the idea that at some point I can use these as a basis of a learning game.

I have heard of Think, Check, Attend by the way, but it seems a tad brief, and there isn't the same opportunity to draw out the grey areas that we might get through playing a game! I think a "checklist" approach can help with the ones that are most clearly "dodgy", but don't show the full picture a game and associated discussion might do...

Sunday, 1 April 2018

LILAC 18 talk

I'm due to give a talk at LILAC in Liverpool in a few days time on "Play as Transformative Information Literacy Education", the slides above are a sneak preview of the slides I'll be using. If the link doesn't work, they can be viewed directly on Slideshare.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Playful publishing ponder

stack of board games
A general (but short) ponder coming up!

I've tried to do some playful things with publishing books for library & related staff... starting with "Only Connect..." where we messed about with format quite a bit (and made it open access). I also wrote a book chapter in comic format that I was allowed to release OA too. Last year I tried writing and publishing a book in a pocket sized format (Mini book of teaching tips for librarians) to try and make it easy to dip into and very cheap to buy, with less of the "padding" you might get in a typical professional development book.

So... I was wondering whether we could do something else a tad playful that might be fun to create AND useful for people to access afterwards. Perhaps getting a bunch of people together to write something in 1 day (maybe 2)? If we had a bunch of people come together for a day, we could easily sketch out a structure and create a few pages worth of something in that day. If we want, that could be very informal (a zine?) that would then be pulled together immediately afterwards and made available primarily in electronic format (with a handful of paper copies for the attendees / writers). Slightly more ambitiously, if we're all locked in a room, it should be possible to write at least the first draft of a book chapter each (which would require coming ready to write, plan already in place). So could write a full edited book if we agreed a structure beforehand, came ready to write, then polished afterwards. Though realistically, "proper" chapters for a book might take a couple of days with some space in between the two days... plus decent amount of communication beforehand / between sessions online.

I'd be open to pretty much any subject matter to try out the idea, but here are a few possible ideas that might be suitable for the "library" world, but also up for wider education / learning support / fun stuff:

For a zine:

Information Literacy teaching ideas (of various flavours? Referencing? Searching? Critical reading?)
Found poetry
A selection of library walks (Psychogeographical style)
Playing in libraries (how to make libraries more "playful")
Cheap & free professional development ideas
Critical librarianship for beginners

For a book:

Information Literacy teaching ideas (of various flavours? Referencing? Searching? Critical reading?)
Playing in libraries (how to make libraries more "playful")
"Workbooks" for improving IL in particular student groups (e.g. IL for education students)
Critical librarianship examples  / studies / how to...
Getting diverse voices into librarianship

Also open to anonymising contributions / editors if people wanted to do something they felt might be controversial or career limiting as long as the topic had value.

To do something short & sweet (zine style) we could agree a topic online, meet somewhere free or cheap on a weekend(?) and create everything from scratch then.
To do something like a "proper" book (but as random / playful as people were up for), we'd probably have to agree a topic online, assign chapter authors / write abstracts and collect material for those chapters, meet for at least one day on a weekend somewhere free or cheap, then edit / tweak material afterwards. Plenty of online tools we could use to communicate for it... Slack maybe?

Would anyone be up for these sort of ideas? If so, talk about it on Twitter / whatever initially under #bookdisrupt hashtag? Then we'll see if we can make it happen if there is enough interest...

Cardiff Lego Workshop

Librarians sat around a table covered in Lego

I ran a Lego workshop in Cardiff the other day - a full day of looking at how we could use ideas from Lego Serious Play (or related ideas) in library teaching.

It was a lovely group of nearly 20 people, though I think I worked them a tad hard... lots of people were flagging towards the end. A full day has worked well in the past, but might be tempted to do a half day in future for a workshop like this (it would also make tickets cheaper!) next time I run it.

Lots of lovely tweets during the day under the #libraryplay hashtag, such as the one below - take a look if you want a flavour of the day!