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In partnership with Philadelphia Playful Learning Landscapes and Trying Together along with Carnegie Museum of Art and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at the Carnegie Museum of Art in the Oakland community of Pittsburgh we hosted UnConference: Play for Change, a day-long event to think critically about play. There were keynote speakers, lightning talks, hands-on activities and action plan time.

We convened 17 teams from neighborhoods, boroughs, and cities from across southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia to:

  1. Explore WHAT is play, and WHY play?

  2. Understand the play continuum and the role of “playful learning,” such as the Six C’s (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, culture/community, creativity, and connectivity) and their importance in positioning our children for the future.

  3. Consider a “play community.” Why they are important? And, how to define a vision, mission, purpose, and goals in the creation of your own playful community. We’ll talk about lessons learned from the Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative and the Philadelphia Playful Learning Landscapes.

  4. Learn more about transforming public spaces into community play and playful learning spaces such as hands on installations of playful learning modules.

  5. Develop action plans for infusing play in your community. What challenges at the school, neighborhood or city-level do you think ‘play’ may help address in your own community? How do we design communities with intention to address these challenges? We’ll talk about the Hazelwood Play Trail case study.

All while considering issues of equity, transportation, safety, play across the ages, community input and more.

After the horrific tragedy at Tree of Life synagogue on Saturday October 27th, we decided to move forward with the Play for Change UnConference as planned, understanding the teaching and healing power of play.

Conference attendees have been invited to think about how they might offer “Big Playful Ideas” and “Big Playful Events” within their own communities. On November 16th, the Play for Change grant was launched! Attendees are invited to think about collaborative, playful, uplifting and accessible to all ideas or events and apply for up to $7,500 in funding to make these playful concepts a reality! Stay tuned to our website as these grants will be announced in January!

Read a recap of the Unconference here, and view photos from the day below (photos: Nico Segall Tobon, courtesy of The Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative) :