Seeing what is there to be seen. Filming at Glamis Adventure Playground.


I had the pleasure of working with Kristin Eno film maker, this week. We spent a day at the launch of the new play and leisure department of Greenwich University. We filmed some. Amazing people presenting elevator lectures on various play related topics on Thursday. On friday we went to Glamis to film. It is always amazing watching children play there. It is a huge patchwork of complex complex and inspiring play. Usually I watch and learn to benefit my own practice. I see a mesh of interwoven and free standing creative genius play out before my eyes. Whichever direction I turn my gaze, I see wonders unravelling and restitching themselves. A glory of narratives. I am used to seeing this and yet it is still a pageant to me. A riot of narrative and backstory and an unfurling of understanding and calibration of world and circumstance into a multitude of growing brains working alone and in tight and passing harmony. Can you ever get used to such an intense exposure to life? I don’t. I am moved by almost every privileged second of my time spent in such circumstances.

Watching Kristin seeing and simultaneously filming this Adventure Playground allowed me to see the amazingness of it through her eyes, to see it allover again for the very first time.
It was a curious and illuminating insight. Kristin had travelled across the world to see this. She had not been to an Adventure Playground before. She had read about then though, and had come to the UK see if she could finally capture, on film, children directing their play in a permissive and supported environment.

I don’t know how she managed to ‘see what was there to be seen’ (Winnicott). I look forward to seeing the footage. But I was seeing something that could never be captured on film. That was the unfolding of the Process of play to the eyes, and lens, of some-one who had witnessed nothing like it before.

Can this insight serve a wider purpose? Can it serve as an illustration to open the doors of free play to children? To show adults what is necessary and powerful in their children’s lives?

This was the ultimate purpose of the visit, of the work that Kristin was engaged in. Just as the Elizabeth Goodenough inspired PBS documentary ‘Where do the children Play’ served to enhance the progress of the US Play Literacy Campaign, so Kristins images, captured at this oasis of sanity in the heart of the east end of London, could liberate children.

The sadness is, of course, that the funding of this amazing Adventure Playground is under threat due to a lack of financial resources.

How closely do sanity and madness lie?

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