We’ve been working hard on CounterPlay ’15 for the past several months, and we’re very happy to announce the first batch of contributors for the upcoming festival. While this is already an amazing collection, we’ve got a lot more coming, and we aim to have a first edition of the actual program ready within a few weeks.

The contributions cover several different formats and activities, from talks to workshops and playful events, as well as a lot of things in between. The common denominator is the playful approach – to education, to culture, to our jobs, to communication, to our lives (we are working on some guidelines for CounterPlay contributions, where we ask one central question: how do you playfully engage your participants?).

Let’s get to it:

From the outset, I realised that “Playful Organisations” (“Playful Business” at the first festival, and here’s a flyer we’re working on) would probably be the hardest one to communicate. A lot is going on in the pretty wide domain of “Playful Culture”, and I’ve also seen a huge boost in “Playful Education” lately, but it seems it takes a bit more work to link this to the work going on in companies and organisations. That’s why we’re putting an extra effort into this domain, and we’ve got a skilled local, Morten Fryland from “Playground Marketing“, helping us out:

In the same category, I’m really happy that Elaine Rumboll from South Africa is coming, and that she’s already put such a big effort into helping us (Elaine wins additional points for getting in touch not despite but because of the informal (/chaotic) way we do things!):

I am interested in helping leaders and teams achieve their next-level of thinking, using the power of play.

From Hubbub, we’ve got Alper Çugun coming up. Hubub is “a playful design consultancy and a studio for playful products” and their tagline is “design for a playful world”. I feel they’re a good match 🙂

Annemarie Steen is “serious about playfulness” and is going to tell us about her work with enabling serious organisations to play more:

From Aarhus University, Andreas Lieberoth (who recently published the very interesting study on “Shallow Gamification“) will be sharing some of his work:

We’ve got Scott Nicholson coming over from the US to talk about some of his amazing work with “participatory design and Game Jams as a form of play that create connections between organizations and their users” as well as “meaningful gamification, which, at the heart, builds on using Play instead of Points”. Scott is a veteran in deploying games and playful methods and approaches to new arenas, and has been paving the way for all kinds of organisations to embrace playfulness:

As we’ve mentioned before, we’re working on a “Playful Cities” theme for CounterPlay ’15, and we’re humbled that some of the pioneers running the “Playable City Conference” in the UK will be coming to talk & host a workshop with us:

Another incredibly interesting and unique perspective on the playful city is brought up from Verona by Tocatì: International Festival of Street Games:

Carsten Jessen is one of the leading Danish researchers into the nature of play (including playing with media), and he’s the head of the Danish charter of the International Play Association, with whom we’re collaborating):

Over in the UK, Let Toys Be Toys are doing an impressive job of challenging the widespread dichotomy between “toys for boys” and “toys for girls”, and we’re looking forward to learning more about that effort (and how we can help):

At the moment, Odyssé is preparing a quite impressive experience, “InsideHamlet” to take place over a weekend at Elsinore Castle. At CounterPlay ’15, they’ll share their insights on creating engaging, participatory experiences:

The local game collective “GOLD” will be contributing with some of their wacky contraptions and ideas, hosting an ongoing workshop making games and playful stuff:

an Aarhus based game collective that wants create games that moves people

In the same category of local developers, Pelle Sølvkjær Christensen, GameCraft, and Esben Kjær Ravn, Kong Orange, will share some of their work as well as help us set the stage for creating more playful experiences:

Over the past several years, the team behind “Skolen i Spil” (“Scool@Play”) has been doing some incredibly impressive work with games, elements from games and playful approaches to education. They were at CounterPlay ’15, and we’re happy they want to come back with an even more playful contribution:

Coming down from Norway, Jørund Høie Skaug, Kristine Sevik & Terje Pedersen are going to talk about their experiences with drones and robots in schools, and I’m sure they’re bringing some interesting stuff to play with as well:

André Chercka is running the “Gameworkshop“, and he’s probably the single most experienced person in Denmark when it comes to facilitating playful learning experiences with various games (especially Minecraft). At CounterPlay ’15, he’ll be sharing some of his insigts, allowing you to try it out for yourself:

Almost last & the contrary of least, there’s Rikke Toft Nørgaard & Janus Holst Aaen  at “Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media“, Aarhus University, who are putting a very big effort into the “Playful Education” part of CounterPlay. In fact, they’re making an additional “call for contributions” and engaging a host of students to come up with playful projects & concepts. As if this wasn’t enough, they’re also running the local charter of the amazing & inherently playful tech playground for kids, “Coding Pirates“, so expect a wide array of opportunities to create, play and transgress!

Oh, and I’m quite sure that members of our advisory board will also contribute (I know they’ve got much to share, so how could they not – no pressure).

Yup, I think that’s that for now. We’re truly grateful that these amazing people want to play along – thank you!

As already mentioned, we’ve got the first edition of our program coming out within a week or two, and many, many additional contributors – so stay tuned & stay in touch!

The biggest thing you can do to help us?

Spread the word, share it with anybody (also and especially those you wouldn’t consider playful).

…because anybody could benefit from a little more playfulness.

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Mathias Poulsen

I think a playful mindset is essential for us to live better lives together. I organise the CounterPlay Festival to cultivate a #playfulsociety.

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