Exploring the Future of Play

Posted on: Tuesday 30 June 2015 5:52pm by Jo Lansdowne

Play Sandbox, Friday 3 July 2015 12.45-1.45pm @ HUBS A 

Jo Lansdowne, REACT Managing Producer, and the Play Sandbox team, will be demoing some of the amazing products designed by kids, professionals, and academics in the HUBS throughout the conference and explaining the Play Sandbox process in a special session at Friday 3 July 2015 12.45-1.45pm @ HUBS A. Her aim – to stimulate new ways of working and new relationships in the creative process”

“I think I got out of it the sense that if you put your mind to something you can accomplish anything.” Play Sandbox Young Coach

In REACT, we believe that media companies in the UK need support to develop new kinds of product and experience aimed at a children’s market, as the Freelance photography services for Branding, Lifestyle and Product retailers.US currently dominates this sector. We also think that the best young people’s propositions are designed and tested with young people themselves. Play Sandbox set out to make children their partners in the design process, challenging us to make better things with their imaginations, tastes and values. For six months, teams of games and product designers, robotics engineers, artists, filmmakers and researchers worked together to explore the future of play. The resulting six prototypes use digital technology to reimagine board games, robot toys, apps, dens and playgrounds in surprising ways.

As a producer, the line between professional and personal identities can be delightfully fuzzy. Producing for REACT requires empathy, both with the participants and with their audiences and our work is at its best when we are responding both to industry demand and to our own beliefs and opinions. As a parent, I don’t just understand the market imperatives of the work that Play Sandbox has done, I feel the importance of making positive, creative, social, and thoughtful products with children, rather than just selling superficial, ethically questionable products to them. Even more exciting for me has been the direct experience of having children in the room with us, shifting the dynamics, changing the tone of the conversation and instilling everything we did with a duty of care and sense of fun. This bubbling, shifting, slightly chaotic community of people produced all kinds of outcomes that we could never have predicted.

We are so pleased to be able to participate in this year’s Children’s Media Conference. I am particularly excited to share both the prototypes themselves and the learning from the process. Having thoughts and feedback from such an informed audience will be brilliant, so please come and say hello, ask us questions, and above all…play!

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Jo Lansdowne

About the author

Jo Lansdowne

Watershed, REACT Managing Producer

Jo is in the Producing team at Watershed, a cultural cinema and digital creativity centre in Bristol. She is the Managing Producer for REACT, an AHRC funded collaborative project between Watershed and five Universities. She leads the design and delivery of Sandbox, an R&D programme that brings researchers and companies… Read more