Boy, I hadn't had a skate key in my hand for years. It didn't feel funny, though. You could put a skate key in my hand fifty years from now and I'd still know what it is.Holden Caulfield, The Catcher In The Rye - J.D. Salinger
It’s always good to play! Play helps us remember things we thought we’d long forgotten and our hands naturally do things they haven’t done in years.
Over the course of six months we made board games, spun yo-yos, flew gliders and threw beanbags with people throughout Wakefield. The Playful Memories project produced four separate artworks, the main part of which was created by participants and reflected the playful journey we went on together that summer.
We collaborated with around 40 people aged between 50 and 90 who took part in workshops at four community centres across the district:
- Bevin Centre ‘Knit and Natter Group’ in Outwood
- Senior Citizens Lunch Group at St Peter’s Church Stanley
- Crigglestone Methodist Fellowship Group
- New Wells Social Housing in Wakefield city centre
Playful Memories continued our exploration of play as important cultural activity. The authentic and successful outcomes further confirm our belief in the value and strength of products created in collaboration with participants and delivered within a robust framework.
Together we created four separate works - a kinetic work of spinners turned by small motors, a display of beanbags made from socks, peas and lentils, a film of yo-yos and a mobile made from balsa wood gliders.
The project was commissioned by Wakefield based arts organisation Beam and funded by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust’s ‘Creative Minds’ programme and Arts Council England. With special thanks to Amy Charles for the photographs and short film documenting ‘Playful Memories’, The Ridings Shopping Centre for kindly hosting the ‘Playful Memories’ exhibition and Emma Butler in her role as creative producer.
Some photos below by Amy Charles and Emma Bulter.