The Playing the Archive team recently visited the Olympic Park in Stratford to scope out play spaces. We looked at cafés and outdoor spaces, and focused especially closely on existing playgrounds at the site.
We hope to use mixed reality to make novel connections between the physical and digital environments, pulling through archival materials from the Opie and Museum of Childhood collections with the hope of bringing the songs, games and play of previous generations to life. (You can find out more about this strand of the project here.) Discussions about potential uses of the space will continue over the coming weeks and months.
Using the ideas created in the other parts of the project, the project will tackle one of the challenges of play in today’s society by building two experimental playgrounds in regeneration sites in Sheffield and London (the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park). These playgrounds will use innovative approaches to playspace and equipment, but also incorporate ‘smart’ objects linking physical play to the historic objects in the archives of the Bodleian and the V&A Museum of Childhood, both partners in the project who will contribute towards the design of the digital tools and resources. The playgrounds will exemplify ‘mixed reality’ play, combining the physical and the virtual, and linking the play cultures of playgrounds and videogames as they are already linked in children’s imaginations.