Play from Past to Present: Global Perspectives

University of Greenwich, the Society for Study of Childhood in the Past and the Social History Society (Southern Region)

Friday April 23rd 2010, University of Greenwich, The Old Royal Naval College, Maritime Greenwich Campus, 10 Park Row, SE10 9LS, Queen Anne 063

Johan Huizinga argued in Homo Ludens (1938) that animals’ play preceded the development of human society, and that play is closely linked to the formation of culture. Although it is frequently associated with the young, adults also engage in playful activities. This symposium will analyse play in long-chronological and international perspective, and commemorate the centenary of the Girl Guides’ Association, officially founded in 1910.

9.00-9.30 a.m. Registration in Queen Anne 063

9.30 to 11. a.m. Play in the Middle Ages
Professor Nicholas Orme (Exeter) “Medieval Play: Problems and Possibilities
Dr Bronagh Ni Chonaill  (Glasgow)  “The Child at Play in Medieval Ireland”

11-11.30 a.m. Tea and coffee

11.30 a.m.-1.15 p.m. Play in Britain from the eighteenth century to the present
Mary Hilton (Cambridge) will introduce  M. Hilton and J. Shefrin, eds, Educating the Child in Enlightenment Britain: Beliefs, Cultures, Practices  (Ashgate, Aldershot, 2009).
Dr Keith Cranwell (Greenwich) “Mary Ward, play provision and the state”
Dr Mathew Thomson (Warwick) “The Landscape of the Child in Post-war Britain”

1.15--2.15 p.m. Lunch (This can be purchased in either of the university cafes near the venue)

2.15 .-4.00 p.m. Play, survival and national identity
Claire Shaw  (UCL/UCEES ) “’Speaking in the Language of Art’: Deaf theatre in Soviet Russia”
Dr Valentina Boretti (SOAS) “No mere fun: Play and toys in republican and communist China”   
Dr Mary Clare Martin (Greenwich)   “Girl Guides in Britain, France and Poland, 1910-1950” 

4.00-4.20 p.m. Tea and coffee

4.20-5.00 p.m.The child at play in the new millenium  
Dr Marianna Papadopoulou (Greenwich) “The intentional character of socio-dramatic play: Greece in the twenty-first century”

Booking: Entry is free, but please contact Mary Clare Martin,, with your name, postal address, post and institutional affiliation (if any) before March 26th to reserve a place, as space is limited.

How to find us : Cutty Sark station on the Docklands Light Railway is a few minutes’ walk away. The DLR connects with the Jubilee and Northern lines at Canary Wharf, and with the Central line at Bank.

Evening There will be an opportunity after the conference to go out for a drink in the nearby Trafalgar pub, which overlooks the river, and for a restaurant meal in Greenwich.