Rita Ezenwa-Okoro

Keynote Abstract

Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic began, a grouping of play and performance activists from around the world co-created a Play Ship. A moving virtual play space that provided social, emotional, and community support to our fellow human beings as we weathered the storm of the crisis together. With over 500 free play shops offered and 15,000 people from over 95 countries participating, the Global Play Brigade (GPB) was built. The GPB is a grassroots movement hinged on the transformative power of play, and it is spreading rapidly. What have we discovered from this playful global grassroots experiment? Is play for social transformation and community building catching on? (Yes!) What have we learned about creating and organizing culturally specific play spaces represented by different countries and peoples? What have we learned about creating new kinds of equitable play spaces that cross social, cultural, political, and geographical borders and barriers? How can we further tie the groundbreaking academic work of TASP with the revolutionary grassroots play movement embodied in the GPB?

Let’s talk! Let’s play! Let’s discover together!