Children and experts redesigning playgrounds together in the Western Balkans
Belgrade, 26th of May 2022 – Through the Creative Europe programme, the European Union finances project RE:PLAY and the promotion of natural play, co-creation and integration of natural elements in the redesign of children’s playscapes in Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Albania.
RE:PLAY (Redesigning playscapes with children in Western Balkans) is a project funded by the European Union, which aims to redesign playgrounds, with children as the main initiators of the project.
Last week, the partners gathered in Belgrade exactly in the middle of the project that started in January 2021. So far, the partners have realized a series of co-creative workshops and regional exchanges. The aim of the workshops is to test new design models through which children and young people are included as equal members in decision-making when designing a play space. The goal of this approach is to change the established design practice designing for children into designing with children. The results of this approach so far have strengthened children and young people, encouraged their imagination and independence in work and life, but also empowered in exercising the right to public spaces and, more importantly, safe and authentic play.
As part of the regular meeting of partner organizations held in Belgrade, a public event called “Play begins when we appear!” where experts, individuals and representatives of organizations from the field of social sciences, humanities and spatial (technical) sciences met. Within the three-hour interactive program, guests had a unique opportunity to meet and talk from different professional and experiential positions about the theme of the game, its role in the development of our unique personalities, society and cultures. Looking at the social circumstances of the Western Balkans, the participants talked about possible ways to nurture it through life and manifest it through the space and infrastructure of cities that encourage the most important development aspects and exercise the right to play as one of the project’s leading goals.
The conversation was stimulated by the introductory speech of Professor Ana Marjanović-Šejn, who has been defining parameters for quality play spaces for several decades through her work and practice. This public exchange was an opportunity for the local professional public to get acquainted with the project and get involved in thinking about the state of play in the wider social context of the Western Balkans. It was emphasized once again that nature is the ultimate playground that encourages curiosity and imagination and within which all generations can find and create their own space for play.
By the end of 2023, in Belgrade, Zagreb, Bar, Ljubljana and Tirana, partner organizations together with local partners, children and young people will create five redesigned play areas, and a handbook will be prepared for the professional public, illustrating different work methodologies.
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Find out more about RE:PLAY partner organizations:
– Društvo Pazi!park (LP, Slovenia): http://www.pazipark.si/en/home/,
– Kreativni krajobrazi (Croatia): https://kreativnikrajobrazi.hr/en/,
– Udruženje Škogled (Serbia): http://skograd.org/en/home-en/,
– Qendra Marrëdhënie (Albania): http://qendra-m.org/,
– Gradionica (Montenegro): https://gradionica.me/
Društvo Pazi!park, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Lead partner – Gaja Trbižan, firstname.lastname@example.org, +386 31889210