Bar, 8th March 2023 – International Women’s Day was celebrated with a partners meeting and preparation for the implementation of a pilot program under the RE:PLAY (Redesigning playscapes with children in the Western Balkans) project. This initiative is funded by the European Creative Europe Fund and aims to involve children as the end users in the collaborative and co-creative process of designing new playgrounds.
RE:PLAY partners convened in Bar for a two-day partner exchange to review the progress of the three-year project and kickstart upcoming activities for co-creating natural landscape playgrounds with children. The initial stages of co-creation involved active participation from children in designing the playground content that will enrich the pilot yards. In the last phase of the project, some of the children’s proposals will be realised, marking a significant step forward in creating playgrounds that better suit the needs of children.
As part of the exchange, project partners had the opportunity to visit and analyse the current state of existing playgrounds in the inner-city centre of the municipality of Bar, where several new playgrounds have been built and old ones have been renovated in recent couple of years. In addition, the partners were presented with an analysis of children’s needs which was carried out in several workshops in collaboration with high school students from the ‘’Niko Rolović’’ and the Economics and hospitality high school. These workshops helped define the children’s requirements for future yard arrangements compared to the previously devastated state of the open space in 2019.
Partners attended capacity building seminar titled “Community Needs Assessment and Power Mapping“, led by psychologist and psychotherapist Branka Ćalasan, representing the NGO Portret, the seminar offered participants an opportunity to learn about the psychological basis of play and children’s need for play as a fundamental right. The seminar covered both theoretical and practical aspects of professional psychology and included a discussion on the use of games as a powerful tool for developing cooperation with children and a more systematic approach to researching their needs, as well as the needs of the community. These learnings will be applied during and after the project program.
By the end of 2023, partner organisations will implement five pilot projects in designated areas to showcase how the co-creation process and collaboration between children, experts, and other stakeholders can lead to more innovative and effective playground designs that better reflect the needs and desires of children, young people, and as such of our communities. This inclusive process highlights the importance of natural elements in playgrounds and the creative potential that standardised, prefabricated playgrounds lack. Such playgrounds remove the element of risk from play, making them less interesting for younger populations and hindering their motoric and mental development. The results of this process will be presented in a guide, which is also one of the project’s main outcomes.
Find out more about RE:PLAY partner organisations:
- 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/
Contact person for more info: Društvo Pazi!park, Ljubljana, Slovenia, Lead partner – Gaja Trbižan, email@example.com, +386 31 889210
- Press release: Let the play in Western Balkans begin!