A treasure box for the Playful Academic

A fluid, self-reflective canon – is that even possible? This repository of activities is here to bring playfulness to your academic collaborations and research

Annika Lübbert, Katrin Heimann, Pedro Gonzàlez-Fernàndez

We hand over a box of methods and activities to support playful modes and diverse ways of knowing in our work as researchers. Besides this protocol or set of activities, our article also provides theoretical background, design criteria, what we learned or found difficult during this process, as well as suggestions for how you might adapt the activities we propose to better fit your research methods and environment.

Writing: the activity that got us started on this initiative was writing an article together – originally to reflect on elements of playfulness in our empirical work. We then moved to a more practical approach. We asked: how can we ‘fully implement’ the idea of bringing playfulness to our work as researchers? How can we build and investigate research material through playful exploration? Based on our our research backgrounds, we then composed a set of playful activities that evolve around reading and writing text.

Social moments: during our collaboration, we experienced easy and inspiring, but also difficult, challenging moments. We find these moments often call for a pause, a moment to settle and reorient. We therefore offer some concrete suggestions on how to live well through moments of social tension.