Porter School Visit
It’s Courtney Davis here, Culture + Play Studio’s Participation Co-Designer. My job, along with Jen Grysho, is to design and coordinate the workshops we do with the Porter Middle School students. We just had our first workshop and it was awesome to meet everyone, play together, and talk design.
We started out with a few “get to know you” games from my old theatre days! They had us laughing and playing together in no time. Then the games transitioned into a cultural grouping activity. We walked around the space, and when the leader signaled, the students silently grouped themselves according to a specific prompt, like “what you are wearing on your feet.” Then, the groups had to call out what the group was without conferring with one another. Sometimes the answers were the same, and sometimes they were totally different, because everyone had different perceptions on what the group was about. This lead to some interesting conversations about culture.
We spent some time talking about culture, and started to establish a group definition of the word. The students realized the culture has a lot of different manifestations, like food, clothing, music, special holidays and gatherings, and family traditions and rituals. Part of their homework assignment is to talk to their grownups about their culture, and the ways it manifested for them, as well as the things they liked to do and play as children.
Play was our next topic of discussion. The students brainstormed and shared ways they loved to play, and what they liked to do when they played with friends and family. Then the designing began! We grabbed cardstock, scissors, and tape and went all out creating the play structures of our dreams. The students labeled their designs and placed little figures on them for scale. The creativity was truly amazing, from obstacle courses to indoor surfing, these kids really know how to have fun.
On behalf of our studio, we can’t wait to work with the Porter Middle School students again! Next visit, they’ll be bringing some research, and we will all be bringing drawings or collages about culture and play.