I got the chance to view the V&A at a special event they held for people who work within the local cultural sector and local businesses through my part time job at the DCA. It was actually a really useful visit for the networking aspect.
I was lucky enough to get speaking to Tracey Smith who works at the V&A as the Young People & Families producer, she recognised me from me working in the gallery at DCA as she had worked there previously.
I was interested in the activity room and what kinds of learning tools and games they have within the museum and how they differ to the offering we have at the DCA. She was excited that they were soon to be having pieces from Imagination Playground delivered for one of their bigger spaces. She explained it is a brand of playground which comes as different foam parts, (it kind of looks like blue foam as all the pieces are blue) and it was designed with the idea that kids can use their imagination for the playground to become anything. Like a blank canvas which could become a technicolour environment that the child can imagine. This is something I will be looking in to when I compare it to the playgrounds I will be viewing in Copenhagen next week as I am in two minds about how literal an interpretation my final project needs to be of an environment, character, costume, story etc... for the child to engage their imagination.
I decided to have a look at the Imagination Playground website and their Youtube to get a sense of what the product is and how it works. The company themselves describe the product as a "breakthrough block-based system [which is] designed to transform children's lives through play" and is also part of the Extraordinary Playscapes travelling exhibition I have looked at previously.
Despite having a few concepts which have steered away from the idea of developing an outdoor urban "smart" playground, which was an initial concept. It is products like this which are making me want to keep my options open and I think it might be important for me to start mapping some of these alternative concepts that explore larger scale ideas.
And last but not least
I was speaking to Tracey about the work that I have been doing and my concept to date. She spoke to me about a monthly workshop that the V&A are running with under-5's called Toy Testing. Essentially they are testing newly designed toys and prototypes with children and the facilitators are getting them to use these toys and prototypes and give feedback. Tracey has given me her details so that I can contact her to participate one of my prototypes in a session. Which is a really exciting opportunity to have!
I am needing to prepare for a tutorial with Ewan and Chris later in the week as I am away on a research trip next week, so I also need to finish preparing for Guru's day. However, I think I have come to a stage where I have multiple ideas and am at a bit of a conflict and need to map out the ideas and possibilities, the areas of interest, my key objectives and see if I can gain any focus to my project direction.