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Two of my favourite UK children's scholars, Jackie Marsh and Rebekah Willett, have been collaborating (along with a number of other scholars) on an amazing project for the past couple of years now, examining "Children’s Playground Games and Songs in the New Media Age." Out of this project, Marsh, Willett and their expanding team of researchers, assistants, educators and child participants have now published several incredibly important and useful documents - articles, literature reviews and reports that are challenging some key assumptions and reshaping our knowledge of contemporary play practices (in the UK specifically, but with implications for many other areas as well). Their findings (to date) are attracting an increasing amount of press coverage, as you may have seen in the recent Guardian articles describing how children still "delight in playground games," using them as a forum for engaging with cultural themes, characters and narratives.
Today, the British Library launched a very cool new website, in conjunction with Children’s Playground Games and Songs in the New Media Age project, entitled: Playtimes: A Century of Children's Games and Rhymes. The site, along with all the other project initiatives mentioned above, are all well worth checking out. Here's the official announcement (reproduced from the site), including information about the Playground Games/Songs project's
Playtimes: A Century of Children's Games and RhymesLaunched today, Playtimes features unique audio recordings and film footage of children's games from 1900 to the present day.In the sixties, seventies and eighties, folklorists Iona and Peter Opie documented how the games of the time included fragments of advertising jingles, pop songs, theme tunes and soap operas. The British Library has digitized the Opies’ field recordings, making them available alongside older and newer recordings on the Playtimes website.
Children’s Playground Games and Songs in the New Media AgeTuesday 15 March 2011, 12.00 – 17.00 (at the British Library Conference Centre)Please join us for a conference to report on the AHRC funded research project, featuring a keynote address by Professor Michael Rosen, former children’s laureate.The conference will launch a new British Library website: Playtimes: A Century of Children’s Games and Rhymes. The site contains new material collected during the project, selections from the Library’s ‘Opie Collection of Children’s Games and Songs’ and films and photographs from other nationwide archives.This conference is suitable for educationalists and researchers.To attend, please contact Gyta Nicola (E: G.Nicola@ioe.ac.uk T: 020 7763 2164) by 31/01/11.