Playful Learning Conference

Playful Learning 20/21/22 will take place in Leicester, 6-8 July 2022.

Playful Learning is back!

  • Playful Learning 20/21/22 will now take place in July 2022.
  • Registration is now OPEN with early bird rates and special rates for students.
  • The keynotes and some presentations from 2020 remain in place, with many new sessions added to the line-up.
  • The call for sessions is now closed: successful presenters must now register to attend.

Outdoor activity

Playful Learning is pitched at the intersection of learning and play for adults. Playful in approach and outlook, yet underpinned by robust research and working practices, we provide a space where teachers, researchers and students can play, learn and think together. A space to meet other playful people and be inspired by talks, workshops, activities and events. In its home at the heart of England in Leicestershire, we have spaces that open the programme up to both indoor and outdoor activities, and evening activities that continue the playful learning and conversations after the formal programme ends.

Playful Learning 20/21/22 will take place on 6-8 July 2022 in Leicester.

PLA Conference Cambridge

PLA meeting – Cambridge May 2022


The first post-lockdown PLA meeting will take place in Cambridge at Anglia Ruskin University, to coincide with a PlayLab residency.

About this event

The first face to face meeting of the Playful Learning Association following the earlier lockdowns will be held at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.

In the tradition of our previous events, everyone is warmly welcomed – whether you’re new to the Association, a veteran of the previous Special Interest Group, or based in or around Cambridge and interested in the use of play and games for adult learning.

The theme is Making Space for Play : the meeting will co-incide with a residency by a postgraduate collective from Denmark who will be setting up a ‘PlayLab’ on site. The precise content of the meeting is currently being crowd-sourced from our members, but normally includes playtests, active discussions, sharing of practice, and creation of new ideas or projects.

The event will run from midday on Thursday 19th May, through to midday on Friday 20th. There is no charge to attend, but we ask that members arrange their own transport and accommodation (suggestions below). A light lunch will be provided on arrival and departure, with refreshments throughout.

Agenda (subject to minor alterations)


12:00 – Arrival/lunch

13:00 – Welcome / ice breaker

13:30 – Climate change boardgame prototype (Matteo Menapace)

14:00 – PlayLab theory and practice (visiting PhD students, Denmark)

14:30 – Refreshments

15:00 – PlayLab experimentation

17: 00 – Games and cakes at Thrive

Later in the evening we’ll find somewhere to eat/drink, or you can do your own thing.


09:00 – Coffee

09:30 – Playing Outside: Secret Portals (group activity*)

11:00 – Refreshments

11:30 – Group mission reports

12:00 – Open slot for PLA members to offer/test/share

13:00 – Close, with grab-bag lunch provided

*Note: for this activity you will be walking around Cambridge; but you can choose to walk shorter or longer distances, and optionally co-ordinate your group from our base room.

Accomodation suggestions

There are a number of accommodations across Cambridge for most budgets, but the following are closest to the venue or train station (it’s a 20 min walk from the station to the venue).

Travelodge Newmarket Road (around £60)

Premier Inn Newmarket Road (around £50)

Ibis Cambridge Central Station (around £100)

International Conference on Global Education and the Green Economy

This is the 9th iteration of the International Research Conference series, and builds again upon  Responsible Research and Innovations (RRI),  with the theme of “Global Education and the Green Economy.” Academics and practitioners across the world are invited to share their perspectives around key and emerging challenges facing humanity and the potential for addressing these via educational and economic activity, especially examples of sustainable and green initiatives. The perspectives expected are challenges, processes, and outcomes of socially responsible research, especially its impact on communities and stakeholders.

The broad objectives of the conference series are:

  1. To provide an inclusive platform fostering an active community of researchers collaborating on issues of social significance and societal concern
  2. To advance the principles and practices of Responsible Research and Innovations (RRI) in support of researchers at all stages of their research journey
  3. To provide an open and accessible mechanism for sharing creative contributions to the research agenda across various subject matter and discipline areas.

The Scientific Conference Committee:
Professor Stephen McKinneyUniversity of Glasgow, UK Conference Chairman Dr Ravi KumarLondon School of Management Education, UK Conference
Dr Peter GrayNorwegian University of Science & Technology, Norway
Dr Sarita ParhiLondon School of Management Education, UK
Martin McAreavey University of Bolton, UK
Hassan Shifau London School of Management Education, UK
Dr Dolly Jackson-SillahLondon School of Management Education, UK
Dr Alexandra OkadaOpen University, UK

Within our broad theme, we encourage papers adopting empirical, experimental and theoretical content produced by researchers. We are particularly interested in (but not exclusively committed to):
– Education Management
– Lifelong Learning
– Economic and Social Impact of Education
– Social Impact through the Green Economy
– Innovation in Learning and Education
– Impact of Technology on Education and Green Economy Settings
– Accessibility to Education for the Disadvantaged
– New Perspectives on Global Education
– Global Impact of Green Economy Initiatives

Dr Okada will be supporting two large international networks on Global Education for Sustainability with fun participatory approaches:
(1) CONNECT Open Schooling  and
(2) OLAF – online learning to participate in this conference


PODCAST: Qualitative research – online ethnography

Sarah Huxley, a third-year Ph.D. student at the OU, produced a podcast for the OU Grad School. In this podcast, Sarah talks with Nora Dooley who is a staff member of the not-for-profit Coaches Across Continents (CAC) about qualitative research. This podcast is a resource for researchers and practitioners, seeking advice about qualitative research; and in particular online ethnography and how to work with participants.

“The conversation covers Nora’s ‘do’s and don’ts’ for researchers, as well as her reflections on surprises during data gathering, challenges, and ultimately if she found the research process fun. Sarah sums up the episode by reflecting upon her approach to the research process as one of ‘disciplined improvisation’ (based on the notion by RK Sawyer, 2004). As well as the possibilities that the pandemic catalysed in relation to thinking and working with online embodied ethnography.”

Have fun! More details and access to the podcast: HERE.

A special thanks to Nora Dooley from Coaches Across Continents  for contributing her ideas and voice, and to Mark Childs from Pedagodzilla for providing podcasting advice and support! It was much needed.

Reference: Sawyer, R. K. (2004) ‘Creative Teaching: Collaborative Discussion as Disciplined Improvisation’, Educational Researcher, 33(2), pp. 12–20. doi: 10.3102/0013189X033002012.

If you wish to reach out to Sarah, you can find her on Twitter at: