We are delighted to announce our fabulous keynotes for 2017!

Niki Woods

“This Doesn’t Feel Like a Game Anymore…”

An exchange between audience and performer in everyday environments – cities, towns along the canals – invites participants to rethink these familiar places. Playful exchanges, both live and virtual, begin to tear at the reality of place, superimposing fictional places and stories as participants become characters in new worlds of their own making – ‘spectators’ playfully performing as the game plays out!

Niki is a performer, practitioner and teacher exploring the boundaries of digital, immersive, participatory and devised performance. Through her work with award winning digital art group Blast Theory since 1997, Niki has become fascinated by the many, live and online interactions that have emerged through exchanges between performer, participant, technology and location.

Rikke Toft Nørgård

“The signature of playful teaching and learning: a value-based vision-driven educational design thinking approach to playfulness in higher and further education”

This keynote presents a value-based vision-driven educational design thinking approach to developing more playful teaching and learning experiences in higher and further education by answering the following questions: How do we make sure that playfulness does not stay at the surface layer of education to make it look ‘fun’ but connects to the deep structures of pedagogical ‘how to’ designs and are embedded in the virtues emanating from the ‘why-ness’ of education? How do we design our pedagogy and institutions so that playfulness will be in the heart, head, and hands of the students’ learning experience – and perhaps even the teaching experience? During the presentation, we will create a collective piece that embodies the power of playful institutions through engaging the values and visions of playful teaching and learning in higher and further education.

Rikke is associate professor in educational design and technology at the Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media, Aarhus University, Denmark. Her work within playful education focuses on the values and potentials of playful attitudes and approaches in education, designing for playful teaching in further and higher education and the possibility of the playful university.

Deborah Bullivant

“Grimm & Co, the story so far”

As a teacher-educator and researcher in the area of literacy, language, education and the arts, I have a keen interest in how and which artistic approaches make meaningful impact on children’s literacy and language and on their confidence, self-esteem and ability to think independently. Whilst directing a 2 year, £2.5 million project in Rotherham (Inspire Rotherham, 2011-13) I worked with the University of Sheffield to undertake ethnographic research studies & quantifiable searches to explore which approaches led to the greatest impact on reading and writing. The results provided the rationale and foundation footholds for the development of a Yorkshire story centre, further inspired by the 826 Valencia model (USA) to champion the writer in every child, starting with a ‘£0’ budget. On 29th Feb 2016 Grimm & Co opened to humans. In this talk I will introduce Grimm & Co. The apothecary to the magical serves wizards, fairies, trolls and giants and conceals a secret, through a secret door, where the real magic of words and the joyful discovery of stories can’t fail to captivate and ignite the imaginations of children and adults alike.

Deborah Bullivant, Mortal and Founding Director of Grimm & Co, Yorkshire’s One and Only Apothecary to the Magical, based in Rotherham town centre. Deborah (human) is a teacher-educator and researcher with particular emphasis on literacy, language, education and the arts with a consistent focus on meaningful engagement with vulnerable families and on children’s confidence, self-esteem and ability. She has worked with all age ranges from pre-birth to 97 as teacher, lecturer, headteacher and director of programmes in schools, colleges, universities, alternative education settings, regional and national voluntary sector organisations across 28 years.