Small update from earlier this year - my lecture at the Brisbane Festival of Ideas has been turned into an article in the excellent culture and politics journal Soundings, slightly adapted and extended. I'd very much recommend you buy the publication, particularly for Zygmunt Bauman's essay on utopia, and a few others. In the meantime, here's a PDF of my own essay, with thanks to Soundings.
I also had a great conversation with Susan Richler, who devised the Kids Markets, and her colleague Judith McLean at Queensland University of Technology. The picture above - expands when you click it - was their statement of intent. As mentioned previously, the market was inspired by ideas from the Play Ethic - particularly the education chapter - which takes a typology of play as the basis for learning, understanding and acquistion of social skills.
I'm particularly excited by their notion that 'playing with' and simulating the experience of a market is a great way to prepare kids for living consciously and critically in a market society - using semiotics, law, philosophy, as well as entrepreneurial theory.
I loved the way they got the kids to experiment with alternative currency systems - my favorite was the stall where a kid would give you something if you "gave them an idea" (well, one that they thought was good enough). Another stall - the one with the red lanterns - sold prayers, which you had to consume on the spot.
Just a small and direct sample of what was, overall, one of the best talk-fests I've ever been to. Made quite a few lasting friends and connections, I think - and my appetite for Australian affairs has certainly increased as a result. When they start posting discussions, I'll link here
Hello to everyone who attened the Cremone Theatre in Brisbane, on March 31st. What follows is the unamended text of my lecture to the Brisbane Festival of Ideas on 'The Power of Play'. I'd be delighted if you used the comment box below to respond to the piece, in any way and at any length you see fit. If you want to contact me about any issues directly, or find out more about the Play Ethic book, the links are below. You can download a fully footnoted version on MS Word from this link.
best wishes, pk The Power of Play
Lecture by Pat Kane at Brisbane Festival of Ideas, Friday 31st March, 2003
We – and by ‘we’ I mean the developed nations – are in a state of
crisis about work: about what we do when we work, what it does to us
when we work, even what the very nature of work is. And this is a
particularly propitious time and place to be talking publicly about
this topic. In France, millions of students and workers have been
taking to the streets to protest against the ‘precarite’, or
precariousness, that new deregulations of the labour market hold out
for their lives. While in Australia, laws pointing in a similar
direction cause many heated column inches but, as far as I can tell,
little storming of the barricades. (Maybe they were all stormed, and
dismounted, before I arrived).
Been here for a few days at the Brisbane Festival of Ideas, at which I'm speaking this Friday. This is my third trip to a major Australian city since the Play Ethic launched as a website in 2000 (Sydney in 2001, Melbourne in 2002), which is at least some evidence that its themes find resonance here. I'm preparing my lecture at the moment, which I'm intending to be a kind of assessment of the idea after nearly ten years of thinking about it - a pretty shocking realisation for me. (Should I change my tune, or sing it better? Hmm). I'll be posting it here on Friday, fully hotlinked, and with an invitation for as much commentary and response as possible.
In the meantime, here's some local press I've been doing:
firstly an interview with Time Off, Queensland's "premier street magazine". And it's my luck that the writer used to be a student when I was Rector of Glasgow University...
... This time, in Brisbane, Australia. (Bristol, rather infamously, being the last event of this kind I was involved in). The Ideas Festival has been going strong down under for a few years now, travelling round the major Australian cities. I'm booked to make a keynote speech about the Play Ethic, and participate in a panel or two, from 29th March to 2nd April. Obviously looking forward to it - and there's a great list of other participants, including Jeffrey Masson, Johan Galtung, Cory Doctorow, Frank Furedi and others. I'll be maintaining the same kind of running blog as I did at Bristol, hopefully - if my tech works - in a multimedia way, too.
If there are any Australian readers and supporters of the Play Ethic around - and I know there's some - it'd be great to meet you there.