Research team: Children and their families living in the camp including those living in close proximity to the edge of play site. Educators and facilitators from local youth organisations (connected by UNRWA’s participatory Working Group (WG))
Edge of Play was commissioned project by UNRWA as a part of the bigger Talbiyeh Camp Improvement Project (2007-2011 and on going). Within UNRWA’s pilot project which focuses on participation and community mobilisation, Febrik aimed to bring children back into the agenda by working directly with them and with their families. we aimed to maximise the potential of the social playground as a multi-purpose public space able to generate a connected neighbourhood and community.
What is the social playground?
In 2003, Febrik’s team began working with children in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and later in Jordan exploring the dynamics of public spaces of refuge and childhood (right of space and right of play), in collaboration with local community groups and visiting artists and architects. Through the use of child/participant lead creative processes (architecture, art, film, photography, text) the long-term research and design project collated findings about the social practices and hierarchies of different community groups (especially unrepresented groups such as children and women) through looking at the play practices of children in the camps. The project began through a workshop in Burj El Barajne Palestinian refugee camp on the fringes of Beirut, and continued through a linked series of workshops there and in other camps in Lebanon and Jordan. All the workshops concluded with site-specific propositional works by the participants (theatre pieces/play manuals/installations/architectural spaces) that looked through the lens of invented public play to bring attention to, comment on and change on a small scale, concerns of the children and their families. Febrik built upon these findings by developing them into dynamic intergenerational public spaces – social playgrounds – with the aim of testing their potential as catalysts for public engagement and action within the participant’s immediate social and physical environment. The two projects ‘play