Collaborative team: Dalal Abed El Rahman, Iman Bekdash, Sahar Hafeda, Salah Hamza, Abeer Kassem, Marwan Kaabour, Rula Mikdashi, Nada Momtaz,
Donors: A.M. Qattan Foundation, Norwegian People’s Aid, Ajial Gallery
Partners: Beit Atfal Assoumoud, Ghassan Kanafani Cultural Foundation, Association Najdeh and Sophana Sophanpanich
Play Space looks at the way the children transform the limited camp spaces (and absence of playground and childhood spaces) through their patterns and practices of play, and explores the way in which this specific urban landscapes and community practices prompts the invention of new games and play spaces.
Play as social negotiator:
While children in cities may be more accustomed to defined playfields or ‘playgrounds,’ children in the camps use the entire expanse as their play space, establishing a hidden topography of play through their creative misuse of the architectural elements around them and a negotiating ‘right of space and right of play’ in these public spaces. In response to the absence of designated play areas a grandmother’s interlocking washing lines become limits of cities to be crossed with paper planes and dripping water pipes inspire new ways for marking spatial territories and rethinking waste. Looking at how children transformed, negotiated and appropriated the limited camp spaces with their patterns and practices of play revealed that the complexity of the spatial and social environments and of the refugee values and mind sets. Play emerged as a copying mechanism, an inventive means by which to push boundaries and ask questions but also as a mechanism to engage with the present, a time that is much forgotten for refuge communities. Play Space looked at play as a means to rethink ideas about waiting and transience and asking about what is possible in the short term and in small scale in relation to resettlement and sense of belonging.