Serious Play is one of Dott’s showcase projects, and was described at its launch by Dott programme director Andrea Siodmok as aiming to ’take the kinetic energy of children to power the National Grid’ (DW 17 December 2009).
The project has been led by Dott senior design producer Mike Hawes, partner at Falmouth-based Mor Design, who replaced original senior producer Ré Dubhthaigh of Radar Station, who left due to personal reasons.
Mor Design led an all-Cornwall-based team which also included Dr Joanna Henley from Sci Art Solutions, Amy Chapman from Acadmy, and Will and Sam Boex from Boex.
The team has created a series of prototype installations, which children can play on to create energy, as well as having an instant and noticeable effect, such as creating noise. Hawes says, ’Children will see something happening as a result of the energy being created.’ Hawes says the installations will use ’fixed, flexible features’, adding, ’Everything has play value. If it does not have play value, it won’t be used.’
The project has been co-designed with children and community groups in Cornwall, and a site has been identified at former school Gweal an Top in Redruth. The Serious Play team has worked alongside a Cornwall Council Play Pathfinder team led by Jo Howard.
Hawes says, ’Everything we’ve produced so far has come directly from co-design sessions.’ The co-design element will continue when the project is presented at the RCS, with visitors able to comment on and make suggestions about the design.
Siodmok says the project will then be taken around Cornwall so more suggestions can be collated. She says, ’We are going to be taking it around the county and co-designing as we go.’
She says the designs will be toured throughout the summer, with groups able to request that it be brought to their area.
The aim is then to install it on site in autumn. Siodmok says, ’What eventually goes on site will depend on what comes out of the co-design sessions.’