I’ve got a piece of chalk in my pocket, and I’m not afraid to use it: playful interventions in public and #oneplaything

Lynn Love, Malcolm Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


#oneplaything is an open initiative, designed to invite and promote play practices in public space whilst also connecting and inspiring playfulness online. Taking part is simple, players use chalk, stickers, or any material to enliven and disrupt public space with play, whether interpreting the street into a picture, presenting a provocation or mapping out a space for play, all they need is an imagination and a way to make their mark. Often the resulting invitations and /or instructions, tagged with the hashtag, are site specific, temporarily drawing attention to the playful affordances of everyday spaces and offering the viewer an alternative perspective. Documentation and sharing of these interventions via social media is heavily encouraged and offers the opportunity to spread the playful nature beyond local space, connecting players across the world and allowing the work to build, learning and developing the interventions together. Players may be active in the creation of #oneplaything interventions or may happen upon an invitation to play (in public space or online).

We propose that #oneplaything is a playful form of activism, it invites players to take control of their public spaces, to create new lenses for themselves and the public, creating conversations through play. #oneplaything is informed by ambient game, street game and playable city design, constantly teetering on the edge of dark play, due to its graffiti like qualities and its tendency to initiate play in an uninitiated audience. Through practitioner reflection, this session examines the inception, development and impact of this hybrid play movement which aims to cross physical and digital boundaries to encourage playful empowerment and transformation through playing in public space. These practitioner reflections are underpinned by thematic analysis of 18 months of playful interventions online and in public, festival and workshop settings. Examination of #oneplaything in this way, gives context for the presentation of “playful invitation principles”, which outline our approaches to play design for public, online and hybrid play space and offer insight into potential techniques for community creation and playful activism across these spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2019
EventPlay Perform Learn Grow: Bridging Communities, Practices and the World - East Side Institute, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Duration: 4 Oct 20196 Oct 2019
Conference number: 2


ConferencePlay Perform Learn Grow
Abbreviated titlePPLG 19
Internet address


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