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Symposium: Playspace

March 8th, 2017 
4 pm - 8 pm
Hayes Hall 403

Play can be the glue that brings together aesthetic and social values making vibrant community spaces but also poignant social critiques. The symposium brings together speakers from different professional backgrounds to examine the role that play can have in the transformation of place, from the scale of the game, to the playground to that of urban design and planning.

Organized by Julia Jamrozik and sponsored by UB School of Architecture and Planning, UB Humanities Institute


‘Making PlayTime (a long time after Jacques Tati)’

Trevor Smith

Trevor Smith will outline his approach to the curating of the upcoming exhibition ‘Playtime’ at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. Making the claim that play is a powerful subject for artistic production and social critique, the exhibition will feature not only artists who employ game structures but also those who enact playful behaviors to generate their work and encourage participation and critical dialogue through play. 

‘Play, Playgrounds, Playscapes: Is this a Good Time for Unique Designs?’

Susan G. Solomon

Susan Solomon will give an overview of the state of playground design.  She will discuss the pitfalls as well as why we should discount myths of designer liability and children’s vulnerability.  She will also suggest, using recent examples, how we could consider turning playgrounds into more generalized and intergenerational “playscapes.”

‘Horizons of Play’

Jen Maigret

‘Horizons of Play’ explores the potential for indeterminacy to spark imagination in the design of playgrounds and draws innovation from the tensions between safety and freedom present in spaces of play. In particular, the presentation will examine the generative potential of re-drawing lines to challenge boundaries, perceptions and expectations of play and to foster open-ended explorations and vivid experiences.

‘Play: providing the armature for empowerment and creativity to happen everywhere’

Joy Kuebler

The world of creativity can seem scary or intimidating to people whether young or old.  When people feel overwhelmed in a situation, or that they lack something valuable to contribute, they will often step back from participating.   This presentation will introduce how the simple act of playing creates a wholly new experience that empowers participants to be creative, to enthusiastically ask questions and share their insight.  Through Play, the creative process becomes truly participatory.

Participant Bios

Joy Kuebler was born and raised in Western NY, and returned in 1998 to be part of Buffalo’s renaissance.  Joy is a graduate of Cornell University’s Landscape Architecture program and the Interior Design program at Villa Maria College in Buffalo. 
Jen Maigret is a registered architect, Associate Professor of architecture at the Taubman College of Architecture & Urban Planning, University of Michigan, and founding partner of MAde-studio, a research-based firm focused on the development of environmentally and culturally sound architecture and urban design practices.
Trevor Smith is the Curator of the Present Tense at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA. He leads an initiative that embeds contemporary creativity across the breadth of the museum’s activities to explore how creativity and cultural change emerge at the intersections of cultures, disciplines, or technologies.
Susan G. Solomon is an author, curator, lecturer and consultant. Trained as an architectural historian with a concentration on 20th century architecture, she received her doctorate in art history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1997.