Luca and Mathias webinar series 1 – Page

Luca Morini, Research Fellow, Coventry University, UK

Mathias Poulsen, Founder of CounterPlay, DK



Abstract Playful higher education is a growing field of interest both in research, development and practice. This webinar explores the more rebellious side of playfulness in higher education by way of two leading thinkers and practitioners within the field of rebelliousness and playfulness, Research Fellow Luca Morini, Coventry University, UK and Research Assistant Mathias Poulsen, Design School Kolding, DK. In the webinar, Morini and Poulsen will present their approach to and reflections on rebellious playful higher education and strategies for bringing playfulness and rebelliousness into higher education. As part of the webinar, we will also get the opportunity to try out some rebellious playfulness ourselves through prompts for intercultural dialogue, exploration and experiences.

1st part: Breaking Whose Rules? On Rebelling Through & Against Education and Games

By Research Fellow Luca Morini

Taking its starting point from culturally embedded examples of "rebelliousness" in Italian and British educational contexts, the talk will examine assumptions about the complex relationship between the "games" of knowledge validation and the "playfulness" of rule-breaking. What is the role of science, education and more generally of knowledge production, in determining the legitimacy of protest, rebellion and rule-breaking? By converse, how central are defiance, rebelliousness and play in advancing and sharing knowledge? We will explore different cultural and historical perspectives on hierarchy, anarchy, anomie and autonomy with regards to academic and educational contexts, and actively involve participants in playing with how those might inform how we think about our Universities.

Dr Luca Morini is Research Fellow at Coventry University’s Centre for Global Learning, Education and Attainment (GLEA), currently focusing on intercultural engagement, participatory approaches to systems literacy, critical digital capacity building and critical global HE policy. Keeping to a strongly transdisciplinary and socially engaged perspective, his research aims at fostering cooperation, systems literacy and critical awareness through qualitative and participatory methodologies. He has been working in higher education since 2010, teaching Psychology of Education, Psychology of Inclusion and Ecology of Human Development, always with an emphasis on co-creation, inclusivity and broadening participation.

2nd part Play as Catalyst for Compassionate Rebelliousness in Higher Education

By Research Assistant Mathias Poulsen

With the neoliberal “marketization” and “economization” of society and higher education, educators are expected to focus on matters such as profitability, employability and measurable outcomes. That hegemonic agenda has led to the marginalization of more traditional educational purposes such as Bildung, democratic citizenship and emancipation, which, at the same time, seems more pressing than ever. While it remains unclear exactly how to respond, this talk will suggest that play might be able to help us develop more unruly strategies and an “everyday” rebelliousness by insisting that change is possible and that we can, collectively, follow a different trajectory. There are no easy answers, and the path ahead is fraught dilemmas and questions: how do you balance unruly rebelliousness with care and compassion for the world? Can you tell or teach someone to be rebellious? Do you have to be in a privileged position to rebel? Drawing on insights and findings from the Design for Play MA at Designschool Kolding as well as international grassroots communities, this talk will explore how play might inspire a kind of “compassionate rebelliousness” among students and staff in higher education.

Mathias Poulsen is the founder of the international play festival CounterPlay, co-founder of the national Danish Play think tank and research assistant at Design for Play, Design School Kolding (Denmark). His primary research interest is situated in the intersection between play, design and democracy, as he studies how designing for play might cultivate a new kind of playful citizenship.”