In this year’s Away Day, Cemore & Co played with play.


Lucky enough to catch one of Lancaster’s strange but glorious hot days, Cemore and Imagination friends took the day out in Halton, by the Lune River. The ride was terrific and it took us in a monstrous journey of play, research –with a twist- and collaborations –with the bests!


In Cemore we have been using and developing mobile methods and methodologies. These involve ‘moving into’ others’ contexts, moving along with others and allowing oneself to be moved by the encounters. Sometimes this inspires in(ter)vention(s). Cemore, with the best of the companies, had a ‘play date’ into this mix of sociology and design research through methods like design fictions, board and body games, and playful experiments.


We counted with the ludic contributions of:


Marion Walker and Alan Smith, who set us jumping with their CUIDAR  “Flood Snakes and Ladders” a game of chance, music, and empathy that uses material collected from their work with flood affected children.


Prof. Paul Coulton’s made his magic and took a bunny from his top hat, with a playful interface project ‘Stories to connect’, a physical-digital experiment that enables children and young people at the margins of society to tell their own stories.




Adrian Grădinar moved us back to 1901 and let us winding up his ‘Physical Social Network’, to explore the societal dimension of past writing practices through a physical, interactive experience that displays a digital collection of Edwardian postcards.




Malé Luján Escalante let us immerse ourselves in the catastrophic world of isITethical?  Where datafication reigns and we had to think how to use technologies carefully to manage risks, to share and repurpose data and to discuss ethics creatively to save Europe from disasters.




During the day we discussed how play can be use at different stages of research; to think playfully, to engage communities, as an ethnographic tool, to disseminate findings, to make outcomes more engaging, to connect with people, stories and places that otherwise we would not have access and ultimately to catalyse knowledge.


We were very serious about playing. We mapped out potentialities of research collaborations. With the facilitation of Constanze Vageler, Senior Research Development Manager of Lancaster University, we dissected current calls for research and devised projects that respond to them around people’s interests incorporating play.


As a way to match interests, play, and research proposal we played “research monster roulette” and each of us build our own ‘mega monster project’, with a research interest in our head, a funding body, and playfulness for legs. Non-instrumental, unrealistic, critical, playful, crazy ideas emerged and the conversation is now open.