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“Children Let’s Play:” examining play in refugee camps in northern Greece

Conference contribution
Authors Angeliki Dimaki-Adolfsen
Published in Making Home in Wounded Places: Design, Memory, and the Spatial. An International Symposium.
Place of publication New York
Publication year 2017
Published at School of Design and Crafts
Language en
Links https://woundedplacessymposium.word...
Keywords Refuggee Camps, Children, Play, Design Politics
Subject categories International Migration and Ethnic Relations, Children, Design


In this paper, I would like to present the base of my PhD work, which focuses on design explorations, refugee children and playful learning in-transit and refugees camps settings. Can play become the medium for refugee children in Europe to continue developing their individual and social capabilities in relation to the current social and cultural settings they are in? Can play become the medium for design research to understand and analyze the power relations of the so called “refugee crisis”? Can play develop a political design argumentation in order to uncover the exploitation of children from the present political agendas? Having as a starting point the refugee camps in North Greece, I am investigating how the ephemeral character of play, that is created with and by the children in “temporary” places as camps and refugee encampments, can be the link between their past, present and future life. Play – and the material forms of it- is seeing here as a therapeutic medium (past), as a self and social realization process (present), and as a critical potential action (future)*. The “wounded spaces” within the refugee children are settled are seeing here as learning spaces outside the strict limits of classical school curricula; which due to their nature are informing and directing the play activities of the children. Thus it is of significant importance to analyze the power relations and structures within these spaces and within the primarily political situations that have create such spaces. Based on such analyses, I will then argue that designers can articulate play activities and actions that both could enact critical awareness to the children and the designers and could become critical political argumentations against current political practices.

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