Changing Play is an ongoing partnership between Serpentine Education and the Portman Early Childhood Centre, London. The project brings together artists, children, parents, and educators to address the many issues impacting families with young children.

Initially conceived in 2014 as a programme responding to the concerns of young children, Changing Play has expanded to encompass wider issues within the education, care and housing systems, as families navigate a decade of austerity measures. Changing Play takes the form of eight multi-year artist commissions, supporting a breadth of artistic practices that centre the body, including cooking, walking and theatre as well as play objects and environments. Emerging out of these projects are a number of free publications and toolkits for educators and parents.

Which Way Now?

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Changing Play Projects

Ed Webb-Ingall’s project Like Coming Home (2019-ongoing) brings together families impacted by the housing crisis, asking who makes the rules and decisions about the way we live. Everyday Resistance (2018-ongoing) by Jasleen Kaur centres the experiences of mothers of colour and migrant mothers and asks how we can create a network of care to support ourselves and others.

Which Way Now? (2018-ongoing) by Sam Curtis develops a practice of child-led walks to bring children and the local neighbourhood closer in dialogue, while Rights to… (2017-19) by Emma McGarry and Adam JB Walker looks at why and how children labelled with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) are being failed by schools. Adelita Husni-Bey’s Who Cares? (2017-19) asks how we can care for each other when the systems of care are being dismantled all around us.

Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad’s On What Grounds (2017-19) and Albert Potrony’s Play as Radical Practice (2016-18) and explore the liberatory potential of play and its increasing marginalisation in the education system. Invisible Spaces of Parenthood’s project Shapes (2014-2018) addresses the marginalisation of early years practice within art and education, and highlights the importance of state-maintained nursery schools in the context of ongoing government cuts.

About Portman Early Learning Centre

The Portman Early Childhood Centre provides education, care and family support services for young children and their families living in the Church Street area of Westminster, North London. These include a nursery school, adult education classes, family support, employment services, parenting groups and workshops.

Jasleen Kaur Everyday Resistance 4

Everyday Resistance

Jan 2018 – ongoing

How can cooking and eating together be a site of resistance? A project with Jasleen Kaur and the Portman Early Childhood Centre.

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Which Way Now?

Which Way Now?

Jun 2018 – ongoing

Artist Sam Curtis has been working with children and early years workers from the Portman Early Childhood Centre, North Westminster since June 2018.

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Who Cares?

Who Cares?

Sep 2017 – Sep 2019

Artist Adelita Husni Bey asks how we can care for each other when the systems of care are being dismantled all around us.

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Rights to...

Rights to...

1 May 2017 — 26 November 2019

Emma McGarry and Adam J B Walker worked with children with special education needs and disabilities from the Portman Early Childhood Centre in North Westminster...

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On What Grounds

On What Grounds

1 February 2017 — 9 January 2019

Bahbak Hashemi-Nezhad set out to activate the local built environment as a space for free play and imagination.

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Play As Radical Practice

Play As Radical Practice

7 March 2016 — 4 July 2018

Albert Potrony worked with children to investigate the value and possibilities of free play in the school system.

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Shapes

Shapes

30 October 2014 — 30 June 2017

Andrea Francke and Kim Dhillon of Invisible Spaces of Parenthood took up residence at the Portman Early Childhood Centre.

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Like Coming Home

Like Coming Home

January 2020 - Ongoing

Writer and filmmaker Ed Webb-Ingall asks questions about home and housing.

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Invisible Spaces of Parenthood: Shapes Kit

Invisible Spaces of Parenthood: Shapes Kit

30 Sep 2014

Shapes kits for nurseries and families, each featuring geometric shapes adapted from Fröbel’s 'Gifts'.

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Reading List: On Practice

Reading List: On Practice

A reading list compiled by Serpentine Education & Civic Curators on the occasion of a new podcast series: On Practice.

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Serpentine Education Evaluation Report

Serpentine Education Evaluation Report

1 March 2016 — 30 December 2018

The University of Nottingham conducted research into community-based, participatory arts programmes focused on children and young people.

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Play as Radical Practice Toolkit

Play as Radical Practice Toolkit

1 Mar 2017

Supporting early educators to form solidarities children advocate for free play in the state school system.

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On Practice: Cooking

On Practice: Cooking

How can cooking bring people together and provide nourishment and care?

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On Practice: Walking

On Practice: Walking

How can walking be used as a tool for resistance and change?

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Bonus Podcast: Rights to the City?

Bonus Podcast: Rights to the City?

Artists, activists and educators from across the world consider how artists, institutions and people can transform society.

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Home Video: A Conversation on the Role of Video in Current Housing Struggles

Home Video: A Conversation on the Role of Video in Current Housing Struggles

In the context of the UK's housing crisis, Ed Webb-Ingall speaks to three activists about how video-making is used in struggles for safe and affordable homes.

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Unwritten Handbook: Invisible Spaces of Parenthood

Unwritten Handbook: Invisible Spaces of Parenthood

Serpentine South Gallery 24 Oct 2015

This Artist Talk highlighted Andrea Francke and Kim Dhillon’s research into parenthood, childcare and Early Years Education.

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Changing Play: Albert Potrony

Changing Play: Albert Potrony

Offsite 1 Jan — 25 Nov 2016

Artist Albert Potrony worked with children to explore the value and possibilities of free play in the school system.

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Unwritten Handbook: Adelita Husni-Bey

Unwritten Handbook: Adelita Husni-Bey

Serpentine South Gallery 11 Nov 2017

Husni-Bey discussed her influences and practice, which focuses on the complexity of collectivity.

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Recipes for Change: Adelita Husni Bey – Who Cares?

Recipes for Change: Adelita Husni Bey – Who Cares?

Serpentine South Gallery 12 Sep 2019

Artist Adelita Husni Bey and the Portman Early Childhood Centre launched their new illustrated book Who Cares?  

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Rights to...

Rights to...

Offsite 26 Nov 2019

A forum that brought together parents, carers, educators, activists, and artists to ask how we can create a network of support.

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Rights To The City? Forum

Rights To The City? Forum

Offsite 12 May 2018

How can we re-imagine the communities we live in? What does social practice in arts education look like today?

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Unwritten Handbook: Jasleen Kaur

Unwritten Handbook: Jasleen Kaur

Serpentine South Gallery 16 Mar 2019

Kaur's work is an ongoing exploration into the malleability of culture and the layering of social histories.

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Radical Kitchen 2018: Jasleen Kaur: GRAIN

Radical Kitchen 2018: Jasleen Kaur: GRAIN

Serpentine South Gallery 28 Jun 2018

The Serpentine presented a 2nd season of its lunchtime gatherings in the Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Frida Escobedo.

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Archive

Discover 50 years of the Serpentine

From the architecture pavilion and digital commissions to the ideas marathon and the General Ecology programme, explore 50 years of artists, projects and exhibitions.

View archive