Artist Albert Potrony worked with children aged three and four years old to investigate the value and possibilities of free play in the school system and challenge what it means to be school ready.
Taking up residence at the Portman Early Childhood Centre, Potrony developed a kit of multiple parts using transparent sheets, reflective roll, foam tubes, circles and triangles sourced from DIY shops and scrap stores. Over 12 weeks, the children used and adapted the materials and developed their own lines of enquiry. They used cord as a tool to tie up adults, roofing material to create space rockets and mirrors as stepping stones.
Reflective discussions with children, parents, teachers and play workers centred on questions of chaos and control, the effects of standardisation, the significance of relationships and the importance of space for play.
Potrony translated images and conversations from the project into the Play as Radical Practice Toolkit, designed to support early educators to form solidarities with the children they work with and advocate for free play in the state school system.
The printed toolkits are available free of charge. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for your copy.
Changing Play is an ongoing partnership with the Portman Early Childhood Centre in Westminster, which brings together artists, children, families and educators to critically reconsider early years education and care.
Albert Potrony is an artist with a participatory practice exploring ideas of identity, community and language.
He is currently developing Achilles Heel, researching anti sexist men’s groups of the 70s and 80s, who were striving for a new type of masculinity that would embrace and support feminism.
Recent projects include Another Utopia (2015), a year-long project culminating in an installation and film exploring the squatting and housing co-operative movement of the 70’s and 80’s in London, and The Potential Space (2014), a film looking at parallels between making utilitarian objects and artistic practice, developed with members of Friends of Cathja, a charity that supports people experiencing mental health issues.
Albert is interested in generating social spaces through his projects, and participation from diverse groups and individuals is a key element of his work.