The Changing Playground
Helen Morgan

Dynamic, temporary, artist-created environments facilitating play and bringing the wider community together

The Changing Playground is a dynamic environment that creates inclusive, accessible public space through creativity and play. It is envisioned as happening in a space such as a plaza where there is seating or caf├ęs nearby, and moderate foot traffic. The same space is redesigned every month by a different local artist who nominates a poem and designs a temporary play environment for children based on that poem. The artists are encouraged to create abstract and ambiguous forms and objects (see the work of British artist Adam James) from inexpensive, recyclable materials such as drywall, fabric, paint, and cardboard, as well as utilising natural elements like soil, plants and stones. The essential abstractness of these environments invites children to engage with the space and each other through imaginative, creative play, while the changing nature of the space sparks ongoing interest from the broader community. The project involves three groups: local artists, who are given an opportunity to directly shape public space; children and their parents, for whom the space is an engaging meeting place; and the broader community, for whom the activation of the area creates a safe, inclusive place to meet and socialise, or simply sit and watch. The project allows community involvement in the shaping of a public space, while bringing people together in a unique and interesting environment. For these reasons The Changing Playground would be transformational, addressing a lack of dynamic, accessible, community-centred public spaces in Sydney.

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