As we begin to process the shockwaves of a global catastrophe LightNight 2021 hopes to find respite as we explore how Play can offer a space to create, re-imagine and find novel solutions.

Playing is essential in a child’s development, encouraging curiosity, learning and creativity to prepare them for the challenges of life. As adults we often consign playtime to the domain of children; but play is a rather more serious endeavour than it first appears.

Play exists in an entirely different sphere to the ‘real world’; one where the imagination and make-believe take hold. In playing games we create a new world of self-imposed rules. Whether it is staying in character, keeping inside the lines, or racing against the clock, in the world of play we feel motivated to challenge ourselves and each other, demonstrate prowess and satisfy our competitive instincts.

Playfulness is not just essential to life, but to the creation of art. It is the medium in which great discoveries and advances in human achievement can be made. It is the method of the maker, the artist and the tinkerer. It is the tool of the scientist, the inner child, and the ‘fool’. Through play we can test our ideas, expend surplus energy, exercise our faculties and compensate for unfulfilled desires.

In the restructuring of our lives we must make time for play. In a world rife with social, ecological and political inequalities, can play offer us a fun and inventive realm, where we have the space to re-shape the world around us for the better?

Read the LightNight 2021 Open Call