Event Series | Play On! 2020

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Contact: hannah.deskin [at] mcgill.ca (Hannah Deskin), ROAAr, McGill Library

Location: Rare Books and Special Collections, 4th Floor McLennan Library Building, 3459 rue McTavish, Montreal, QC, H3A 0C9, CA


To meet the needs of students reared, nurtured, and cultivated by video games since childhood, as well as the needs of faculty instructing them, the McGill University Library seeks ways to support the increasing presence of Serious Play in higher education. Serious Play incorporates creativity, innovation and cooperation as the foundations of new forms of immersive, intellectual engagement. In addition, novel interactive strategies in education, information literacy, and instruction are emerging daily. As dynamic spaces that foster and reward intellectual curiosity, 21st century academic libraries can continue to be hubs of interdisciplinary collaborative experimentation by evolving to match the pedagogical demands of students educated in increasingly interactive and ‘playful’ environments.

Running throughout 2020, our program of events will bring together a cohort of interdisciplinary thinkers and industry leaders to convey best practices for academic research libraries in supporting Serious Play. Together, we will reach across disciplines to explore how play and games fit in the serious and goal-oriented adult world of the 21st century research library, and what services academic libraries can, could, and should offer.

Key dates:

  • January 16, 5-7:30 PM | “The Ludic Generation”: Harnessing the Power of Interactive Learning in Higher Ed with Dr. Paul Darvasi and Shawn Young.
  • February 12, 4-6 PM | "Learning Your P's and Q's”: Printing with Moveable Type with the McGill Library Book Arts Innovation Lab.
  • February 27, 10 AM-12 PM | "Helping Students Get a Clue": Serious Play and Orientation in the Special Collections Library with Community Engagement Librarian, Emily Jack.
  • March 12, 5:30-7:30 | "Before the Screen": Sketching, Play, and Creativity in the Making of Disney Animation with Disney Animator, Mike Wiesmeier.
  • April 24, 5:30-7:30 | "Playing by the book": Improvisation and Music Pedagogy in the Renaissance with Professors Julie Cumming and Peter Schubert.
  • May 13-15, 9 AM-4 PM | "Play On!" Colloquium
  • September 18, 5:30-7:30 PM | "Playing Dress Up": Demystifying Costume Design with Professor Catherine Bradley of the McGill Costume Shop.
  • September 24, 10 AM - 12 PM | "A Game of Coins": Reflections on Serious Play in Scholarly Communications Economics with Texas A&M Dean of Libraries, David Carlson.
  • October 1, 5:30-7:30 PM | "Puppetry as a Tool for Transformation" with Puppeteer Jesse Stong. 
  • October 15, 5:30-7:30 PM | "Performance, Play, and Female Empowerment": The McGill Archives and the Genealogy of Women's Basketball in Canada from 1900-2020 with Kelsey Blair.
  • October 27, 5-8 PM | McGill Clue Game Launch
  • November 24, 5:30-7:30 PM | "Staging Paper Melodramas": Toy Theatres, Play, and the Rosalynde Stearn Collection with Professor Jacqueline Reid-Walsh.
  • December 10, 5:30-7:30 | "Literacy and the “utterly irrational": The Perils and Pleasures of Play in Edward Lear’s Nonsense Alphabets with Dr. A. Robin Hoffman.

All events are funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Connections Program, and the generous support of Ron Harvie (Ph.d. McGill Art History 1999) and Steve Bagguley. 

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