Sunday, 17 January 2016

Heritage: the Power of Playfulness

© Ragged Society of Antiquarian Ramblers, 2002
Eek! Young people at a heritage site! The Gunton Dandy

As those of you who have been attending the Magdalen Walks project will have gathered by now, I like to be relaxed and playful (in the right places) in my approach to heritage. Because of my personal story, I am interested in outreach and engagement, and it is my view that too much of the heritage sector is too earnest, elitist and pompous. Because some of my work has been around engaging young offenders and excluded pupils units with history, I know something about the challenges of relating something that can seem abstract and 'stuffy' to people. I don't dumb down the ideas, but I will invent games, activities and use humour to relate the past with the present. Being playful isn't only about energising and engaging audiences, it is - in my view - a key part of wellbeing. Over the past few years I have taken this philosophy and made some new things; heritage-inspired ventures that have taken on a life of their own and seem to be meaningful and fulfilling to people. 

One of these 'projects' is The Ragged Society of Antiquarian Ramblers: 'a creative collective of friends who are inspired by historic sites, quirky spaces, a love of laughter - and cake!' I have been told that our blog is one of the most popular heritage blogs in Britain, with around a quarter a million hits thus far. 

I am a writer for the Heritage Open Days national blog and wrote a piece about the background to the Ragged Ramblers and thought that you Magdalen Walkers might be interested in taking a glimpse into this world:

Playful Heritage

I'm not proposing that the Magdalen Walks project takes the Ragged Ramblers' model as its template, but I would encourage people to experiment and be playful with the heritage in our community. I can tell you, it can be a very rewarding experience! 

My friend Paul as Queen Victoria in Stiffkey Church, Norfolk


No comments:

Post a Comment