Understanding Play - Designing for Emergence

03febAll Day05PhD CourseUnderstanding Play - Designing for EmergencePhD Course(All Day) TYPE OF ACTIVITYEkstern kalender,Intern kalender,PhD Course

Event Details


Play design flourishes these years and is applied in many diverse settings and situations. It is part of toy design and game design whether these are analogue or digital, or blended and for children and adults in many ages. It rapidly moves into all
sorts of educational settings from kindergarten to continuing education, and competence development in organizations. It is increasingly used in tourist attractions and museum experiences; in social innovation and healthcare settings; in relation to sustainable change concerns only to name a few. As well, play-based processes and methods are used to foster creativity and innovation among a diverse circle of actors, stakeholders, users, designers etc. broadly in the industry.

The theme of this PhD course takes point of departure in the notion of leaving space for emergence when working with play design, relevant to all domains. We see this as a key understanding across applied settings and as a core understanding of Danish play design. It is an ontology viewpoint where the world is seen as inherently dynamic and not static, but in a constant process of meaning making.

Therefore, departing from causality, predicting and controlling. In such a viewpoint we intend emergent patterns to occur and allow it to unfold to create the conditions for imagination and meaning making.

With the participants we explore the play spectrum from the left side of self-initiated, completely unstructured occurring activities to the right side of structured, highly progression oriented and instruction based ludic formats. We seek to understand what are the specific constraints and conditions across applied situations and how to strike a decision-making balance in the development of play design to allow for emergent patterns and unforeseen imagination.

We invite all PhDs with an interest in play design to join this course.

The PhD course is offered by Design School Kolding featuring:

  • Professor Helle Marie Skovbjerg (Design School Kolding)
  • Associate Professor Sune Klok Gudiksen (Design School Kolding, LAB Design for Play)
  • Professor Tilde Bekker (Eindhoven Technical University & Design School Kolding)
  • Hanne Jensen (LEGO Foundation)


  • Aim: The students gain new understanding of play, both ontological and epistemological, and of different forms, activities, interactions and processes play design can emerge. Moreover, they will explore how play design can be developed and studied, how they can collaborate and how new understandings of play can be used for making design decisions for designing for play in different domains.
  • Literature: All presenters/workshop organizers will contribute with core articles or chapters from their publication history. These will be compiled to a single pdf and sent out to the students one month before the course start.
  • Preparation: The participants are asked to read all the articles/chapters before coming to the course.
    Each of the participants will prepare a two-page description of a play design or activity/situation central for their PhD studies with documentation of their own choice (pictures, video, visualization) for the rest of the participants with the aim to understand specific play qualities based on the theories for the PhD Course.
  • Language: English
  • Form: A three-day seminar with lectures, teacher and student moderated group discussions, workshops and reflections on individual PhD projects.
  • Maximum of participants: 25
  • ECTS: 4


  • Professor Helle Marie Skovbjerg (Design School Kolding)
  • Associate Professor Sune Klok Gudiksen (Design School Kolding
  • Associate Professor Tilde Bekker (Eindhoven Technical University)
  • Research Specialist Hanne Jensen (LEGO Foundation)

Dates, time and venue:
The course will take place online from November 9th to November 11th and from February 3rd to February 5th.

Application deadline:
Sign up before 15 October 2020 by emailing Mia Mimi Flodager at mmf@aarch.dk.

Information about the course to Professor Helle Marie Skovbjerg: skovbjerg@dskd.dk.

Participation is free of charge, and refreshments and a light lunch are provided by the university. However, participants must pay for own travel, stay as well as other food and beverages.


february 3 (Wednesday) - 5 (Friday)