Pioneering conference on Playful Learning for adults comes to Manchester

Manchester Metropolitan University will host the inaugural Playful Learning conference from 13-15 July 2016.

This unique three-day event will explore the overlap between playful activities and adult/student learning and allow participants to share innovative research and practice. It provides an exciting opportunity for educators, researchers, and students to interact, play and learn together.

To set the tone for the conference, the first evening will be spent at The Escape Room located in the heart of Manchester for those who want the challenge of being locked up with only their wits and colleagues to help free them.

Playful Learning is the first conference to focus specifically on play for adult learning. Play is normal in early childhood education, and increasingly seen as beneficial in adult learning including Higher Education and workplace learning. Research shows that play supports creativity, motivation, productivity and development of skills. Many adult educators routinely use play, but this is an emerging field and this conference represents the forefront of research and practice.

Three exciting keynotes will reflect on the possibilities of play for learning: Nikki Pugh is an artist working at the intersection of people, place, playfulness and technology; Rosie Jones is an expert in using play to enhance conferences and information literacy; and Karen Lawson is founder of education festival ‘The Emporium of Dangerous Ideas’.

The conference is the creation of three Higher Education Academy National Teaching Fellows from Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Leicester. Professor Nicola Whitton and Alex Moseley are long time collaborators and researchers in the potential of play and games in universities. Professor Mark Langan shares a passion for innovation and creating engaging and meaningful learning experiences.

Professor Nicola Whitton says: “Playful Learning is a really exciting opportunity to put the field of play in adulthood on the map. We have a great team on board, a full programme, and the presenters are a diverse and exciting bunch. We want this to be the conference that changes how people think about learning.” Alex Moseley adds: “we’ve challenged the traditional conference format, blurring the edges of formal and informal, and anticipate a wealth of creative activity across the three days”.

Playful learning will be of value to anyone interested in adult learning who is playful, open to new ideas, or just curious. More detail is available on the conference web site:

Places on the conference cost £285 and booking is open until 22 June 2016.


Nicola Whitton, Manchester Metropolitan University,, 07971 539 502

Alex Moseley, University of Leicester,, 07906 569 714

Mark Langan, Manchester Metropolitan University,, 07947 881 639