Cathy Salit presented her ideas on The Power of Play to Create Social Change at the 2021 Playful Creative Summit. Sometimes I’m worried my Playful Creative Summit summaries are going to read like book reviews. It’s hard to write a book review about a jazz singer and improviser who founded the Global Play Brigade (GPB). The GPB is, from its homepage, “a volunteer community of play and performance activists, improvisers, clowns, musicians, educators and therapists who have come together in response to the global pandemic and the distressing, inequitable state of our world. We aim to bring people together across borders — to play, create, connect and grow — creating new pathways for social change.”
Cathy sees play as a way to create and strengthen relationships. Instead of being annoyed with someone, improvise, perform, play with being very calm and interested as a reaction, and see if this doesn’t change your mood. Salit explains this as “We perform who we’re not yet.”
Even more broadly, we can use play to explore our differences. “I disagree with you… but I want to learn more.” She sees it as improvising an intention of “‘How do I listen to you?’ Say ‘Yes?’ ‘Create something with you?'” And she cautions that we want to try to do so with an equal intention of making the other person look good – validating that other perspective as much as possible. Come at the effort of listening without preconceptions.
Take the challenge to challenge the status quo.
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