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Dreamboats – Collecting Flood Recollections, Advice, Hopes in Kirkstall

One of the tough nuts to crack for an organisation called Playful Anywhere is how to inject an element of playfulness into collecting responses to an event like flooding. If you have been impacted, its was probably not much fun and we didn’t want to make light of that. Also, we were very concerned to not lay claim in some way to the amazing community response to the floods – the glory very much belongs to those who did the messy, cold, hard work to get Kirkstall back onto its feet and continue to do so – we just want to find a different way of documenting it.

With this in mind, we took this question to Playful Anywhere’s People Place Play event held at  ODI Leeds on 22nd April. This was a gathering of people “doing amazing stuff in neighbourhoods, city centres and with communities which bring smiles to peoples faces.”

The workshop part of the day gave opportunities to prototype how you might approach a community project in a playful way, so we used this as a chance look at how we might use origami boats to collect stories, ideas, advice – we called the idea “dreamboats”.


Dreamy Mc Dreamboat

Thanks to everyone at event took part and helped us to work out whether making boats might practically work, what sort of questions might work well and how to approach a difficult subject. The teamwork paid dividends! There were loads of other brilliant ideas prototyped, including Elaine Cresswell from Blue Green Liverpool‘s and team’s crazy golf course!


Elaine and team’s crazy golf


Prototyping at People, Place, Play

Before releasing the dreamboats idea onto the world we further gamified it by adding a spin the bottle select a numbered question and we also decided to add the boats to a giant bottle – a ship-in-a-bottle message-in-a-bottle to the artist, Gemma.


We collected messages, drawings, advice, stories and plans, on specially printed paper, and then folded them into boats at the Flood Clean Up Party organised by Team Kirkstall, and at a 6-day residency in Playbox01 at Cardigan Fields Leisure park, right next to the River Aire (a site that flooded back on Boxing Day).


Gemma Latham – waiting for your message in a bottle

The messages in the bottle were sent to Gemma to be shaped into pieces of Caddis. More of that in our next post…

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