Week 11: 26th-29th April 2016

Research Method session with Tim


troveharvester 0.1.4

work on newspaper article

Data management

Library guide

www.ands.org.au –> Preservation of research data across Australia

Portal to research data www.researchdata.ands.org.au –> often no access to meta data

http://www.data.gov.au –> government datasets with metadata available

for the ACT: www.data.act.gov.au


For making my data available:

use Figshare www.figshare.com


Web archiving

Pandora (selective archive in order to get around copy right)

e-deposit (send a copy to an archiving system e.g. the library)

Webarchiving will become an important tool to policy and political analysis

Australian Policy online –> to make grey literature available: www.apo.org.au

waybackmachine: archives all webcontent worldwide http://archive.org/web/
useful option to save data whenever I want it!

Biodiversity, films, images all of that is recorded in the waybackmachine

Webrecorder –> records the links using my browser to find data www.webrecorder.io

Presentation to peers as part of the creative research course

presentation access here

Outcomes uni presentation

Wednesday research & meetings day

Book: Sykes, H. (2013). Space, Place & Culture, Sydney, ISBN 9780987480705

Creative Cities by David Yencken pp.90- 110

“Curiosity about life in all its aspects, I think, is still the secret of all creative people.” Leo Burnett

“Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion and knowledge.” Plato

  • ‘A City is not a tree’ by Christopher Alexander confirmed the complexity of interactions that occur in cities. He draws on the notion of humans inability to grasp or even retain complex forms and to reduce them to a manageable form. –> formal confirmation that cities are wicket systems.
  • Yencken draws on the notion that ecological variety and complexity give health to natural systems and variety and complexity give health to social and cultural systems.
  • All those people in these urban systems have different needs. The only way to envisage all these needs is through individual identities.
  • Yencken notes further, if we want creative cities we should recognise and encourage variety and complexity. The understanding of complexity is holistic thinking.
  • Western thinking might not be the way to answer holistic thinking, based on the philosophical origins. So how can we explain something that is constantly changing in Aristotelian thinking, it is or it is not.
  • He points out,that the preservation of social networks is more important than physical improvements to housing in less accessible locations.
  • a city can be perceived as a series of experimental relationships- events, activities, spaces and structures that generate emotions.
  • human stress of adaptation to a new environment can be greatly reduced when involving them.
  • creative cities have places for healing and contemplation –> magic places.
  • smart cities should smarty foster social interactions
  • cities consume 60-80 percent of energy and emit about 75 percent of Co2 emissions.
  • Kelly social cities report argues that personal relationships are fundamental source of happiness and well-being –> social connection is crucial to well-being.
  • Main concern is the experience of the city!


Supervisor Meeting

Task: Work on play definition and towards a joined paper.

Think about play under the paradigm what could be…

Book: Stevens, Q. (2007) The Ludic City. Exploring the potential of public spaces, New York

The Ludic City argues, that one of the fundamental functions of public space is as an environment where informal, non instrumental social interactions e.g. play can happen.

Concept of ‘play’ as a distinct character of urban experience. –> I’d like to argue that is is a quality experience.

Stevens argues that play is a largely neglected aspect of people’s experience of urban society as it embraces spontaneous, irrational or risky activities.

He points out that the forms of play reveal people’s creativity, curiosity and imagination when using public space.

Exploration of ‘play’

‘Play’ is a pure waste: waste of time, energy, ingenuity, skill, and often of money. (Caillois, 1961, p.5) It takes advantage of the surplus which exists in the natural world, made possible by human work. However I’d like to argue that there is an underlying interdependency. The human needs to work as well as play to bring back a balance to everyday life.  The act of creation (play) the new, is born out of the chaotic uncontrolled and unproductive acts in life. The act of productivity (work) is required to enable an environment where play can happen. Bataille (1985) support this argument by highlighting that society is defined by how it chooses to use or ‘waste’ its surplus and not by its mode of production. ‘Waste’ is an exit strategy out of cycles of acquisition, productivity and conversation. This reinforces the importance of play ‘not as a waste of time, but time filled with profound and rich experiences (Clark and Holquist 1984, p. 303 cited in Stevens, 2007, p.32)

social relations are rarely exploitative.

Play separates time and space. This allows people to forget their everyday roles, conventions, demands and restrictions.

Good spaces in a sense are inherently used inefficiently –> space is ‘wasted’.

Leisure can be passive –> but play is active

Play is a product of process of everyday life as well as a producer of processes. p.23

Play is temporary

Play is freedom (Huizinga (1970)

Play is intrinsic

Play transforms everyday experiences within everyday places.

Play is repetitive –> it is grounded in imitations of social practice and the material world. Play is archaic, magical mode of relating to things and to practices- in a child context  (Gilloch 1996:86 cited in Stevens, p.24)

Play can be disruptive – can be understood as an opportunity to reveal mythic from within.

Play sits outside of ‘everyday’, ‘mundane’ and ‘habitual’. –> it generates a quality experience within everyday activities, but breaks with ‘habitual’ although can be consumed by habitus however still rejects ‘mundane’.

city spaces for play

Reasoning why cities are the perfect place to study play, in accordance to Stevens (2007):

“The density and diversity of the city provide a stimulus and a milieu for this exploration. The publicness of space and people’s anonymity to one another encourage the development of roles and masks and encourages the expression of self. The surplus wealth which is a product of the city’s diversity makes possible non-instrumental interactions, and the complexity of urban social space also stimulates such interactions. The disorder of symbolism in the city reawakens memories, demythifies them, and arouses the imagination. All these conditions can potentially override social order and control. The experience of urban space is  characterized by multiplicity, ambiguity and contradiction, the unpredictable and the unfamiliar.”  p.25

Forms of play can occur in places that are physical or socially ‘forbidden, isolated, hedged, hallowed, within which special rules apply’ (Huizinga, 1970, pp. 28-29).

Play is traditionally understood as something opposite, compared to long- term purposes, work in accordance to Goodale and Godbey (1988). They also argue that play includes the freedom to attempt something and allow it to fail. Experiencing risk adds strength and depth of people’s experience in the world.

For Stevens, play is a principle contradiction to people’s assumptions about the everyday functionality of the urban built environment.

Deployment of the term ‘play’ is widely applied. It is always a rhetorical construct in order to describe a range of behaviours based on value and objectives (Sutton-Smith, 1997 cited in Stevens, 2007, p.26)

In general its a counterpoint to behaviour that is categorise ‘normal’ – everyday, conventional, expected, calculated, practical, constant. Interpretation depends on professional interest.

Focus on four interrelated ways which playful behaviour can be experienced as an escape from other aspects of everyday life in the contemporary city (Stevens, 2007, p. 27):

  • play involves actions which are non-instrumental,
  • there are boundary conditions and rules which separate play from the everyday,
  • play involves specific types of activities through which people test and expand limits (competition, chance, simulation and vertigo),
  • play in the city very often involves encounters with strangers.

Stevens acknowledges that play in a child context occupies a more narrow range of behaviour than the play of adults. He argues that play is just one component of the complex social existence of working adults and rarely analysed.

Mouledoux (1977) made the remark that ‘the full variety of play forms only appears with the achievement of a certain maturity’ (pp.52-52).

Adults play less often than children, but their freedom, abilities and knowledge make the dialectic qualities of play so apparent. Stevens highlights that “adult play provides far better illustration of the transformation of everyday life and of lived space into new experiences and new forms. It is the play of adults which can lead to a reconsideration of the ways in which urban space might stimulate and facilitate unexpected and impractical behaviour, and how space can be utilized for escape form serious meanings and uses and to critique the normal social order. ” (Stevens, 2007, p.27)

Children’s skills and ambition are limited and play is the primary function to pursue. It is often supervised. He raises another limitation of children’s behaviour, based on the notion that children’s play evolves around freedom, creativity and diversity of human agency rather then open it up. Huizinga (1970) points out that this does not explain why and how adults play.

Gilloch (1996) points out that adult play in urban spaces can enable a re-enchantment of their world. They take ‘advantage of conditions under which toil may be transformed into play, fetishism into curiosity, tyranny into reciprocity, and drudgery into spontaneity’ (Gilloch 1996 cited in Stevens 2007, p.28).

There is a distinction between leisure and play, as play offers potential of urban experiences for promoting and framing active, creative, and above all public behaviour. Play does not depend on leisure –> undermining of social aspects because leisure can foster segregation.

For Lefebvre (1991,The production of space, Oxford: Blackwell) describes play as an encounter with difference, encounters which contest the fragmentation and alienation of contemporary social experience.

Because play happens as part of everyday life, but is in itself an escape of reality it is far richer and valuable than rationalism and morality.

Play has a dark side as it can ignore even ethical boundaries. Nietzsche argued that the whole world is ‘eternally self creating, the eternally self destroying –> beyond good and evil. –> I’d like to argue play is a form of acknowledgement and the inherent prevalence of difference.

Play is the rehearsal of eternity (Bauman 1993, p.171). Nothing builds up, each new play is a new beginning.

In play and its culture is interlinked between adult and child world – both are not detached from other phenomena. (Kalliala, 2006)

Huizinga (1947) describes the homo ludens (playing man) and considers this as the essential nature of people better than homo sapiens.

Play is one of the main categories of human activity and an important element of culture. In accordance to Caillois (1961), Huizinga focuses too much on the higher forms of play (e.g. fighting for something and playing roles). However he ignored the ‘useless’ and chaotic elements of play. –> Caillois looks into both the higher as well as the chaotic elements of play.(Kalliala, 2006, p.17)

Also Caillois found it hard to define play and characterised it as followed:

  • voluntary
  • detached from ordinary life
  • unpredictable
  • unproductive
  • imaginative
  • in accordance with the rule

Both Huizinga and Caillois value the freedom play can provide and how people engage on a voluntary basis. It provides pleasure and allows a fascination of place because it is spontaneous and unconsciouse. The absorption in play can be described by the ‘flow’ theory from Csikszentmihalyi (1975). Flow as a way of spontaneous joy, delight and inseparability of self, action and the environment (Kalliala, 2006, p.18).

Detachment from ordinary life: play happens outside of the ordinary, however it often derived from the everyday life.

Bateson (1955) highlights that communication in play can either happen through text (description of play) and context (framework of play). Although I would argue that not just text but language is the transmitter of description.

In line with Caillois observations play is unpredictable and unproductive. The imaginative element highlighted by  Jean Piaget (1972) is an indication of thinking. For Vygotsky (1976) play is an indication for cognitive development, which is a indispensable precondition for intellectual development.

Caillois classification (typology) of play

  • competition (agon) – winning
  • chance and destiny (alea) – best luck
  • imitation (mimicry) – shared illusion (social and first step to release meaning from the ‘here and now’ perception –> helps to develop consciousness)
  • dizziness (ilinx) – falling, swining, sliding etc. –> vertigo

However Caillois admits that it is not possible to cover all fields of play with only four concepts (Kalliala,2006, pp. 20-21). Combinations of all four are possible.


Preliminary conclusion

It is important to acknowledge that it is difficult to define play. This conclusion should be understood as an attempt to explore and characterise the term ‘play’ in the broader theoretical context.

Play is an intrinsic induced activity, that constitutes freedom, based on the acceptance of risk in its temporary transformational nature. It includes attributes such as spontaneity, curiosity, voluntary and creative processes that occur outside of the ordinary. This purposeless activity is necessary to the human identity as an exploratory pursuit of pleasure and comfort outside of social purpose.



Vygotsky,L. (1976) Play and its role in the mental development of the child. In Bruner, J., Jolly, A. and Sylva, K. (eds) Play: Its Role in the Development and Evolution. New York: Basic Books, 537-54.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1975) Beyond Boredom and Anxiety: The Experience of Play in Work and Games. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Caillois, R. (1961) Man. Play, and Games. New York: The Free Press.

Bateson, G. (1955, 1976) A theory of play and fantasy. In: Bruner, J., Jolly, A. and Sylva, K. (eds) Play: Its Role in the Development and Evolution. New York: Basic Books

Lefebvre (1991),The production of space, oxford: Blackwell

Mouledoux, E. (1977) Theoretical Considerations and a Method for the Study of Play, in D. Lancy and B.A. Tindall (eds)The Study of Play: Problems and Prospects, West Point, NY: Leisure Press.

Huizinga, J.(1970) Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture, London: Temple Smith.

Bauman, Z. (1993) Postmodern Ethics, Oxford: Blackwell

Sutton-Smith, B. (1997) The Ambiguity of Play, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Goodale, T. and Godbey, G. (1988) The Evolution of Leisure: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives, State College, PA: Venture.

Gilloch, G. (1996) Myth and Metropolis: Walter Benjamin and the City, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Clark, K. and Holquist, M. (1984) Mikhail Bakhtin, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.















Week 9: 11th-15th April 2016

Over the weekend I have been able to engage in several meaningful debates informing my philosophical stand regarding my research topic. Most interestingly I came to the conclusion/ actualisation that language in any form is limited in capturing feelings and thoughts. Even more though the written word may last it may never be able to document and capture the full sensory experience of a certain space at a certain time. In order to provide the highest level of validation mixed methods are required to generate a comprehensive narrative of an experience. Therefore constructed reality must be based on methods that capture as many stimulus at a certain time. The interpretation of perceived truth/reality can is always limited as long as have not found a way to capture experiences before they form words of any language. Strong narratives can generate an impact beyond the spoken word and leave a lasting impression. Therefore they contain the highest chance of  opportunity to alter perception and therefore change the environment around us.

Throughout today I have been working on my proposal in a cyclic/ spiral manner, adding information in different section, revisiting concepts and altering sections according to emerging thoughts.

Note: I am also finding myself looking back into my earlier post revisiting ideas and reflecting on previous established questions in light of emerging thought patterns.


Work with GIS Mapping in order to create a narrative around a story or case study:

Seminar content: https://github.com/wragge/teaching/blob/master/modules/Making%20simple%20maps.md

Work with Cartodb: https://cartodb.com

Direct access to me: https://greghmews.cartodb.com/me
Map Box:  is good for basic mapping

Exercise Playgrounds in the ACT:

Philosophical conflict

I believe that as long as we have not reached a higher form of collective consciousness social research will fail to find an objective truth. Based on my earlier thoughts that most of our knowledge is routed, replicated and generated through language (including writing)- language is a limited tool in order to generate meaning evolving around truth. So far we have been caught in a spiral that rotates around an elusive vision of truth. If there would be one truth out there, we must first evolve beyond- individually as well as a collective. Only by working with our five senses we will be always limited to understand the connection between objects and subjects. If we reach a higher level of being (connection) or consciousness that breaks the barrier between object and subject we may get closer to a truth. Sadly there are no research methods out there that offer a solution from a social research perspective just yet. Therefore I choose to work with an constructivist epistemological approach that takes advantage of the hermeneutic spiral in order to reveal correlation and narratives in this interdependent world.

The only way to reach the higher level of consciousness is through detachment of attachment, senses and clearance of thought- similar to the buddhist approach.

Development of research approach/ design

Design structure download as pdf here