Spring Forum 2022: Andrew Walsh: Practical Playfulness, Pedagogy and Power

Andrew Walsh, Academic Librarian & Teaching Fellow, University of Huddersfield


Playful pedagogies can bring various benefits to our teaching, both for us and our learners. The late play scholar and practitioner Bernie De Koven was fond of saying variations of the idea that when we truly play, we are free to change the rules to suit the players (as a contrast to, for example, competitive sport where the players are changed to suit the game). As such, one of the significant shifts when we take a playful approach to teaching is that we move power from the instructor to the learners – they have much more control than in many teaching approaches, something that can be worrying to many of us. In this talk we will discuss a little about play and playfulness, some of the benefits of taking a playful approach, and some practical examples about what playful pedagogy might look like in libraries. We’ll try to focus most on the idea of shifting power to the learner and why this might fit in with some people’s personal pedagogies in particular. Participants will be invited to play a little, in a low risk, Zoom friendly way!


Photograph of Andrew Walsh
Andrew Walsh

Andrew is a National Teaching Fellow, one of the librarians at the University of Huddersfield, and is founding editor of the Journal of Play in Adulthood. He runs training courses in playful teaching and learning, writes extensively on information literacy, playfulness, game based learning, teaching skills, and occasionally fairy tales. He has recently been learning how to sail on the principle that it is never too late to learn how to be a pirate.

All Aboard! Destination: Inclusive Teaching

UHMLG’s 2022 Spring Forum brings together a range of fantastic speakers to discuss topics in the arena of pedagogy in librarianship, with a particular focus on inclusivity. The conferences spans two half days (7 – 8 April, 2022), it’s free, online, and registration is open – our core audience is UK / Republic of Ireland health and medical librarians from the Higher Education and NHS / health sectors, but we welcome delegates from any area of librarianship, and from anywhere in the world.

More Information / Book Your Place

For full information about the conference, and to book your place, please visit our Spring Forum 2022 page.