Journal of Playwork Practice: Issue 1: Editorial

Journal of Playwork Practice [FC]Journal of Playwork Practice is a much-awaited publication that signals the maturing of the field of playwork practice. This new journal aims to advance playwork research and practice by providing the first ever platform for the dissemination of scholarship relevant to playwork practice. The rainbow image on the cover was deliberately chosen by the editorial team to act as a metaphor for the aims and ambitions of the journal. Just as when a rainbow first appears in the sky, there is a sense of curiosity and excitement; similarly there is much anticipation associated with the launch of the journal. In this first editorial we wanted to take the opportunity to paint a picture of the myriad colours that comprise Journal of Playwork Practice.

First, rainbows are a universal phenomenon that can be seen in all parts of the world, even though the rainbow itself does not actually exist at a particular location in the sky. Although Journal of Playwork Practice has an administrative base in the UK, this does not restrict the reach of its component parts, its visibility from any part of the globe, nor the application of its content. In this first edition there are contributions from both the northern and southern hemispheres. Just as the precise form of the rainbow depends on the observer’s location and the position of the sun, so playwork practice varies according to the particular characteristics of place and space. Journal of Playwork Practice will reflect all aspects of playwork practice, regardless of where it takes place, from prisons to parks and from schools to deserts.

Second, a rainbow draws together a range of colours that are all bold statements in their own right. As the colours mesh together to form the rainbow there is a blurring of boundaries, yet the beauty of the individual colours is not lost. It is our intention that each edition of the journal will draw together different aspects of playwork practice from all around the world and from different periods in the development of playwork. The plurality of positions represented by authors and readers is crucial in fulfilling the aims of Journal of Playwork Practice, which provides a platform for researchers, academics and practitioners to develop a deeper understanding and respect for the knowledge, skills and perspectives held by each other. Each of the contributions will be bold perspectives that describe research findings and share practical applications. The authors will offer discrete pieces of work in their own right, although presented together in Journal of Playwork Practice the contributions will blend to inform the development of playwork practice and research in ways that depend on the perspective of the reader. Rainbows can be caused by many forms of airborne water, including rain, mist, spray and airborne dew. Contributors to, and readers of, this journal belong to a range of roles: playwork practitioners, researchers and policy makers. The ideas conveyed in Journal of Playwork Practice come from many different perspectives, just like the amazing phenomenon of the rainbow draws together different forms of water, and in turn, each different perspective will shape thinking about playwork practice in unique ways.

The light in the rainbow is first refracted entering the surface of the raindrop, reflected off the back of the drop and again refracted as it leaves the drop. The amount by which the light is refracted depends on its wavelength and hence its colour. This effect is called dispersion. When we, as journal editors, think about how widely we want this journal to disperse, our challenge is to ensure that we include a wide range of themes and topics to colour the ideas of our diverse readers. In this first issue this breadth is already evident in that the contributions to all three sections are representative of different roles, contexts, periods in history and countries of origin. Further refraction will occur as readers consider the content and share ideas. Although the average observer only sees the upper half of the arc of the rainbow, each rainbow is actually a full circle. Similarly, the papers and articles contained in the journal are in essence the highlights of much more activity going on elsewhere, and readers of the journal only have access to key points or parts of the total perspective or experience of the authors. We hope that each contribution will stimulate the reader’s interest to discover more, and in turn, develop their own contribution to knowledge about playwork practice.

Finally, rainbows can be described using terminology to explain the component parts and how they appear in the atmosphere. However, this is not the only way rainbows are understood. The metaphor of the rainbow is often extended beyond the features of the rainbow itself, to symbolise hope, social change and peace, for example. Similarly, throughout the course of its history, ‘playwork’ has often been described in terms of other agendas and used as a vehicle for everything from community cohesion to healthy eating initiatives. In focusing this new journal on playwork as a practice, we intend to offer a platform for playwork practitioners to develop understandings of their work in their own terms, and to be able to explore the boundaries of their work with other disciplines that also have an interest in working with children.

Doubtless there are many other ways in which the metaphor of the rainbow can be developed with regard to playwork practice. We would very much welcome your ideas on this theme, or anything else contained in this first issue. Please send letters to the Editor to We hope that you enjoy the sumptuous palette we have assembled for this first issue, and look forward to receiving your contributions to the feast.

Jennifer Cartmel, Griffith University, Australia
Chika Matsudaira, University of Shizuoka Junior College, Japan
Eric Worch, Bowling Green State University, USA

A 3 month online trial for Journal of Playwork Practice is now available for libraries – please email to register your interest.

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