Clyde Street

Learning, Teaching, Performing


Six Degrees of Separation, Three Degrees of Influence: Linked by Play Spirit?

I have had some time this week to think about a workshop I am facilitating at the Challenge Conference at St George’s Park.

I have been contemplating what connects us and what differentiates us.

This morning I have been thinking about the play spirit that connects us and I will use this as the trigger for my workshop.

Many years ago (1978) I enjoyed reading Fred Inglis’s book The Name of the Game. In it he described how sport allows us to converse and empathise with each other. Fred is now an Emeritus Professor of Cultural Studies. I liked the observation on his website:

across a wide range of social, cultural and political action, I am concerned to identify those practices and objects which we cherish as the source of value and meaning in the passage from birth to death. By this I do not mean that these values are unchanging: you give your life to a set of values as being those most likely to bring out the best in you and to shape a life of which you can be proud; they will not be the same values for past or future generations.

One of the themes in my workshop will be biography and the shaping “of a life of which you can be proud”.

For me the play spirit has been the guiding light in my journey. I think it is why I like these three videos.


From a wheat field in rural Australia:


From pavé in Europe:


and from Down Under wherever that is:

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Space, Place and Flourishing

I have been wondering what to write as my 700th blog post on Clyde Street.

A link shared by my wife, Sue, provided the answer.

Jon Henley wrote in theguardian this week about a residential community near Amsterdam.

His article contains within it some of the issues that have become important for me in my growing interest in space, place and learning.

Jon reported on developments at Hogewey, “an innovative, humane and apparently affordable way of caring for people with dementia”.

Hogewey is a “smart, low, brick-built complex, completed in early 2010. A compact, self-contained model village on a four-acre site on the outskirts of town, half of it is open space: wide boulevards, cosy side-streets, squares, sheltered courtyards, well-tended gardens with ponds, reeds and a profusion of wild flowers. The rest is neat, two-storey, brick-built houses, as well as a cafe, restaurant, theatre, minimarket and hairdressing salon”.

There are 152 residents who have been classified as suffering from severe or extreme dementia. The residents average 83 years of age. Jon notes that “They live, six or seven to a house, plus one or two carers, in 23 different homes. Residents have their own spacious bedroom, but share the kitchen, lounge and dining room.”

Hogewey aims to “relieve the anxiety, confusion and often considerable anger that people with dementia can feel by providing an environment that is safe, familiar and human; an almost-normal home where people are surrounded by things they recognise and by other people with backgrounds, interests and values similar to their own”; and to maximise the quality of people’s lives by “Keeping everyone active. Focusing on everything they can still do, rather than everything they can’t. Because when you have dementia, you’re ill, but there may really not be much else wrong with you.”

There are 25 clubs, residents are encouraged to keep up with day-to-day tasks they have always done.

Hogeway has homes designed from seven “lifestyle categories” with moods evoked through choice of furnishing, decoration, music, and food. It is connected to its local community.

What I liked about Jon’s account of Hogeway was exactly what attracted me to Kevin McLeod’s ideas for The Triangle. I have learned it is possible to plan for and support personal difference through a commitment to the quality of life in a designed context. This has encouraged me to think about spaces and places for learning.

I felt very reassured by Hogeway and encouraged to think about dignity and care.

Photo Credit

Oma Zylstra, biking along the canal

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Being There

Like many thousands of Australians my sleep patterns are being transformed in the next three weeks by the Tour de France.

During the first three stages of the Tour I have enjoyed watching a Specialized video.

I think it is a great example of what Roger Caillois called ‘mimicry’. In his discussion of cailois’ work, Calvin Ashmore observes:

Mimicry is about developing and participating in an imaginary universe. … Mimicry is about becoming another, to participate within this illusory world. Mimicry is about becoming another character and behaving as that character, temporarily shedding one’s actual identity. … Human mimicry is found in ritual and performance, as well as in make-believe. The simulated nature of make believe is the essence of spectacle, and lives on in the eyes of the witnesses in addition to the players.

The video puts me in the pavé story and I am confident the young rider will hold off Tom Boonen! It takes me back to my first racing bike and gears (1963).


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The Game Is Afoot

Yesterday I wrote about Philippe Mongin’s game theoretic paper.

Whilst writing it I was conscious that I had yet to join Matthew Jackson and Yoav Shoham‘s Game Theory Massive Open Online Course.

Matthew and Yoav point out that this course “will provide the basics: representing games and strategies, the extensive form (game trees), Bayesian games, repeated and stochastic games, and more”.

I have downloaded a copy of Kevin Leyton-Brown and Yoav Shoham’s (2008) Essentials of Game Theory: A Concise Multidisciplinary Introduction and will start reading immediately.

I was mindful too of Stephen Downes‘ ongoing discussion of gamification.

David Zinger has some important insights to share about gamification. He observes that “I believe gamification is one of the key engagement approaches and tools for 2011 and beyond. I think the big challenge will be to ensure these approaches are meaningful, authentic and operate for conversion into work rather than a diversion from work”.

David links to some SlideShare resources that explore Gamification.

The title of this blog post comes from Henry V, Act 3, Scene 1 which in part includes:

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:

It is also featured in Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventure of the Abbey Grange.

My next few weeks will need to be a mixture of energy and detection.

Photo Credit

The Pattern Loft

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Simulation as Deception

I am very naive about cheating.

I have tried to bear in mind the wisdom contained in the advice that “rules do not bring about conformity, rather they bring about a different kind of non-conformity”.

A recent ABC Science article has drawn attention to a paper from October 2011 that has added to my interest in understanding cheating.

Gwendolyn David, Catriona Condon, Candice Bywater, Daniel Ortiz-Barrientos, and Robbie Wilson have written about deception in humans.

Data for their paper were drawn from ten televised matches from each of six professional soccer leagues.

Gwendolyn and her colleagues refer to Paul Morris and David Lewis’s (2010) paper, Tackling Diving: The Perception of Deceptive Intentions in Association Football (Soccer). (Both papers are cited in the Wikipedia page on Diving (football).)

Gwendolyn and her colleagues propose that:

Overall, our results do suggest that humans are more likely to deceive when the potential outcome is highly beneficial, thereby outweighing the potential cost. Or conversely, when the potential outcome is very costly relative to the potential benefit, it may deter the use of deception. Interestingly, deceivers did not appear to take into account the likelihood of receiving a benefit, as dive frequency increased towards the attacking goal despite the referees rewarding proportionally fewer dives in those pitch zones. This pattern suggests that the potential benefit to deceivers may be a stronger incentive to deceive than the potential cost as a deterrent. Furthermore, the absence of punishment of deceivers by referees may also encourage the use of deception by soccer players.

Much of my research into winning behaviours in football is focused on the discipline of teams. Soccer has intrigued me for a long time in this regard.

Many years ago before the advent of multiple camera perspectives and super slow motion replays, there was a debate about why professional players should seek to have an opponent sent off the field through feigning injury. In more recent times the discussion about simulation has attracted the attention of the media and FIFA law makers.

Paul Morris and David Lewis suggest “deceptive intentions … are to a degree manifest in behavior and are observable”. I wonder if the availability of a taxonomy of deceptive behaviours and video replay will act as an increasing deterrent to desperate players.

I hope so as my understanding of the spirit of a game is about the centrality of adherence to an objective code of behaviour. I take this to be the essence of integrity.

Photo Credit


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Cycle Tourism Conference and Rail Trail Symposium

The University of Canberra is hosting a Cycle Tourism Conference and Rail Trail Symposium on 2 and 3 February 2012.

Both events are being organised by Dennis Puniard.

The Tourism Conference takes place over two days and the Rail Trail Symposium on 3 February.

At the Tourism Conference there will be:

Four Keynote Addresses

Matt Lamont (Southern Cross University), The overlooked cycle tourism segment: Active spectators.

Chris Bull (Canterbury Christ Church University, UK) A Systematic Review of Evidence for the Local Impacts of Tourism and Leisure Cycling.

Craig Groke (Manager, Economic Development , Regional Development Australia, Barossa SA) The Chicken or the Egg? Which one is responsible for the success of Cycle Tourism in South Australia?

Sally Rodgers (Cycle Tourism Officer,  Murray to Mountains), The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail ; The Benchmark for Australian Cycle Tourism – The story thus far and future plans.

Fourteen papers:

Peter Thompson (Project Manager, Roads ACT), Build it and they will come – Cycling in the Australian Capital Territory.

Marjan Moris (Tourism Policy Support Centre,Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium), Cycling as a tool for regional (tourism) development.

Jun Shao (Beijing Forestry University), Connecting Through Social Media: The Case Of Chinese Cycle Tourists.

Dennis Puniard (University of Canberra), The impact of new technologies on cycle tourism; How cyclists use websites, blogs and social networking tools.

Ray Freeman (School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Royal Roads University, Canada), Mountain Bike Tourism and Community Development in British Columbia: Critical Success Factors for the Future.

Stephen Schwer (Tourism Development Officer, Southern Flinders Regional Tourism Authority), Falling in Love Again: Helping government to fall in love again with cycle tourism.

Darren Stewart (Makin Trax) and Rod Florence (Territory Venues and Events), Stromlo Forest Park – Cycling Mecca risen from the ashes.

Peter Thompson (Project Manager, Roads ACT), Canberra’s Best Kept Secret – The Off Road Path Network.

Bruce Ashley (Director, The Environment Works), Cycling touring information and guide books: how they can contribute an integrated cycle tourism strategy.

Peter Neilson (Chief Executive Officer, Oncology Childrens’ Foundation), Charities and Cycling Events: how they attract a special type of tourist.

Blake Rowsell (University of Northern British Columbia, Canada), Mountain bike tourism development under the Midnight Sun: Capitalizing on site characteristics to maximize potential in the Yukon Territory, Canada.

Pam Faulks (THINK CANBERRA Director,  Canberra Convention Bureau), The Tour de Timor experience 2009-2011.

Daniel Carruthers (Zhejiang University, China), Sportive Cycling Events in China: Local Governments Promote their Unique Regions.

Louise Rose (Department of Resources Energy and Tourism), Tourism and Strategy – The  View from the Top.

Two panel sessions: Cycle Tourism Experiences; and Cycle Tourism Research Issues and Funding.

The Rail Trail Symposium program includes:

A Keynote Address by Sally Rodgers (Cycle Tourism Officer, Murray to Mountains)

The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail ; The Benchmark for Australian Cycle Tourism – The story thus far and future plans.

Ten Papers:

Steven Kaye (Vice President, Rail Trails Australia), The State of The Nation:  the best of the bunch and where we can get better

Michael Oxer (Chairperson, East Gippsland Rail Trail Committee of Management), Count your chickens as they hatch, OR Is there anyone out there?

Arianne Reis (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Southern Cross University), A conceptual model for rail trail development as a significant tourism product and Combining tourism products to increase tourism demand for rail trail tourism

Darren McClelland (Director, Enjoy Inspire Consulting Pty Ltd), In anticipation of a new adventure: what do cyclists expect?

Michael Maher (Director, Transplan Pty Ltd), Overcoming Adjoining Landowner Opposition to Rail Trails

Dennis Puniard (University of Canberra), Rail Trails in Southern NSW; Prospects and Possibilities

Petrina Quinn (Riverina Highlands Rail Trails Group), Riverina Highland Rail Trails – A work in progress

Denise Cox (Fraser Coast Regional Council, Queensland), Mary to Bay Rail Trail

Peter Lee (Newcastle Cycleways Movement), The Fernleigh Track

A Panel Discussion on the topic of Rail Trails 2020: A vision for the future of Rail Trails in Australia.


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Freedom Wheels

A couple of months ago I was fortunate to be introduced to the work of TADACT, a voluntary organisation in Canberra.

TADACT is “a non for profit organization which specialises in creating or modifying equipment for people with a disability or the elderly. TADACT can assist people of any age with any type of disability by designing and making innovative equipment which is otherwise unavailable. We can also modify or repair commercially available equipment to make it better suits the client’s needs. The equipment is made and modified by our skilled volunteers who donate their time to provide innovative solutions to problems.”

TADACT’s mission is “to improve the quality of life for people with a disability of all ages and the elderly and those caring for them through the application of technology”.

I have been very impressed by TADACT’s commitment to and support of social inclusion. One aspect of this work has grabbed my intention. In one of my visits to the organisation’s offices in Holder, I saw some bicycles in a storage room.

The bikes intrigued me. I have a profound commitment to play and playfulness in children’s lives and these bikes epitomise play. As I followed up on these beauties stored in a cupboard I learned more about TADACT’s role in providing bikes and the partnership with Freedom Wheels.

TADNSW host the scheme and point out that:

For most children, their first bike ride is a rite of passage. But for children with a disability, this can seem unachievable.

They developed Freedom Wheels as a customised bike program in collaboration with Amway’s One by One Foundation, to offer children with disabilities the opportunity to ride a bike for the first time.

TADNSW’s healthcare and engineering staff assess each child at a bike clinic and write a specification for a bike that will meet their exact needs. This may include stabiliser wheels, postural supports, belts, footcups, towbars and modified handlebars.This service is available to any child with a disability. There is no means test.

I was driving into Canberra last week and was overtaken by a Freedom Wheels van.

It was raining but I am convinced I saw sunshine coming out of the van!

Amway point out that “the vision is that the FREEDOM WHEELS program will expand and be offered nationally. How wonderful it will be to provide modified bikes for children in all states across Australia!” (See what is happening in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania in addition to NSW and the ACT.)

Freedom Wheels Modified Bike Service is included as a case study in the NSW BikePlan. I am very keen to make Freedom Wheelers a focus for my research and practice. Mobility is inclusive, play is contagious!