Playground Culture: The Playground Movement and Peter Friedl’s Playgrounds

Ann Marie Murnaghan Presentation Poster

The UW Youth and Culture Research Cluster, with the Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Cultures, will be hosting a new presentation for the Fall Term by Dr. Ann Marie Murnaghan, who works in the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of Manitoba. Her presentation is entitled “Playground Culture: The Playground Movement and Peter Friedl’s Playgrounds,” and it will take place on Wednesday, November 13 from 12:30 to 1:20 in room 1L07.

At the turn of the twentieth century, progressive North American cities were creating children’s playgrounds with swings, slides, teeters, and supervised play instruction as socio-spatial manifestations of the moral reform movement. By the turn of the twenty-first century, playgrounds were naturalized into the urban form, seen as benign spaces that belie their complicated, constructed pasts. In this presentation on Toronto’s playground history, and contemporary global playgrounds, using the photographic tour-de-force of Peter Friedl’s Playgrounds,1995-2004 (2008), Ann Marie Murnaghan speaks to the place of childhood in material urban culture, and its implications for ideas about public space.