I wanted to add a follow up about the play consultation on housing in Hengrove Park.
It was very evident in speaking to the children at Perry Court that the architecture of the urban planning could have significant effects on their access to the playpark and their experience of accessing and using the park. Currently they walk through a wide open space to access the park. They feel safe as they are in the open, able to be seen and able to see others. If the children are forced to access the playpark via an enclosed route- an alley or street for instance, because of encroaching housing, they immediately feel concerned for their safety. Older children can seem threatening for the younger ones and during conversations at the playpark we were told that the skate park and play park naturally segregate older from younger in positive way- they each have their zones. When older ones use the playpark, younger ones can feel threatened, so encountering older children in, and on the way to the park can be a worry for younger children. Older children are not the only threat, it could be adults too, but the main thing is that encountering people in an enclosed space is a worry, while being in an open space is good. They feel safe, watched and free. It is evident that if access route was to be constricted, some young people would stop going to the playpark, at least would stop accessing it from Hengrove Park.”
We used paper aeroplanes to ‘send’ messages to the council. Children wrote on the planes and we flew them into the cockpit of the large, blackboard plane.
Messages were very varied, lots about wildlife and space to play. The one that really stuck out to me as sending a message though was:
““Dear whoever came up with this idea- no offence but I’m not liking the big pile of houses because it’s just ruining the environment. Please take this.”
childrens throughs caught on paper aeroplanes
I’m often asked “what does mufti mean?”
The word is of Arabic origin, from late 16th Century: active participle of ‘aftā ‘decide a point of law’. The mufti is a Muslim legal expert who is empowered to give rulings on religious matters. It’s also a term used to describe civilian dress, especially as worn by a person who normally wears a military uniform. The term is thought to have originated around 1816 ‘perhaps from a mufti’s costume in stage plays, of robes, a fez and slippers, which was felt to resemble plain clothes.’
The last day of school is often known as ‘Mufti Day’ as students can wear their own clothes. In mine and Simon’s schools it was also a day when you could bring your own games in, so Mufti felt like a great name for the company. As time has gone on, I’ve realised that not every school calls it Mufti Day but the terms reach is both far and sporadic. Simon grew up in Exmouth, me in Manchester but while one school in a city may have Mufti Day another next door may be ‘wear your own clothes day’ or something equally less catchy. What does your school call it? I’d be interested to know where it pops up.
I’ve also been told Mufti relates to a hindi word meaning play, but I can’t verify that yet- perhaps you can help us out?
I found this definition on warhistoryonline.com ‘Mufti – derived from the Arabic word meaning free, this trench slang was used to point to civilian clothes and was frequently used among officers’
I can’t find any other translation saying Mufti means ‘free’ but it links well to law, freedom to dress how you choose and of course play. Mufti Games work is always free to participate in, thats an important factor for us. We want the work to be as accessible as possible. It’s also why we’ve found our home in the outdoor arts sector, anyone can stumble across our games and join in. Mufti Games believe strongly in the right to play and for everyone to have the freedom to play, no matter their age or background. Finding opportunities to invite play into your life enriches and nourishes, it makes life better. I’ll write more about this subject in another post…
So, ‘mufti’ is:
- Muslim legal expert
- Civilian clothes
- day to play
- theatre and games company dedicated to accessible, universal play