Participant Detail

Name: Anna Beam
Age: 20

Anna's interest in the project is in the ping pong output, and was keen to encourage more people to engage in public activities, particularly creative ones, in the city centre.


5th Year
Aged 23
My Overview: "Knowing More"

Although the conversations I had with various members of the council's Valuing Older People contingent at workshops held in November 2010 were helpful in assessing how older people perceive the city, it did not generate a project for me. Instead, based on my previous interest in the flying trapeze, Emily Crompton introduced me to Owen Gaynor, a circus skills instructor whose company, Circus Diaspora, needed a home. Following an initial meeting with him and participation in a few of his weekly skills classes, I was able to build up an understanding of exactly what his needs were, to experience first-hand the limitations of reaching new students and the need for a permanent base. In order to investigate how people interact with the idea of play in their everyday city routines — and therefore the likely success of a portable circus — I built a vertical ping pong table and wheeled it to Piccadilly Gardens. Throughout the day, in which I asked people to play a short game of ping pong with me, I was able to observe who was not physically confident, and therefore which people needed encouraging by Owen. The process of designing, building and using a portable typology also highlighted the limitations of a moveable circus and the need for a permanent home for the circus. The video made to document this event was exhibited in the Future Everything 2011 "Ping Pong Club Symposium" arts festival in Manchester this year:

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Engagement in Play
Engagement in Play