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The Materiality of Play: Early Childhood Education Research in Diffractive Dialogue with Dance as an Artistic Practice

The following talk was delivered as part of York University Early Childhood Education Series hosted by Cristina Delgado Vintimilla, Lucy Angus and Lisa Farley.

Tatiana Zakharova and Justine A. Chambers

Monday April 19, 2021 | 1:30-3:30 PM

Interest in play is experiencing a renaissance, with much been written in academic journals and discussed in professional and social media. Tatiana Zakharova, an emerging scholar pursuing her doctorate at Western University (London, Canada) is among those interested in play. With a background in design, Tatiana looks at materiality of play through the feminist practice of “misreading to produce a reading” (Jagodzinski, 1992, p. 172). That is, instead of holding up play as an entity and an idea so solid that it even has a public “profile” that needs raising, Tatiana’s proposition is to tease play apart into moments that may be entirely insignificant or subject-forming, that may be joyous or violent, that may open possibilities or may be propping up chaos and indeterminacy. This talk will be in dialogue with Justine Chambers who will engage with Tatiana’s propositions in diffractive ways from her perspective as a dancer, choreographer and mother.

Tatiana Zakharova introduces her research on play and Justine Chambers introduces her artistic practice. Together they present a dialogue as an invitation to reimagine our relations to play.

Tatiana Zakharova is a playground designer, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the Faculty of Education at Western University (London, ON). In her multidisciplinary work, Tatiana thinks with feminist post- human scholars to trouble the notion of play as a means of progress, imagining instead relationship-attuned play as worlding. With gratitude, Tatiana lives, walks, plays, and writes on the traditional territories of the Anishnabek, Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), and Ojibway/Chippewa peoples.

Justine A. Chambers is a dance artist living and working on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the Skwxwú7mesh, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Her movement-based practice considers how choreography can be an empathic practice rooted in collaborative creation, close observation, and the body as a site of a cumulative embodied archive. Privileging what is felt over what is seen, she works with dances that are already there–the social choreographies present in the everyday. Chambers is Max Tyler-Hite’s mother.