Conversations on the value of play continue to cross boundaries of all kinds—age, academic discipline, science and art, scholar and practitioner. Social worker Helen Abel and life performance coach Randy Wilson — both on staff at San Francisco’s Life Performance Coaching Center — and cell biologist and International Class alumna Raquell Holmes were among participants at The Tenth International Conference on Neuroesthetics: The Importance of Being Playful at UC Berkeley. Says Holmes, founder of ImprovScience and an advocate for the use of improvisation and performance in the science classroom:
This interdisciplinary grouping of scientists, artists and activists created a playful energy and clearly had a commitment to play.
Oxford University primatologist, Isabel Behncke opened with a presentation on the fun-loving bonobos of the Congo, for whom play was a matter of species survival. Other speakers included: Scott Eberle, editor of the American Journal of Play; Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute of Play and producer of the television documentary, The Promise of Play; rap artist Baba Brinkman; Shakti Belway, former attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center; Margaret Boden from the University of Sussex; and performance artist Leonard Pitt. A hit of the event was a slide show by Univ. of Colorado’s Marc Bekoff entitled, Animals at Play: Why Joy and Fairness Are the Names of the Game.