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Playtime: Play equipment designed in consultation with mothers and children from an asylum-seeker playgroup in Melbourne.

From July to September this year, Dr. Caroline Vains from RMIT’s Interior Design (hons) program in the School of Architecture and Design led a group of Interior Design (hons) students in a workshop-based project called Playtime. The aim was to design and construct innovative play equipment and toys for children in local asylum-seeker and refugee playgroups to use.

Our partner and client for the project was the Coburg-based, not-for-profit organisation called VICSEG (the Victorian Cooperative on Children’s Services for Ethnic Groups). They have been working with refugees and asylum seekers for over 30 years, and currently coordinate 26 playgroups in Melbourne’s north and western suburbs. VICSEG’S brief asked us to develop play equipment and toys that are interpretive, process based, age appropriate, culturally nuanced and adaptive, adhere to health and safety regulations, are finished to a high level, and inspire wonder and delight. The play equipment was developed in consultation with refugee women and children from one of their playgroups. The outcomes were publically exhibited and trialed by the children during the Guesthouse Project’s Community Day. They have since been delivered to VICSEG and will be exhibited again during their AGM at the Creative New Futures Gallery in Coburg.

Image Credits: Anna Fairbank

Chief Investigators
Caroline Vains
Industry Partner
Not for profit organisation VICSEG (the Victorian Cooperative on Children’s Services for Ethnic Groups)
Date: 2016