View we play HERE... in a larger map

about routes to play

"Play encompasses children's behavior which is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. It is performed for no external goal or reward, and is a fundamental and integral part of healthy development - not only for individual children, but also for the society in which they live"
(WAG, 2002: p3)

Routes to Play worked with communities throughout Blackburn and Darwen between December 2012 and May 2013. The project was facilitated by artists David Boultbee and Scott Farlow and delivered in two parts.

Part 1 was an active study of the state of incidental and formal play across the Borough. A special cart - the playmobile - toured neighbourhoods and became the distinctive focal point for creative activity, experiments and discussions led by the artists.

The study concluded that play in all its guises is alive and full of surprise, spontaneity and magic in Blackburn and Darwen.

Part 2 of the project was called we play HERE. The artists continued their imaginative and participatory approach and focused on documenting some of the many and varied play activities in specific areas of the Borough.

we Play HERE worked with pupils at Daisyfield Primary School and St. Barnabas C of E in deeper explorations of local play activity. In addition the Artists facilitated a series of street-based interventions and defined a route to play from Kendal Street, via Safe Haven, to Corporation Park.

A series of unique art panels have been installed throughout the Borough. These special markers highlight the engagement and participation that was undertaken as part of the project. Each one contains a QR code which, when scanned with a smartphone, takes the visitor to online content of the activities at each specific location.

This website provides a visual overview of the project. It is merely a snap shot of all of the playful and creative interaction and encounters that took place as part of the project. It also reveals some of the diverse characteristics of local neighbourhoods.

Ultimately it demonstrates the richness and value of play across Blackburn and Darwen.

"I listened to my family playing games and knew who had won. I heard the cups being tossed, the dice thrown, the dominoes clinking, the shuffling of cards. Sometimes they would play Find-theThimble - giving neat gleeful shouts when one of them went from warm to hot."
Extract from The Road to Nab End by William Woodruff. 1993.

For further information about Routes to Play please contact:
Claire Tymon, Cultural Planner
Blackburn with Darwen BC
T. 01254 667130
M. 07713 255747

You can see more of the artists other work at:



in Corporation Park. We need your help to make HUGE sculpture!


(it works best if you can print it out on some thin card)