Streetart and Streetplay – “Fördern durch Spielmittel e.V.” meets Brooklyn Street Art

  • by Geneviève Debien

Global learning affects all areas of life, with the goal of initiating different and unusual learning processes: How can street art and street play contribute to this? 

On the afternoon of April 29, 2022, multipliers from the field of education gathered at the URBAN NATION Museum for a special workshop. For purposes of continuing education, they were joined by Peter Plappert (Fördern durch Spielmittel e.V.) and by the curators Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo (Brooklyn Street Art) of the Martha Cooper exhibition.

The association “Fördern durch Spielmittel e.V.” – supported by the Stiftung Berliner Leben – is dedicated to “promote creativity and inclusion through joint play among children with and without disabilities as well as different migration backgrounds, strengthening cohesion in the neighborhood.” 

At the URBAN NATION Museum, curators Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo (Brooklyn Street Art) worked with Martha Cooper to create a multimedia exhibition by juxtaposing artistic works with documentary material. With “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” the URBAN NATION Museum presents the first comprehensive retrospective of Martha Cooper’s photographic work. Through photographs and personal objects, the exhibition traces Martha Cooper’s life for six decades and pays tribute to her as an important documentarian of the global urban art movement.

These seemingly disparate worlds provide a special way to learn about examples of children’s play in public spaces and, in the context of this workshop, were the basis for a new way of thinking about public space.

Therefore, the curators first guided the group, consisting of teachers and social workers, through the exhibition. After all, Martha Cooper devoted herself to document street play across decades and different continents.

With an interdisciplinary eye, the participants were able to discover through the photographs on display how children have appropriated the street, what place they have occupied in public space at different times and in different countries, and still do today. Last but not least, the exhibited collection of recycled toys is also very interesting.

In the Martha Cooper Library, the participants could then discuss which spaces and which framework conditions children should be given  with regard to the goal of sustainable urban development (Sustainable Development Goal 11) and exchange ideas on how these issues can be addressed through playful and creative Global Learning offerings.

Photos: Sebastian Kläbsch