CFP: Wild Play

Submission deadline: March 8, 2024

Conference date(s):
April 26, 2024

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Perspectives on Play
Nottingham, United Kingdom

Topic areas


Many games, sports, and leisure activities take place in artificially constructed and safely controlled environments. However, it is not hard to find aspirations for liberation from the monotony of our domesticated existences, expressed in desires for ‘wilder’ leisure. From children’s activities promoted as wholesome muddy antidotes to screen time, to urban axe-throwing experiences marketed at pseudo-deviant stag night parties, sometimes we yearn to escape into what Jack Halberstam calls “unbounded and unpredictable spaces” that we believe (rightly or not) offer sources of opposition to “modernity's orderly impulses”. (2020) 

We invite philosophical and interdisciplinary contributions exploring “wild play” in the broadest sense. Questions might include, but are not limited to:

  • What does it mean to be wild?
  • Is 'wild play' even a coherent category?
  • What connection (if any) is there between wild play and 'nature sports'?'
  • What role does ‘natural beauty’ have in wild play?
  • Can there be wild play in urban environments, e.g. ‘capture the flag’ or Parkour?
  • Does the idea of play in the wilderness reinforce or undermine a human/nature duality?
  • Is there actual justification in lamenting children apparently playing outdoors less? Does technology necessarily undermine 'authentic' wildness?

We are also interested in direct explorations of particular activities. For example, an examination of the way in which non-mainstream sexual activities are seen as deviant or an exploration of whether aesthetic qualities can really be said to inform line choice in the game of rock-climbing.
Invited Speakers:

  • Professor Quill R Kukla, Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University, "Power Play, Play Spaces, and the Edges of Sexual Consent"
  • Karl Egerton, University of Nottingham, “The riddle of the forager”
  • Sasha Garwood, University of Nottingham, “From athletocracy to wild swimming: love, sexuality, and Edwardian masculinity’?”

Contributions are especially welcomed from scholars who are junior, precarious and/or from non-traditional backgrounds

Please submit anonymised extended abstracts of up to 500 words for individual papers (20 mins presentation + 25 mins Q&A), using the following form

The conference will be primarily in person, but there may be limited options to present online if there is a particular need. Please include a request to present online in your abstract if you require this.

If you have any questions please feel free to email us at [email protected]   

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