Children's playground games and songs in the new media age

This project will update, analyse and re-present three important collections of children's playground songs and rhymes: the Opie Collection of Children's Games and Songs, and selections from collections at the National Centre for English Cultural Tradition (NATCECT) and the Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture (LAVC). The project will work in four ways: firstly, it will digitise material from the collections as a new digital archive at the British Library, and design an interactive website available to educators, researchers, children, parents, and the wider public.; second, it will carry out a two-year study of playground culture in two primary schools, one in London, one in Sheffield; third, it will make a documentary film of children's play; and finally, it will explore how traditional games like this are making their way into forms of new media by developing a suite of games for the Nintendo Wii. The project aims to preserve this important aspect of our national culture; but also to explore how it continues to be a part of the lives of children living in the age of computer games and the internet. What does this oral tradition borrow from the media; and how might it connect with the entertainment and information technologies of the age of new media?

Principal investigator
Dr Andrew Burn
Principal project staff
Professor Andrew Burn, Professor Jackie Marsh, Dr Rbekah Willett, Ms Grethe Mitchell, Mr Jonnie Robinson, Dr Julia Bishop, Dr Chris Richards, Dr Jennifer Sheridan, Ms Laura Jopson
Start date
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Completion date
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Source material
The sound archive of Iona and Peter Opie in the British Library's National Sound Archive; digital video, sound recordings, photographs and observation data from two primary school playgrounds.

To be added as project completes. See website for draft papers.