Call for Proposals

Creating Belonging in Times of Pandemic

Play Perform Learn Grow 2021

PPLG 2021 will gather us online on 10-12 September 2021 to craft new possibilities of belonging through play, performance, dialogue, art and ritual in times of pandemic.

The global pandemic, among many other things, has increased our sense of separation—from our jobs, our schools, our friends, our families, from nature and from the world as we know it.

Human touch has been infused with the fear of infection, personal relationships have been mediated by masks and pixels. Our social worlds moved online. With millions dead, the lives of many of us have been shaken by grief and loss. Education practices transformed, impacting the lives of children and young people around the world. For migrants, refugees, religious and ethnic minorities the alienation intensified. Isolation at home brought into the spotlight how different that home can be (if there is one) and how privilege is allocated around the world. It also exposed the different features of each household, which might have been of unity, but also of violence. Staying home did not mean for everyone staying safe.

Our sense of separation and isolation, the social and economic inequalities along with our alienation from our planet, long predate Covid-19. The pandemic, however, has drawn new attention to them, creating an increasingly urgent call for action.

New grassroots-based artistic, emotional support, political initiatives and movements of solidarity have been created in response to—and building with—the pain, grief and injustice. New ways have developed to transform working and educational practices, to humanise online environments, to bring local and transnational communities into being. Online platforms have made possible encounters amongst people who might not have otherwise met, crossing physical, ideological and cultural borders. As the world slowed down a bigger awareness started emerging, embracing the equilibrium in the relationship with the land and all living things. New projects developed in support of sustainability, more inclusive and green neighbourhoods. Our discoveries in response to the pandemic have transformed our lives in ways that will remain after the pandemic ends and will impact on the lives of the generations after us.

The fourth Play Perform Learn Grow (PPLG) conference will bring together educators and researchers, therapists, and psychologists, artists and movement practitioners, social and youth workers, activists and community organizers and others from all around the world. PPLG 2021 will be a gathering for all who are seeking new, often playful and performatory, ways of engaging alienation and re-establishing creatively human connection in times of Pandemic and beyond. Let us share our experiences, both our losses and our joys and discoveries.  In doing so, PPLG will itself become an experiment and a stage in re-connection and belonging.

With this in mind, Play Perform Learn Grow 2021 invites proposals (that can take place on online platforms) for participatory workshops, performances, presentations, panel discussions, and other forms of creative conversation and engagement that address, among others, the following questions:

  • How, and in what ways, can play and performance engage and transform physical and emotional isolation and alienation?
  • How can belonging be generated and sustained across identity, cultural, religious/ideological, and national borders?
  • How can we share and creatively build with our collective awareness of losses during the pandemic? How can we utilize ritual, art, play and narrative in our online work with grief?
  • What has been the impact of the pandemic on marginalized communities?
  • ​How can those without online access be included in projects of connectedness and belonging during and after the pandemic?
  • ​How can technologies be used to serve online community practices and connect the isolated?
  • ​What are the limitations of working online as therapists, educators, artists, community practitioners? What new possibilities have been created regarding working post pandemic?
  • ​How has online work given rise to social innovation? What new forms of creating belonging have emerged though online platforms?
  • How has the experience of the pandemic impacted on our personal, community, creative and political relationships?
  • How has the experience of the pandemic impacted on our understanding of, and emotional relationship with our planet?


Play Perform Learn Grow is a mobile international conference that responds to local contexts and creates opportunities for new leaders and communities to emerge. It happens biannually across Europe, bringing together artists and scholars, grassroots and academic partners, organizations and communities to play, converse, perform, reflect and build new collaborations and possibilities. PPLG 2021 is organized in collaboration with East Side Institute, Aristotle University, Epineio Institute, ANAMUH, Lesvos Solidarity and Odysseas.