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he first Play, Perform, Learn, Grow (PPLG) conference took place in Thessaloniki, Greece in April 2018 in response to the refugee crisis. It brought together 130 people from 30 countries, mostly, but not exclusively from Europe, who are using play and performance to engage social issues, heal trauma, stimulate imagination and possibility, generate community, and build bridges.

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oday people from diverse cultures, histories, backgrounds, religions and ideologies are living together in Europe. How do we respond—creatively, collaboratively, playfully, performatorily—to this diversity and to the many other concerns arising in this historical moment? How do we go beyond analysis, critique, and advocacy to collectively (re)creating our daily lives, our relationships, and our pedagogical, educational and political assumptions and practices?

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PLG ignited among its participants and their communities a collective movement, nourishing homegrown initiatives and creating new spaces of belonging across borders and cultures. Responding to this movement and the current historical moment in Europe and the world, we are announcing: Play, Perform, Learn, Grow 2019 Bridging Communities, Practices and the World.

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lay, Perform, Learn, Grow 2019 is co-organized by East Side Institute, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Lesvos Solidarity and Epineio Institute. PPLG will bring together educators and researchers, therapists, social scientists, artists, psychologists and movement practitioners, social and youth workers, performance activists and community organizers – refugees, migrants and locals, and all others who are seeking new, and often performatory, ways to address the pain, alienation, and violence of our times. PPLG will also focus on the exploration of methodologies that support educational, therapeutic, academic, artistic and community initiatives to discover dialectics in between polarities, capture complexities, articulate and perform new kinds of relationships.