Summer 2019, I embarked on a quest for enlightenment across Denmark with my wife and young daughter. University of Washington's Study Abroad department partnered with Scan|Design Foundation's exchange program to award me a fellowship to independently study Danish play design, and through it I encountered remarkable people with fascinating ideas. The experience fundamentally changed my perception of play, work, education, and the human experience; as a result I intend to pursue play design as democracy in my own country and around the world. Feel free to read my account of this remarkable encounter in the pages below.
To the dozens of individuals who shared their time and insight with me, thank you. The faculty, staff, and students at Design School Kolding; the team at Aarhus University's Interacting Minds Centre; the past and present members of LEGO's Idea Studio and LEGO House; professionals at KOMPAN Play Institute and LEDON Playground Design; faculty, staff, and students at Nørgaards Højskole, Bornehuset Jægersgådegarde, Gudenåbalens Fribornehave, and Ste. Knud's Bornehave; Alternativet parliamentary party; the hundreds of Danish citizens who graciously overlooked my tragic mispronunciation of your language; and to those State-side who made my adventure possible, thank you all. I've doubtless failed to adequately cram your contribution into this 4000-word essay, but I hope to write more in the future and do greater justice to your influence on my life and work.