For all you players at the above, in readiness to play at 5pm on July 7th here is everything you need to know about the surreally named, just about plausible, totally beta…..

Taking place in the Thursday Project Slot this is its first outing, after an initial pilot with the lovely peeps in Exeter Playful Lab. Before we start I thought it might be handy to give a little welcome and explanation.

What is Tramorabilia?

Tramorabilia was designed as a playful, play-based approach to disseminating some aspects of my recent study The  Value of Play in HE. It heralds the full story-of-the-study which will be freely available from August 2022.

This downloadable book takes the game of I Spy as its organising structure and plays with academic conventions such as tone and presentation. It caters for all kinds of readers and interests, covering literature, theory and practice of play in HE,  complexities and contradictions, cultural factors, discussions, diagrams and a huge number of examples of play. There is a reflection section (ooh the poetry) at the end of each part of the book for you to muse on what you have encountered. The aim of the game Tramorabilia is to draw attention to the coming publication and for participants to find out some information about the project through the medium of play.

The scenario…

You have come to attend the evening book launch of The Value of Play in HE:A Study; hosted at the Tramorabilia Theme Park. As well as wanting to find out about the project,  you are a super keen tram enthusiast who wants to get in a few rides too. So before the launch you sneak off to see as many different models as possible, spend your money in the gift shop and write down serial numbers/comparing different gauge rails. It is all so exciting you don’t notice the time passing until you realise the park is closed and you are locked in. Everyone else has gone to the launch which starts shortly, except you and a few other offenders.

You panic, as a) you had promised to be there b) you had planned to find out a bit about the project before you arrive.

To your relief, however, you find a Tram Driver who is still in the park. She agrees to help you get out of the park if you will help her with a few tasks. She gives you some starter provisions and sets you off on your mission….

Photo by Adam Borkowski on Unsplash

How to play

You can play Tramorabilia on your own, with a partner or in a group. You can play collaboratively and just have some fun at each activity point, or play competitively with real fake money! I know. It’s sooooo exciting. If you want to score points these are awarded or taken away through different options and activities and your final score totted up by the Tram Driver at the end. There are options at each activity point for you to engage with different levels of effort/enthusiasm/interest. There will also be a prize for the person/team with the highest score.

It all starts with a group briefing from the Tram Driver and then you pass through five activity points as you play, in which you

  •  do some Tram Spotting
  • muse over and match the trams in Theoretical Rhetoricals: will you Stay and Play or Stop, Pop and Hop?
  • encounter different kinds of play through Pitch and Play
  • get artistic (and judgy) with Voticon Emoticon 
  • see off some Trespassers!

Once you have successfully passed through all of these points you will get out of Tramorabilia in time to attend the launch and have your sterling efforts recognised with a certificate of achievement.

Photo by Patti Black on Unsplash

Everything else will be revealed as you play.


All the materials are provided in the session, however, if we run out of any, here are two items that you might like to download afterwards. Gazillions is the I Spy with my little eye something beginning with G version of an abstract and the other is a certificate of escape from Tramorabilia. The latter strictly for post play use only. And in four-six weeks or so (hopefully) you will have access to 350+ pages of freebook which tell you everything you want to know about The Value of Play in HE