Clear Sky’s Power of Play Conference 2023

There was plenty of sand, sunshine, music, dancing, singing and play! What else could have been happening in Oxford on an October weekend, but Clear Sky’s first ever Power of Play Conference!


This long awaited CPD accredited event brought together inspiring speakers, talented workshop leaders and a host of therapeutic play professionals for our first ever one-day event to explore ‘The Theory and Practice of Play for the Developing Child’

Our first conference, hosted at Oxford University’s William Osler House was opened by Clear Sky Charity Director Anna Hodgson and co-hosted throughout the day by Clear Sky’s Head of Therapy, Becky Hill. We were honoured to be joined by our opening keynote speaker Dr Sue Jennings, who gave an extremely informative and interesting talk entitled ‘Playing Across Global Stages’  Dr Sue’s presentation took us on a journey of Neuro Dramatic Play through ritual and culture, to nurture and nesting. We explored the importance of play and safety (although we were slightly disappointed to have missed out on the offer of eating chocolate pudding with our fingers; a technique that Sue uses in smaller groups!). What a wonderful start to our conference.

We moved onto the first of our 4 hands-on workshops. Delegates were able to choose from 4, 90-minute experiential sessions with esteemed experts: Lara Kasza who delivered her ‘8 Feminine Archetypes’ SandStory Circles workshop, Elizabeth Coombes who brought us ‘The World of Sound’ Jessie Ellinor who treated participants to ‘The Land of Games’ and Dr Lynne Souter-Anderson who delighted delegates with ‘Clay Conversations’

After a lovely lunch outside, we were wowed by a totally inspiring presentation from Sarah Ladak of the Al-Ayn Foundation. Sarah shared her incredible presentation on The Hikayati Centre in Iraq; a truly amazing facility for orphaned children, which demonstrates how the Power of Play transitions across language, religion and cultures.

Delegates then attended a second workshop of their choice, and were then treated to an entertaining and highly informative afternoon keynote from Ben Kingston-Hughes entitled ‘The Power of Play’. Delegates were encouraged to take part in an uproariously funny and playful ice breaker exercise which resulted in a very noisy conference room, before Ben went on to share his knowledge of the science of play in his very unique and humorous style.

Becky wrapped the day up for us with a short reflective exercise, in which participants were invited to share their thoughts from the day with us as part of an artistic collage. We then ventured back out into the October sunshine for a group photo before heading home.

We are so pleased that the conference was so well received and indeed was so well anticipated, with tickets selling out well ahead of the event. We were asked when our next conference will be and this will be published as soon as the team have re-grouped, so keep your eyes peeled!

Thank you to everyone for making the event such a success!

What our delegates are saying:

“The best Saturday I have had for ages. Such a lovely opportunity to meet other people working with children and families”

Ben was beyond brilliant! What a joy to listen to someone with such an obvious passion for the work he does. I will be looking at his website and signing up for more training with him as soon as I can”

“Hugely entertaining and highly informative. I laughed and learnt a lot!”
“Exceeded any and all expectations! Thoroughly enjoyed each and every moment 🤩”
“I have learnt so much and feel I have grown as a play therapist. Truly! There are now things I want to explore and learn more about and it was so wonderful to be with so many like minded people passionate about making play the priority it should be!! Thank you all so much, the organisation was also exceptional. I can’t wait for whatever Clear Sky do next, I’ll be there!!”
“Great fun and inspiring”
“A thoroughly enjoyable day which has inspired me to think about developing my practice. Great to learn more about science behind play”