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IPA World Triennial Board Report May 2021


In September 2017, when the IPA World Conference was held in Calgary Canada, we had little knowledge of the what the next four years would bring nor would we ever have predicted the world as we know it today.

The development of a five-year Strategic Plan was a measure designed to assist transition between Boards however given the COVID restriction it has served us well as a point of reference for Board activities both to 2021 and into 2023.

The Board met online monthly via zoom in 2018 and 2019 and this has been reduced to every two months in 2020-21 with regular weekly contact and interaction via Whats App. Two face-to-face meetings were held during the period in Jaipur India as part of the conference briefing, and a second opportunity presented itself in London when several Board members identified as being able to be in the same location while traveling.

In February 2020 the IPA World Secretary position became vacant and the position remained vacant as the world COVID crisis took precedence and the Board moved to direct its energy as volunteers into supporting the membership. The Board will co-opt a member with suitable skills to fill the role in the coming quarter.

A key focus of the past four years has been to restructure IPA World to position it for growth and future funding opportunities. This has required intense work on the development of a new constitution and research into options for incorporation and the establishment of IPA as a Legal charitable entity. This work is ongoing and will culminate in2023 at the next IPA World Conference when a quorum of membership can meet face-to- face to formally ratify the changes.

A second key focus has been to increase opportunities for member engagement. This has resulted in a multiplatform approach being delivered that has resulted in significant member growth and engagement.

During the past period IPA World Board has advocated and promoted Article 31 and General Comment 17 across a range of international events and conferences maintaining a presence for IPA World both through physical attendanceand online.

This period has resulted in IPA World celebrating a series of “1sts” including our first online professional development (PD) series, first electronic dissemination of PlayRights Magazine, the largest dissemination of an IPA Resource in our history to over 130, 000 on social media and on a lighter note, our first world game of Hide and Seek played online and facilitated by IPA member Penny Wilson as part of the online PD series.

Our Progress

Key Highlights and Achievements September 2017- May 2021

  1. Growth in
  • Our membership during the period 2017-2021 increased by 31% from 700 to 918 members.
  • We welcomed 4 new IPA Branches in this period- Nigeria, Taiwan, Portugal, and India.
  • The Membership data based was audited to ensure accuracy and work undertaken to addressissues with administration (work ongoing).
  1. Increased Engagement with Membership
  • Delivery of 6-8 week online newsletters “PlayNotes” to membership and one edition of PlayRights Magazine.
  • Our Facebook following had a 40% increase in the period 2017 to 2021. As at May 2021 we have 5941 followers and 4840 likes.
  • Showcased and celebrated innovation in promotion and protection of Article 31 through provision of Right to Play In Time of Crisis Special Awards and reached at least 10,000 people through social media.A record 23 nominations received from 13 countries (a 40% increase on previous years). Nominees for the awards participated in the Membership Webinar series Right to Play in Times of Crisis. Participating countries were England, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand,Portugal, Scotland, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam.
  • The six free membership webinars attracted 221 people and a total of 970 Advertising of the webinars via Facebook reached an audience of 62.5k and 5.5k engaged with the post, providing 4864 positive reactions. These webinars have been recorded and will be released in June 2021 for members.
  • Members in Japan, Turkey, Italy, Portugal, Hong Kong contributed to supporting with translations of resources.
  • Members and supporters from over 30 countries provided feedback and input into the research report prepared pro-bono by IPA Member Tim Gill assisted by IPA President Robyn Monro Miller.
3.  Production and Increased Accessibility of Free Resources
  • Free online dissemination of 2 significant issues of PlayRights Magazine via ISSUU. These were 50th Anniversary edition and General Comment edition.
  • “IPA Play in Crisis: Support for Parents and Carers” was produced by IPA in April 2021 and has been translated into 7 languages and reached 6k people through social media.

Given the short time frames to respond to the impending COVID 19 crisis IPA commissioned Theresa Casey (former IPA President and project lead for the Access to Play toolkit) to write the document supported by the Play Wales team lead by Mike Greenway with volunteer input from Board members Sudeshna Chatterjee, Kathy Wong and Cynthia Gentry. Members from Japan, Turkey, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Italy, participated in assisting with translations free of charge. IPA World paid for an Arabic translation following the explosions in Beirut.

  • “Play Things: Loose Parts Play in Good Times and Bad” by IPA Member Penny Wilson written for PlayRights Magazine April 2020 edition released as a separate online resource to the public.
  • IPA World collaborated with IPA-Canada in bringing out a special issue of the journal focusing on Children, Youth and Environments based on a selection of the papers presented at the IPA Triennial conference in Calgary.
  • Free member access to the International Journal of Play provided for a limited period in 2019.
4. Representation and Advocacy
  • Play In Lockdown – An International Study of government and civil society responses to COVID-19and their impact on children’s play and mobility”
  • Prepared by IPA Member, Tim Gill and IPA President, Robyn Monro Miller accessed by over 64k via social media

IPA World was represented by Board members at the following events:

Presentation, IPA Northern Ireland Conference, by zoom, Northern Ireland, May 2021. RobynMonro Miller

Presentation “ Right to Play” International Playbus Conference, by zoom, Germany, October2020. Robyn Monro Miller

 Seminar Presentation, “Play- a human right” IPA Nigeria, by zoom, West Africa, September18, 2020. Robyn Monro Miller

 Panel Presentation “General Comment and right to Play” Urban Synergies Group, by zoom,September 10, 2021. Robyn Monro Miller

Presentation on the General Comment at “Play as Emotional Survival in Times of Crisis, Risk, and Stress” – the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, Virtual Zoom Conference, Wednesday, August 5, 2020. Robyn Monro Miller

Presentation “A Playful Dive into GC17” 8 weeks of Conference, Meynell Games, by zoom, July2020. Robyn Monro Miller

Seminar Presentation, “Reflections on Play”, IPA Japan, by zoom, Niza, February 2020, Robyn Monro Miller

Participation and Panel presentation on UNICEF Panel “Play and Public Space”, World Urban Forum Abu Dhabi, February 2020. Robyn Monro Miller and Sudeshna Chatterjee. (self-funded)

Keynote Presentation Play for Change” Healthy Space Festival, Thailand, January 2020. Kathy Wong

Keynote presentation “Children and Play” IPA Israel Event, Mofet Institute, Tel Aviv November14, 2019. Robyn Monro Miller

Keynote Presentation, “Play Grows Brains” and 2021 Conference promotion, Spielkongress-Muenchen, Munich, Germany, October 2019.

Keynote presentation on “Designing Cities for Children in the Majority World” at the Uppsala HealthSummit on the theme of Healthy Urban Childhoods, Uppsala, Sweden, October 2019. Sudeshna Chatterjee

Participation in UNICEF’s first Child Friendly City Summit, Cologne, Germany, October2019. Sudeshna Chatterjee

 Official Welcome and Plenary (pre-recorded), International Toy Libraries Conference, SouthAfrica July 2019. Robyn Monro Miller

Board Presentations at IPA England’s “Halfway to Jaipur” conference, London, May 10-11,2019. Sudeshna Chatterjee, Cynthia Gentry, Robyn Monro Miller

 Plenary presentation on IPA’s Access to Play in Crisis, at Spirit 2019 conference hosted by Play Wales, Cardiff, Wales, May 13, 2019. Sudeshna Chatterjee

Keynote presentation “Children’s spatial practice and adult conceptions o f space in India” at thePlay, Social Justice and Urban Space conference, Portobello, Scotland, May 17, 2019. Sudeshna Chatterjee

Meeting with Abu Dhabi Municipal Authorities, February 2019. Robyn Monro Miller

 Keynote Presentation, The Value of Play, Future Landscapes and Playspaces Conference, Abu Dhabi, February 2019. Robyn Monro Miller

Board Presentations at Jaipur Literature Festival included media Coverage, Jaipur India, January 2019


The Board of IPA World is grateful for the support and patience of the Council members over the past three years as we faced the tedious task of undertaking significant ongoing structural reform. This, coupled with being thrown into the task of supporting the membership through what remains one of the worst periods in world history in most of our lifetimes, has been challenging.

My personal thanks to the Board members, all voluntary, who have given freely of their time and expertise to work together to achieve the outcomes identified. They have at all times displayed empathy, resilience andgood humour and it has been my privilege to work with them.

Finally, the IPA membership proved itself to be resilient and cohesive this year. They inspired and supported each other, they cheered each other on during webinars and in social media. We have a strength in our membership that we must harness and build in the years ahead. As an organisation, with no paid staff, relianton the volunteer goodwill of the representatives elected to the positions, we have achieved so much in the 60 years since we were founded. This is a legacy we all share, and I hope we all are inspired to build upon the years ahead.

Robyn Monro Miller, President.

1 May 2021