Attractions Management Vol 28 / Issue 4 2023

Page 5


Bridging divides In an ever more polarised world, the attractions industry plays a key role by providing shared experiences and reminding us that we’re not so different



hether it’s the US election, conflict in the Middle East, or just people arguing on social media, everything feels

incredibly polarised right now. In a world where extremes of opinion are

making people feel ever-more divided, the attractions industry has a unique role to play. Museums can help us learn from the past, showing us where escalating tensions and historical divides have led us. Knowledge and understanding can help build bridges and counter ignorance and fear. But it’s not just about education. We’re learning more and more about the crucial role play holds in our lives, and it’s something many adults forget. Dr Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play in the US, has carried out research showing that a life devoid of play can lead to depression, stressrelated illnesses and a decreased immune

Play has many benefits for adults

Play allows us to take ourselves less seriously and that’s vital right now

system, and on a societal level, can lead to

another visitor about social distancing and mask

higher rates of rage, violence and crime.

wearing. The conversation was getting heated –

We may hold wildly differing opinions but we

each of us entrenched in our positions – when

all have an inner child that wants to play and

suddenly a bear started climbing a tree. We both

be carefree. On page 40 Meow Wolf founder

reacted in exactly the same way – our faces

Vince Kadlubek explores the role attractions can

lit up with joy – and suddenly our differences

play in healing division. He says: “Our industry

were forgotten and we found ourselves smiling

provides a miraculous opportunity for people

at the way we had shared this moment.

of all backgrounds, beliefs, and character to

Play allows us to take ourselves less seriously,

co-exist in the communion of exploration.

and that’s very much needed right now. Whether

“If that communion can be felt for even the

crawling through an immersive installation,

slightest moment, it has the profound power to

screaming on a rollercoaster or interacting with

short-circuit the mechanisms of judgement and

a work of art, we can put aside our opinions and

remind us that we’re loving and forgiving beings.”

prejudices, be in the moment, and just play.

I experienced this a couple of years ago, during a visit to an outdoor zoo attraction. It was during the pandemic, and I had a disagreement with

+44 (0)1462 431385

Magali Robathan, editor

@attractionsmag Vol 28 / ISSUE 4


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