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Is playing hide-and-seek in shops too guerrilla?

May 14, 2012

I really enjoyed reading Professor Richard Phillip’s article on curiosity and fieldwork in the most recent edition of Geography, the Geographical Association’s main journal. He has a lot of positive words about both the Mission:Explore books and website. I’m looking forward to meeting him next month as part of a ‘think tank’ style workshop on fieldwork in the the EPIC department of geography at the University of Sheffield.

The paragraph I found most interesting suggests that some of our mission-based guerrilla geography challenges may be a little too guerrilla…

Mission:Explore comes with a tongue-in-cheek ‘WARNING’ on the front – ‘This book is dangerous’. But the back cover issues an invitation: ‘Become a guerrilla explorer and extreme missioner with missions that defy gravity, see the invisible and test your mental agility’. In fact, the book is a little dangerous in places, and not always productively so. To develop the latter example, shops and some shopping centres are private spaces, subject to tight regulation, and it is not always possible for children and young people to use them for games such as hide-and-seek! This underlines the need to approach fieldwork suggestions such as these critically.”

What do you think? Should the (implicitly geographical and enquiry-based) game of hide-and-seek be played in commercial spaces, or is this just too naughty?

The Geography Collective's gorilla

5 Comments leave one →
  1. geoblogs permalink*
    May 14, 2012 16:27

    Of course it should be… Retail spaces are indeed private, but a major aim for any retailer is ‘footfall’. A large percentage of people who enter a shop have no intention of buying anything, or are unable financially to purchase items.
    Window shopping is acceptable, and ‘browsing is welcomed’. There are also sanctioned hiding places called changing rooms where once again people try on clothes with no intention of buying.
    The suggestion to play hide and seek has perhaps also been taken too literally here?
    There is no requirement to ‘actually’ play hide and seek in its ‘traditional’ sense but merely to scout out the best sort of shops…
    And as a final thought, my kids always used to play hide and seek in clothes shops, crawling into the carousels of trousers / shirts etc.
    It’s great to see Mission:Explore in the GA’s ‘academic’ journal, and the event at Sheffield sounds awesome. It is indeed an epic department…

    • May 14, 2012 16:32

      I don’t think kids need to be asked to play hide-and-seek.. they just do.

  2. geoblogs permalink*
    May 14, 2012 16:33

    Hide and seek in a department store – so many choices….

    There are also some good references to follow up

  3. Alice Griffiths permalink
    May 14, 2012 19:12

    I have found M&S to be perfect for this with toddlers however as a parent I didn’t always consent to the game before it began!

  4. Karen Wallace permalink
    May 24, 2012 15:43

    I have found that preorganized events scheduled for a specific time and date work well in malls when coordinated ahead of time with shops. However, I dont think its fair to businesses to disrupt them by random events. We need businesses to be our partners.

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