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Playfuel make physical games and playful experiences for research engagement and science communication. We believe that play is not just for children: it is a unique way of engaging with the world. It puts people at the centre of action, as agents that make their own decisions, create meanings and affect the world around them. Play and games can take place anywhere and this makes them powerful tools to engage with, explore and question complex ideas.
Playfuel was founded in Manchester in 2015 by Greg Foster and Jana Wendler, bringing together influences from theatre performance and urban geography. Together we worked as Associate Artists with game and performance creators The Larks and became part of an exciting international network of urban game makers that spans Germany, Italy, Denmark, Austria and many other countries.
Since 2018, Jana has been running Playfuel on her own as a social enterprise, broadening its focus to wider playful and creative public engagement. She has worked with different researchers, charities and public bodies, and she enjoys collaborating with creative practitioners to realise exciting and memorable projects.
Jana is a game designer, public engagement practitioner and researcher. She discovered street games when she moved to Manchester, and has been creating and collaborating on playful experiences since 2011. She has taken up roles as designer, producer and facilitator, and is excited about the diversity of skills that come together in game making.
Jana's game design is inspired by her academic background. She has a PhD in Human Geography from the University of Manchester, which looked at the creativity and learning in experimental spaces like urban gardens. Her passion is connecting people and research, and alongside her creative practice she supports others in developing collaborative public and community engagement projects.