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All to Play For – an Open Sesame conference

To share the learning from our 5 year Open Sesame programme, Culture Shift held a one-day conference in Hastings on 21 November, bringing together a range of professionals and organisations to digest, debate, rethink and explore the provision of creativity in early years settings.

All to Play For provided a day of energetic debate, creative problem-solving and networking.

With its specific focus on work with 0-2 year olds the event enabled people with an interest in the highest quality creative provision for early childhood to come together and participate in a rich mix of keynote addresses, practical workshops, and debate.

The conference delivered:

  • A launch of the key findings from the Open Sesame Report
  • A celebration of the legacy of this work & its most recent participants
  • Sharing of practical ideas for working creatively with 0-2 years olds, led by Octopus Inc
  • Key note address from early years expert and author Penny Tassoni
  • Input on current arts and cultural sector development
  • An Open Space session providing space to start conversations and plan
  • Networking opportunities to generate new energy in the region and sector

This event was aimed at:

  • Early years practitioners & managers from public and private settings
  • Freelance artists, creative practitioners and early years providers
  • Staff & managers from arts & cultural organisations
  • Local Authority staff with specialist knowledge of Early Years/Children & Young People
  • Independent early years & creativity specialists/researchers
  • Funders





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The conference was well attended with more than 60 participants present on the day.

All participants rated the event as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ and participants enjoyed the mix of practical sessions and presentations, as well as the opportunity to network and plan with other professionals across the sectors.

Quotes from participants

Well done for raising awareness of the struggle creativity ‘creates’ around Early Years Practitioners.


Fantastic, very well organised, varied, engaging and interactive. Contributions from a number of different people.


Good level of interaction with other delegates. Thoughtful and insightful.



Contact us if you would like to receive a copy of the Key Findings from the Open Sesame report, which was distributed at the conference.

Open Sesame is produced by Culture Shift on behalf of East Sussex County Council. It is funded by East Sussex County Council and Arts Council England with a contribution from East Sussex Arts Partnership.