The Association for the Study of Play

The Association for the Study of Play

The Association for the Study of Play (TASP) is a professional organization whose purpose is threefold: to promote the study of play, to support and cooperate with other similar organizations, and to organize meetings and publications in order to disseminate information related to play.1 Their multi-disciplinary focus includes such fields as biology, anthropology, cultural studies, ecology, education, folklore, history, kinesiology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, recreation, and the arts. Through TASP's leaders, members, conferences, and publications they have “embodied the power and spirit of play in everyday life.”2

The Association for the Study of Play was originally the Cultural Anthropology of Play Reprint Society formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 14, 1973, when Alyce Taylor Cheska convened a meeting of more than thirty scholars who had recently published research on the subject of play. Later that year, Michael Salter organized their first official meeting in London, Ontario, Canada. At that meeting they reorganized, elected B. Allan Tindall as president, and renamed the society The Association for the Anthropological Study of Play (TAASP). Fourteen years later, in 1987, they would simplify their name to The Association for the Study of Play, as they are currently known.3

From the beginning TASP has conducted yearly conferences and published the proceedings in their publications Play & Culture and the Journal of Play Theory & Research.4 In 1988, they discontinued publishing the conference proceedings and began publishing the peer-reviewed annual volume, Play & Culture Studies, a scholarly journal concerning current theory and research on play. They also publish the newsletter, Play Review, which includes research updates, book reviews, and abstracts of annual meetings.5

Some of the organizations that TASP supports are the International Play Association (IPA), the International Council for Children’s Play (ICCP), and The Strong, an interactive collections-based educational institution dedicated to the study and exploration of play.6 The Strong currently manages TASP's membership program and was the site of their 2011 Annual Conference.7

  • 1. “TASP Membership Forms & Dues.” TASP, The Association for the Study of Play. < > 1 June 2011.
  • 2. “History of TASP.” TASP, The Association for the Study of Play. < > 11 July 2011.
  • 3. Ibid.
  • 4. Ibid.
  • 5. Op.cit., “TASP Membership Forms & Dues.”
  • 6. “News.” TASP, The Association for the Study of Play. < > 1 June 2011.
  • 7. “News Release.” The Strong. < > 11 July 2011.