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Fields of Play film series collection

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: 111.1046
The Fields of Play film series collection contains DVDs of the five programs which constitute the series. The programs (Plays of Meaning, Playing the Odds, Work and Play, Playing Ball, and Playing for Real) aired in the U.K. on BBC Two in 1982. Along with the original DVDs provided by Michael Dibb, there are two copies of the programs: one each for preservation and access. Supplementary material compiled by staff at The Strong round out this collection. Additional scope and content information is provided in the “Contents List” section of this finding aid.

The Fields of Play film series collection is arranged into two series. The materials are housed in one archival document box.


  • 1981-1982, 2010-2012


Conditions Governing Use

This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donor has not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, he has given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes. The museum also has the right to screen and use the films for research, archival, and non-paying educational and cultural purposes only.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)


The Fields of Play film series collection is a compilation of the five original programs produced by Michael Dibb for BBC in 1981-1982, along with supplementary materials assembled by staff members at The Strong between 2010 and 2012.

Historical Note

Michael (“Mike”) Dibb, a prominent British television documentarian, was an early advocate of the film essay genre. In the late 1970s, Dibb collaborated with Brian Sutton-Smith and other play scholars on a five-program series for the BBC entitled Fields of Play. These documentaries explored play in conjunction with learning, working, sports, gambling, and other aspects of everyday life. Sutton-Smith served as a consultant for the series and was the central commentator of the first segment, Plays of Meaning. Each 60-minute program, recorded in both the United Kingdom and the United States, focused on a different theme and provided a glimpse into why and how people play. The series aired on BBC Two in 1982.

System of Arrangement

Series I: Fields of Play film series DVDs, 1981-1982

Series II: Ancillary materials, 2010-2012

Custodial History

The Fields of Play film series was donated to The Strong in July 2010 as a gift from Michael Dibb. The films were received in DVD format and were accessioned by The Strong under Object ID 111.1046.

Related Materials

The Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong also holds a complete set of the Fields of Play DVDs, which are available for interlibrary loan.

Processed by

Duplicates of the original DVDs received from Michael Dibb were made in February 2011. This collection was previously inventoried by James Leach in February 2012. Revised processing and finding aid were completed by Julia Novakovic in September 2013.



Finding Aid to the Fields of Play Film Series Collection
Julia Novakovic
30 September 2013
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong Repository

The Strong
One Manhattan Square
Rochester NY 14607 USA
585.423.1886 (Fax)