How children act and react to the world as they achieve a sense of self is fascinating. An intriguing aspect of childhood is the (many) children who dress up as an “other”. A fantasy alter ego – ranging from sticking a tail on and becoming a T.Rex through to donning layers of fake silk for an elaborate transformation into a princess.

I wonder at the stories that happen in these worlds that we, as adults, are excluded from.

Boy who would be ‘Dr Who’ is a portrait of a boy who lives in Ruchill next to the Forth and Clyde canal which winds its way through Maryhill.

Ruchill is an area Glasgow City Council has marked as in need of regeneration, and since the 1990’s much new housing has been developed there.

Along with replacing old housing stock, a newer mix of large student ‘villages’, social and private ownership housing make up this canal side community where connections can

sometimes feel lost in a place which caters for car parking but not always for children.

It is within this landscape that a boy dresses up as the Eleventh Dr Who.

Ultimately, the question is whether play has become increasingly interior, both physically and mentally, not only for this boy but also for so many others.

Building housing but ignoring how a community would interact and how their children would play limits options for those who live there. Indoor toys, games and dressing up overshadow the outdoor experiences of local swing parks, playing rounders and football.

This is most likely true for many children in both urban and rural areas where a shift from the physical to the screen is happening. Yet, here in this newly built community along this stretch of the canal in Maryhill, it feels pronounced.

Extended Story: Portrait with Text