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Tillitsverket: Incorporating Play with Human Sustainability

Stina Balkfors.
Stina Balkfors.
Stina Balkfors. Foto: Tobias Ohls.

– Our idea is that through play you gain so much and that by inviting kids and grown-ups together, magic can happen, says Stina Balkfors, Co-Founder of Tillitsverket.

When I met Stina Balkfors of Tillitsverket one beautiful, sunny late Summer afternoon at Royal Park Stockholm, I truly had no expectation or idea of what was in store. As she led me into their permanent exhibtion, my mind lit up as we passed by various beautifully designed play spaces, richly colored paintings from a recent workshop and regal yet playful elements throughout the entire space. The various tents and delightful nooks tucked throughout the exhibition are all a testament to the progressive mission of this down-to-earth yet extraordinary NGO.

The importance of play for all ages is in central focus at Tillitsverket which was founded in 2009 by seventeen people of wide ranging backgrounds-  educators, doctors, therapists, artists, community entrepreneurs, gardeners, architects and more.

Our idea, what we have been doing a lot of experimentation with, is how can we create positive change by focusing on the human aspect such as trust, collaboration and human abilities.

On the history of Tillitsverket, Co-founder Stina Balkfors reflects:

– We came together with a common urge to do something, to make the world a better place with a common conviction that human abilities have a key role in creating a better world. We started off ten years ago by inviting people to play. We had big play days outdoors and from there it has been growing both in what we do, in knowledge and collaborations as well as the awareness of the role of play for humans.

Working with human substainability

It might appear that the organization’s activities are simply about enjoying the freedom and joy of play, but there is a deeper understanding in motion with their mission.

– Our idea is to work with human sustainability, Balkfors notes. When we talk about sustainability and what we really need to do to be able to meet all these changes that we are facing, we tend to often turn to physical solutions or methods. Our idea, what we have been doing a lot of experimentation with is how can we create positive change by focusing on the human aspect such as trust, collaboration and human abilities.

Their primary exhibition, Skapa, Leka, Lyssna, has been a mobile concept until January 2019 when they moved to Royal Park.

– We have been touring around with our exhibition Skapa, Leka, Lyssna all over Sweden and now finally we have found a home where we have actually built the location to fit the experience, says Balkfors.

Benefical to all ages

Tillitsverket provides a range of experiences introducing the importance of play for human trust, collaboration, consciousness, creativity, playfulness and ability.  All of these aspects of connection, communication and relating are the keys in Tillitsverkets methods which are extraordinary in how basic yet essential they are to human experience.

Play at Tillitsverket manifests in a myriad of forms: theater play, construction play, free play in the forest with fairies, trolls and big adventures, storytelling, painting and more. The central idea at Tillitsverket is that through play one gains so much and that by inviting children and grown-ups together, magic can happen, both within the relationships as well as with the ability to see different sides of each other. These meetings create an energy and awareness that people actually long for but often find difficult to create in life.

What Tillitsverket offers is a truly unique but central and basic way of looking at and reconnecting with a sense of sustainability.  The world is craving new perspectives, new ideas, new ways to look at the system. An opportunity to spend a day with your colleagues to look at problems from another perspective presents immeasurable value.

Likewise, the opportunity for children and grown-ups to engage in play together offers an engagement potential beneficial to all ages.

– People later remark how basic it is. Not shallow but very basic and almost forgotten. It’s about getting reconnected to your human capacity, concludes Balkfors.

Upcoming play-days include

  • 22nd September 2019 – Harvest Fest with dragon play in the forest
  • 27th October 2019 – Collaborative Play – through play, laughter, imagination and adventure coming together as a community
  • 24th November 2019 – Light Fest with games and fairy tales to start the day and then creating lanterns to enter the dark and spread the light in community and song
  • 29th December 2019 – Christmas Party with play, dances, songs, magic and sharing the message of Christmas Love
  • 26th January 2020 – Masquerade Carnival, dress in the finest, funniest, most inventive way you can think of to participate in the festivities!


Tillitsverket invites companies, groups and organizations to visit and can custom tailor an experience for any need.  A company can, for example, come in for an hour as inspiration in conference or longer for a more in-depth experience on topics such as trust in leadership and creative collaborations.

Tillitsverket specializes in a lot of experience mixed with dialogue, all intended to first and foremost be fun and facilitate a company wherever they are at in their organizational process.


Tillitsverket invite schools, groups of students, teachers and educators to participate in their play events and organize visits to the exhibitions. What is important is that there is no emphasis on the result, all focus is on experience. 

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