You are invited - OPEN DAY - Wednesday 25 June/Saturday 28 June
Published: 10/05/2012 15:37 

Stuart Lester 

Stuart Lester, Senior Lecturer - Professional Studies in Children’s Play/Play and Playwork at the University of GloucestershireSenior Lecturer - Professional Studies in Children’s Play/Play and Playwork

Email: slester@glos.ac.uk

Telephone: +44 (0)1242 715200

Academic Qualifications

  • BA(Hons)
  • Cert.Ed

Areas of research interest and teaching expertise

Key research interests focus on the nature and value of children’s play, playful production of time/space through everyday encounters and the conditions under which children’s (and adults) playfulness may thrive. Most recent research projects include:

  • Evaluation of Gloucestershire Primary School ‘Outdoor Play and Learning’ (OPAL) programme (Lester et al, 2011).
  • A more playful museum: Leading an action research project with Manchester Museum to explore ways of creating more playful museum space through re-configuring adult understandings and practices with children in gallery spaces.
  • Research programme with Play Wales to evaluate the implementation of the Welsh Government ‘Sufficiency Measure’, first stage completed and reported in April 2013 (with Wendy Russell).
  • Action research project with an inner-city Adventure Playground - Co-producing a play space: reading playwork stories, practices and artefacts on an adventure playground. 
  • Thinking about Play - Continuous Professional Development  and action research programme to investigate ways of supporting playwork communities of practice and situated learning (ongoing).
  • Member of Natural England’s ‘Strategic Research Group for Learning in Natural Environments’.
  • Member of Advisory Board for the ‘London Children’s Museum’ - establishing a new museum, to be opened in 2016.

Areas of interest include:

  • Children’s playful production of time/space
  • Play and policy interventions
  • Children’s right to play
  • Children’s relationship with nature
  • Play and learning

Consultancy Work

  • Contribution to Play England research reviews ‘Play, Naturally’ and Play for a Change
  • Contribution to IPA ‘Children’s Right to Play’
  • Evaluation of S. Gloucestershire’s Outdoor Play and learning programme – see below for details

Conference Presentations

Lester, S. (2013) De-naturalising nature: life beyond the natural playground Presentation at Philosophy of Play Conference, University of Gloucestershire, April.

Lester, S. (2013) Beyond a right to play’ The everyday ways in which life becomes momentarily better. Keynote presentation, Isle of Man Play Conference

Lester, S. (2013) Bringing play to life and life to play. Keynote presentation, Play Scotland Conference.

Lester, S. (2013) Bringing play to life: disturbing moves and lines of enquiry. Foundations for responding to General Comment 17. Playboard Conference, Northern Ireland.

Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2013) Leopard Skin Wellies, a Top Hat and a Vacuum Cleaner Hose. Keynote presentation at Play Wales Conference, Cardiff, May.

Lester, S. (2012) Perspectives on playing: Putting the brain back into the body and the World. Seminar Paper, Playwork London and Hackney Play Association.

Lester, S. (2012) Rethinking children’s participation in democratic processes: a right to play. Keynote presentation, Play Wales Conference, Cardiff.

Lester, S. (2012) What if…? Workshop, Play Wales Conference, Cardiff

Lester, S. (2012) Vibrant spaces: Reconfiguring adults ‘providing play’. Paper presentation at ICCP Conference, Tallinn, June. Available on line at: http://www.iccp-play.org/documents/tallinn/lester.pdf

Lester, S. (2012) Play and participation: a new approach to understanding children’s
spatial activity
. Paper presentation, Child in the City Conference, Zagreb.

July 2011 - OPAL: Creating the cultural and environmental conditions for play in primary schools and its impact. Member of symposium team, IPA Conference, Cardiff.

July 2011 - Playing across the Articles: How play relates to the whole UYN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Keynote presentation (with Wendy Russell) IPA Conference, Cardiff.

April 2011 - Cultivating the Conditions to Support Play – NW Consultation event, Trafford Hall, Cheshire.

March 2011 - Advocating for play or playwork? Presentation at National Playwork Conference, Eastbourne.

Lester, S. (2011) Play as Protest: clandestine moments of disturbance and hope. Paper presented at Colin Ward Conference, University of Cambridge.

Lester, S. (2011) Playing in a Big Soc. Paper presented at University of Gloucestershire Playwork Professional Development event.

Lester, S. (2011) Playing in a Deleuzian Playground. Paper for ‘Philosophy at Play’ Conference, University of Gloucestershire, 12/13th April.

Lester, S. (2011) The production of play time/space in schools: working out ways
of being together
. Paper for launch of Play & Recreation Research Centre, University of Greenwich, May 12th

Lester, S. (2011) Moments of nonsense and signs of hope: the everyday ‘political’ nature of children’s play. Paper presentation at IPA conference, Cardiff, July. Available online at: http://www.ipa2011.org/login/uploaded/tuesday%20papers/Stuart%20Lester.pdf

Lester, S. (2010) Play and ordinary magic: the everydayness of play. Paper presented at Playwork London Conference, June 2010. Available online at: http://www.playworklondon.org.uk/upload/files/Playandordinarymagic3.pdf

Lester, S (2010) Utopian Visions. Paper presented at University of Gloucestershire Playwork Professional Development event.

September 2010 - Beauty of Play workshop. The everydayness of play

Lester, S (2009) Children’s play: a different time/space. Paper presented at London Centre for Playwork Education and Training Seminar, Islington, October 2009.

Lester, S. (2007) Risky Play, Risky Playwork. Paper for Spirit of Play Conference. Available online at:

Lester, S (2007) Evidence-based policy and practice. Paper presented at PlayEd Conference, Wolverhampton

Lester, S (2005) On being a Playworker. Paper presented at PlayEd conference, Ely, Cambs.

Recent Publications

Lester, S. (2014) Play as protest: clandestine moments of disturbance and hope. In C. Burke and K. Jones (eds) Education, Childhood and Anarchism. Talking Colin Ward. London: Routledge.

Lester, S., Strachan, A. and Derry, C. (2014) A more playful museum: Exploring issues of institutional space, children's play and well-being. International Journal of Play. (in press).

Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2014) Children’s Right to Play. In E. Brooker, M Blaise and S Edwards (eds) The Sage Handbook of Play and Learning in Early Childhood. London: Sage (in press).

Lester, S. (2013) Rethinking children’s participation in democratic processes: a right to play. Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Vol. 16: 21-43.

Lester, S. (2013) Playing in a Deleuzian Playground. In E. Ryall, W. Russell and M. Maclean (eds.) Philosophy of Play. London: Routledge.

Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2013) Utopian Visions of Childhood and Play. In A. Parker and D. Vinson (eds.) Youth Sport, Physical Activity and Play: Policy, intervention and participation. London: Routledge.

Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2013) Leopard Skin Wellies, a Top Hat and a Vacuum Cleaner Hose: An analysis of Wales’ Play Sufficiency Assessment duty. Report summary available online at: http://www.playwales.org.uk/eng/research

Lester, S. (2012) ‘We are just playing’. Shopping Hour, Issue 8: 16-21.

Lester, S. (2012) Supporting Children’s Right to Play. In L. Brooker and M. Woodhead (eds.) Environments fit for Children. Early Childhood in Focus 8. Milton Keynes: Open University.

Lester, S. (2011) The pedagogy of play, space and learning. In A. Pihlgren (ed) Fritidspedagogik. Lund: Sutdentlitteratur.

Lester, S. (2011) The production of play time/space in schools: working out ways of being together. Paper for launch of Play and Recreation Research Centre, University of Greenwich, May 12th.

Lester, S., Jones, O. and Russell, W. (2011) Supporting school improvement through play: An evaluation of South Gloucestershire’s Outdoor Play and Learning Programme (OPAL). Available online at:
http://www.playengland.org.uk/media/340836/supporting-school-improvement-through-play.pdf

Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2010) The Importance of Children's Play: An examination of the concept of play within article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Working Paper No. 57. The Hague, The Netherlands: Bernard van Leer Foundation. Available online at: http://www.bernardvanleer.org/Childrens-right-to-play-An-examination-of-the-importance-of-play-in-the-lives-of-children-worldwide.

Lester, S. (2010) Continuous professional development (CPD) and reflective practice in playwork. IpDip, March 2010.

Lester, S. (2010) Play and ordinary magic: the everydayness of play. Paper presented at Playwork London Conference, June 2010.

Lester, S. (2010) The pedagogy of play, space and learning. In A Pihlgren (ed) Fritidspedagogik. Lund: Studentlitteratur.

Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2010) ‘Children’s Right to Play: An examination of the importance of play in the lives of children worldwide’. Available online at: http://www.bernardvanleer.org/Childrens-right-to-play-An-examination-of-the-importance-of-play-in-the-lives-of-children-worldwide.

Lester, S (2009) Recasting the play landscape. London Play news, pp 14-15, Spring Edition, 2009

Lester, S (2009) Play as Progress. In R Carlyle (ed) Encyclopedia of Play in Today’s Society. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Lester, S and Russell, W (2008) Play for a Change: Play, Policy and Practice: A review of contemporary perspectives. London: NCB. Available online at: http://www.playengland.org.uk/resources/play-for-a-change---play,-policy-and-practice-a-review-of-contemporary-perspectives

Lester, S. and Russell, W.. (2008) Playing with Uncertainty. London Play News, 10th Anniversary edition.

Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2008) ‘Tell your mum I saved your life’: The relationship between children’s play, uncertainty and risk. Playrights, Sept edition, pp4-8, IPA.

Lester, S (2008) Play and the play stage. In Brown, F and Taylor, C (eds) Foundations of Playwork. Buckingham: Open University Press

Lester, S. (2007) Playwork Education and Training: A provocation. Seminar paper, London Centre for Playwork Education and Training. Available online at: http://www.playworklondon.org.uk/index.php?page=53&event=14

Lester, S (2007) Sustainable Development and Outdoor Play. In Roberts, C and Roberts, J (eds) Greener by Degrees: Exploring Sustainability through Higher Education Curricula. Gloucester: University of Gloucestershire

Lester, S. (2007) Telling Tales. In Russell, W, Handscomb, B and Fitzpatrick, J (eds) Playwork Voices. London: London Centre for Playwork Education and Training

Lester, S. and Maudsley, M. (2007) Play, Naturally. London: National Children’s Bureau. Available online at: http://www.playengland.org.uk/resources/play,-naturally-a-review-of-children's-natural-play

Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2004) Training Playwork Trainers. Newcastle: JNCTP\NE Centre for Playwork Education and Training

Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2004) Towards a curriculum for advanced playwork practice. Study paper, JNCTP

Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2002) Play for Real – Manchester: Manchester City Council (unpublished). 

University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.