Staff Profiles: Dr. Stuart Lester

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Staff Profile: Dr. Stuart Lester
Senior Lecturer in Playwork

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Dr. Stuart Lester

Senior Lecturer in Playwork

After many years working on adventure playgrounds and community play projects in the North West of England, I am now senior lecturer in play studies at the University of Gloucestershire.


I have been very fortunate to have got away with spending my life playing, mostly on adventure playgrounds and local community projects before becoming senior lecturer on the play and playwork programmes at the University of Gloucestershire. Thankfully, this role still enables me to be carry on playing!


Award Title Institution Date
BA (Hons) Social Studies University of Liverpool 1973
Cert.Ed. Certificate of Education University of Manchester 1999
PhD Bringing play to life and life to play: different lines of enquiry University of Gloucestershire 2016


Stuart received the ‘inspiring lecturer’ award in the 2014 student-led University Awards and was shortlisted for ‘most-engaging module’, ‘best academic feedback’ and ‘most innovative or creative teaching style’ in 2016 awards.

Teaching and research


Stuart has expertise in designing and implementing range of approaches and media to support learning (including Adobe connect, Skype, podcasts, Moodle, and campus-based study days).


Undergraduate, Postgraduate


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. This has led to a number of specific research projects with adventure playgrounds, schools, museums and playwork settings alongside more general research into children’s right to play and play policy at local and national level.


More publications from Dr. Stuart Lester can be found in the Research Repository.

External responsibilities

Subjects for media interviews

All things to do with children’s play

We kindly ask that media contacts wishing to speak to this member of staff do so through the University press office:

Professional positions

Stuart works collaboratively with a range of play organisations at local, regional and national level.

Trustee – North West Play Network

Member of Natural England Strategic Research Group – Learning in Natural Environments (LINE)

Advisory Board member – Institute of Imagination.