Research – ESR 1

Expanding conceptualisations of inclusive play to incorporate the play characteristics of children with diverse play experiences at risk of play deprivation


  • To identify the characteristics of play of children with diverse play abilities at risk of play deprivation;
  • To explore the barriers and enablers of inclusive play of children at risk of play deprivation;
  • To raise awareness of the diversity of play characteristics and the barriers and enablers of inclusive play and the need for related policies and interventions.

PhD award:

Joint degree at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (QMU) and University College Cork (UCC)

Background rationale:

The importance of play in the life of children is widely recognised, however, many children do not have the same freedom or capacity to access play opportunities on an equal basis to other children, due to cultural, social, or physical barriers (i.e. associated with people, place, policy, and practice). It is understood that play emerges as a process within complex interrelationships of children, their parents/carers, other family members, neighbours and teachers (amongst others), with the specific socio-spatial context. These processes lead to diverse play abilities. It is particularly important that understandings of these diverse play abilities are developed (for example, the play of children living in socio-economically deprived areas), understandings that include the voices of these children regarding their own play. Critical perspectives enable exploration of the factors influencing the marginalisation of children with diverse play abilities at risk of play deprivation.

Expected results:

  • Child-centred approaches will result in the development of new knowledge in relation to the play styles and practices of these children, as emergent within the socio-spatial setting.
  • An ‘inclusive play’ perspective will be produced, informed by the nature of play identified (including what is play, who is included, how, under what circumstances; enablers and barriers; adult engagement).
  • Implications for play provision will be extrapolated to inform good practice in socio-spatial inclusion.
Dr Sarah Kantartzis

Supervisor at Queen Margaret University for ESR 1 and ESR 2

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Prof Jeanne Jackson

P4PLAY Coordinator and Supervisor at University College Cork for ESR 1 and ESR 2

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PHD Student:
Silvia Veiga-Seijo

PhD Candidate - ESR 1

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Theresa Casey

Advisor for ESR 1

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