Staff Profiles

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Dr Wendy Russell, Senior Lecturer in Play and Playwork

Wendy Russell has worked in the playwork sector in the UK for over 35 years, first as a playworker on adventure playgrounds in London, then in a number of roles including development work, research, and education and training. Her consultancy work has included training, development, strategic, evaluation and research projects for local authorities, the private sector and local, national and international voluntary organisations. Her research interests include children’s play, playwork, the politics of space, social policy and ethics. She is a member of Editorial Board for International Journal of Play.  See more…..

Contact Wendy at:
Twitter: @wkrussell




Hilary Smith, Course Leader and Senior Lecturer in Play and Playwork

Hilary has worked in the playwork sector for over 20 years. Her career began on an open access adventure playground in Cardiff where her passion for children’s play began. This passion took her back to Cheltenham where as Play Officer for the District Council she managed a mobile Playbus and ten holiday playschemes.

More recently Hilary’s work has focused on the development of accessible training and qualifications that meet the needs of playworkers within the sector. This has been from induction level through to undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Her current areas of research interest focus on play and its relationship with childhood wellbeing and physical literacy. See more…

Contact Hilary at:



Dr Stuart Lester, Senior Lecturer in Play and Playwork

Stuart worked for over 25 years as a playwork practitioner, trainer and advisor. His particular expertise and research interest were in the areas of children’s playful production of time and space; play and policy interventions; children’s right to play; children’s relationship with nature; play and learning and the everyday nature of play. Sadly Stuart passed away in May 2017 but his research and work still underpin the taught and research programmes at the University of Gloucestershire. See more…


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