Our experts Centre for the Study of Play and Recreation

Our highly experienced staff have academic expertise in various subject areas.

Dr Mary Clare Martin is a social historian specialising in the history of childhood. She is principal lecturer and programme leader of the BA Hons Childhood Studies degree. She founded the Centre with Dr Keith Cranwell in 2011, and is particularly interested in researching the history of children's play experiences. These connect with her other research interests in children's illness and religion, adolescence, and the Girl Guides.

Dr Ewa Sidorenko is a senior lecturer in the Department of Education & Community Studies at the University of Greenwich. Her interests include sociology of childhood, participatory research with children, ethnography, identity, education, post-modernity, evolutionary theory, post-communist Poland, nationalism, Nazi concentration and labour camps. Together with Marianna Papadopoulou, she has carried out participatory research with children which was followed by a conference presentation and a youth event (London Youth Speaks) involving child participants.

Dr John A. Smith is principal lecturer and programme leader for education studies at the University of Greenwich. His interests include the relationships between biology, psychology and sociology and their ecological interactions. He has published extensively in this field.

Dr Maria Papapolydorou is a senior lecturer in education and childhood studies. She works in the area of social identities and inequalities in educational contexts. In particular, her research looks at the way social class and ethnic background inform the identities and social networks of young people. Her work draws on Bourdieuian elaborations of social capital to make sense of the way adolescent students form inter- and intra-group contacts.

Hilary Orpin is a senior lecturer in youth & community studies, lecturing to undergraduates on the youth and community work degree. She is a professionally qualified youth worker and has been involved in many projects with disaffected young people. A particular focus is on the memories of the value of youth clubs.

Marianna Papadopoulou is a senior lecturer in education and childhood studies and is also a psychologist, particularly interested in children's rights, and participatory research.

Clare Choak is a senior lecturer in youth and community studies. Her research is underpinned by studies of youth offending and street gangs. She is particularly interested in the role of females in street gangs which builds on her longstanding research area of working class young women. She is also an evaluator, assessing the usefulness of youth crime interventions. Ciara Doyle is a senior lecturer in youth & community studies as a sociologist researching parenting and the media.

Rania Hafez is a senior lecturer in education studies and is interested in Islam and education, combating extremist views, inclusion and exclusion of play objects and activities by different religions.

Dr Hatice Choli is a senior lecturer in education & community studies, interested in digital inclusion and toys old and new.

Dr Alan Powers studied History of Art at Cambridge, with a specialism in the history of architecture. He writes, curates and lectures about 20th century British art, architecture and design, and was professor of architecture & cultural history at the University of Greenwich until 2012. His interest in toys links with his wider interest in design, and a long standing connection with Pollock's Toy Museum. Since 1999, he has been the chairman of Pollock's Toy Museum Trust, a charity that promotes the study of toys and play and has recently begun to work with the Centre for the Study of Play & Recreation.

Grant Lambie (external member), is the founder of the organisation Free Play, and has been a regular supporter of the Centre. He will be touring the USA in the New Year, giving talks on playgrounds.

Associate Fellows

  • Suzanne Conway, Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia
  • Professor Gary Cross, Pennsylvania State University
  • Dr Anna Davin, University of London
  • Professor Ning de Coninck Smith, University of Aarhus, Denmark
  • Professor Alison James, University of Sheffield
  • Dr Roy Kozlovsky, Northeastern University USA
  • Professor Grete Lillehammer, University of Stavanger, Norway
  • Dr Heather Montgomery, Open University
  • Dr Angeliki Petropoulou, Hellenic Open University
  • Dr David Pomfret, University of Hong Kong
  • Jill Shefrin, Independent scholar/University of Toronto
  • Dr Erica Simmons, University of Toronto
  • Dr Simon Sleight, Monash, Australia/King's College London
  • Dr Tamar Zinguer, Cooper Union School of Architecture, New York
  • Professor Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, University of Illinois, Chicago.

Centre for the Study of Play and Recreation is part of the Faculty of Education & Health, University of Greenwich.