Published July 7, 2021 | Version v1
Poster Open

P4PLAY: RESEARCHING PEOPLE, PLACE, POLICY and PRACTICE for PLAY from the LENS of OCCUPATIONAL SCIENCE: Innovative evidence informed solutions in school and community contexts

  • 1. Zurich University of Applied Science, Department Health, Institute of Occupational Therapy
  • 2. Luleå University Of Technology
  • 3. University College Cork, Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy
  • 4. Queen Margret University Edinburgh Scotland, Division of Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies


In this poster session two research projects of P4Play in the area of practice are described. 

Introduction: The P4Play Marie Sklodowska-Curie (MSC) Training Network is an innovative European Joint Doctorate (EJD) programme in Occupational Science for Occupational Therapists. This EJD was established in 2020 when 2.2 m was awarded to a consortium of researchers and play advocates, in the highly competitive Horizon2020 scheme. P4play is a collaboration between 4 academic universities in Ireland, Sweden, Scotland, and Switzerland, and 15 partner organisations in Europe and the USA. The P4play programme adopts a child's rights-based perspective and aims to investigate the nature of play through the lens of People, Place, Policy and Practice (P4Play).  

Background: After extensive scientific research, scholarly exploration, and discourse on play, a refocus on play as a right requires further study as a central concern (or occupation) in children's lives. Occupational Science, a science dedicated to the study of humans as doers or as occupational beings, offers a unique lens to explore play as an occupation. From this perspective, the P4Play proposal was developed and submitted for funding to the MSC programme, in 2019 and was successful on first submission. P4play intends to amplify children's voices and explore the intersectionality of diverse childhood experiences of play, within families, communities, and cultures, drawing from pragmatism, complexity theories, childhood studies and anthropology among others.  

Methods: The P4Play research programme has employed 8 early-stage researchers dedicated to exploring the complex and situated nature of play, e.g., social-spatial inclusion, play deprivation, and policy. and the development of solutions to address barriers to play provision in diverse community settings. Eight PhD research projects are being designed and implemented to examine play from diverse perspectives and contexts, including roma/traveller communities, families of children with disabilities, seldom-heard children and communities of socioeconomic disadvantage. A unique aspect of this programme is the inclusion of 15 international partners with interests in the field of play. These partners are engaged in play advocacy, innovations, education, playground provision, grassroots support for play in communities, government policy, and science. Through the collaboration with these partners, the programme aligns with current play advocacy and policy initiatives, which strengthens the capacity to translate research outcomes to actionable steps. This research responds to the societal challenge of ensuring health, well-being and equality for children (UN Sustainable Goals 3 & 10). Expected outcomes aim to benefit children, families, and communities 

Outcomes:  It is hoped that this research program will have a transdisciplinary impact beyond occupational therapy and occupational science. It aims to facilitate conversations in other areas of academics, inform educators, empower communities, and encourage policymakers to reduce or remove barriers to play for diverse communities, children, and families.  




Additional details


P4PLAY – People, Place, Policy and Practice for Play 861257
European Commission