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Professor Fraser Brown


About Professor Fraser Brown

Fraser Brown is the first Professor of Playwork in the World. His key interests include Playwork and the therapeutic value of play in children's wellbeing. He has built a substantial research and practical knowledge of play and playwork and the value of these factors in children's development.

For ten years he was Director of the playwork training agency Children First, and previously held advisory posts with Playboard and the National Playing Fields Association. He spent three years as a playworker on an adventure playground in Runcorn, and managed a range of projects for the North West Play Association. For two years he was District Leisure Officer in Middlesbrough.

He has spoken throughout the UK and around the world about his research into the effects of therapeutic playwork on a group of abandoned children in Romania. He is the Chair and Co-Founder of the Aid for Romanian Children charitable trust, and a member of the International Advisory Board of the Romanian Association of Play Therapy and Drama Therapy.

Current Teaching

Professor Brown is Link Tutor for all the postgraduate play therapy courses run in collaboration with the Academy of Play and Child Psychotherapy. He is Academic Advisor to the BA (Hons) Playwork degree, and leads the Therapeutic Playwork module. He also supervises a number of PhD students, and invites applications from postgraduate students interested in researching the role of play in children's lives, and especially the fields of playwork and play therapy.

Research Interests

Play is absolutely essential to positive development and has implications right into adulthood. Although Professor Brown's focus has been predominantly on the playwork profession, his work will also be of interest to all those working in early years, childhood, children's health and wellbeing and children's social care.

Professor Brown's research is wide-ranging. Recent examples include:

  1. The role of stories and humour in children's lives
  2. The Benefits of Therapeutic Playwork - focused on the work of a Therapeutic Playwork Project, working with abandoned children in a paediatric hospital in Romania
  3. The Impact of Chronic Deprivation on Children's Play Behaviour - focusing on a group of Roma children from a village in Transylvania
  4. The Role of Play in the Montessori System of Education - how does play relate to teaching and learning in a Montessori nursery? - particularly the role of observation
  5. Reasons for the longevity of a specific adventure playground - a case study of The Venture in Wrexham
  6. The 'Snug' Schools Research Project - an evaluation of the impact of introducing a new range of equipment into the playgrounds of two primary schools, and a further study of the impact at the Eureka Children's Museum

Selected Publications

Journal articles (11)

  • Brown FC (2015), Book Review: Jack Lambert and Jenny Pearson. Adventure Playgrounds. International Journal of Play(Special Issue)
  • Brown FC; Wragg M (2015), Play and Playwork: Notes and Reflections in a Time of Austerity. International Journal of Play, Special Issue. Vol.4:3, December 2015.
  • Brown FC (2014), The Healing Power of Play: therapeutic work with chronically neglected and abused children.. Children(Special Issue: The Role of Play in children's Health and Development)
    https://doi.org/10.3390/children1030474
    View Repository Record
  • Brown FC (2013), Joy and Trauma in Romania. The Prompt
  • Brown F (2012), Healthy Attachments and Neuro‐Dramatic Play By Jennings SueLondon: Jessica Kingsley, 2011 ISBN 9781849050142, 272 pp, £18.99 (pb). Children & Society
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1099-0860.2012.00451.x
  • Brown FC (2012), The Play Behaviours of Roma Children in Transylvania. International Journal of Play
    View Repository Record
  • Brown FC (2012), From the Streets of Wellington to the Ivy League: Reflecting on a Lifetime of Play - an interview with Brian Sutton-Smith. International Journal of Play. Vol.1 Abingdon: Taylor Francis.
  • Brown FC (2012), Playwork, Play Deprivation and Play.. American Journal of Play, vol. 43
  • Brown FC (2011), Playwork: a Profession Challenging Societal Factors Devaluing Childrens Play. Journal of Student Wellbeing. Vol.5:1.
  • Brown FC (2006), Walking on the Edge - Playwork in romania. Play rights Issue 1/06. London: IPA.
  • Brown FC (2005), Children without Play. Journal of Education, no 35, March (2005) special issue: Early childhood Research in Developing Contexts.
    View Repository Record

Books (8)

  • Brown FC; Hughes B ed. (2018) Aspects of Playwork. Play and Culture Studies 14. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.
  • Brown F (2014) Play And Playwork: 101 Stories Of Children Playing. . McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
  • Brown F; Patte M (2013) Rethinking Children's Play. New Childhoods . Continuum.
  • Brown F; Taylor C (2008) Foundations Of Playwork. . Open University Press.
  • Brown F (2007) The Venture: A Case Study of an Adventure Playground. . Play Wales.
  • Brown F (2002) Playwork, Theory and Practice. . Open Univ Pr.
  • Brown FC (1990) School Playgrounds. . London: NPFA.
  • Brown FC (1989) Working with Children: A Playwork Training Pack. . Leeds: RMTP.

Chapters (19)

  • Brown F; Long AM; Wragg M (2018) Playwork: A Unique way of working with children. In: Brown F; Long AM; Wragg M The Cambridge Handbook of Play: Developmental and Disciplinary Perspectives. : Cambridge University Press, pp. .
    View Repository Record
  • Brown FC; Beresin A; Patte M (2018) Brian Sutton-Smith's Views on Play. In: Brown FC; Beresin A; Patte M The Cambridge Handbook of Play: Developmental and Disciplinary Perspectives.. : Cambridge University Press, pp. .
    View Repository Record
  • Brown FC; Greenfields M (2018) Roma Children: Access to Early Years Provision. In: Brown FC; Greenfields M Handbook of International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education. : , pp. .
    View Repository Record
  • Brown FC (2018) Therapeutic Playwork: Theory and Practice. In: Brown FC Aspects of Playwork. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, pp. .
    View Repository Record
  • Brown FC; Clark C; Patte M (2017) Therapeutic work with children in diverse settings. In: Brown FC; Clark C; Patte M Handbook of Medical Play Therapy and Child Life: Interventions in Clinical and Medical Settings. : , pp. .
    View Repository Record
  • Brown FC (2016) The Healing Power of Play: therapeutic work with chronically neglected and abused children. In: Brown FC The Role of Play in Children's Health and Development.. : MDPI AG, pp. .
  • Brown FC (2015) The Principles of Playwork. In: Brown FC The Handbook of the Study of Play. : Rowman & Littlefield, pp. .
    View Repository Record
  • Brown FC (2012) Children Without Play. In: Brown FC Complex Trauma and Its Effects: Perspectives on creating an environment for recovery. : Pavilion Publishing and Media, pp. .
  • BROWN F; PATTE M (2010) Playwork: A Profession Challenging Societal Factors Devaluing Children's Play.. In: BROWN F; PATTE M Play and Culture Studies, Special Edition, Play: A Polyphony of Research, Theories and Issues. America: University Press of America, pp. .
  • BROWN F (2009) Play Therapy. In: BROWN F Encyclopedia of Play in Today's Society. London: Sage Publications, pp. .
  • Brown FC (2009) Playwork. In: Brown FC Encyclopedia of Play in Today's Society. : , pp. .
  • Brown FC (2009) The Idealization of Play. In: Brown FC Encyclopedia of Play in Today's Society. : , pp. .
  • Brown FC (2009) Play Cues. In: Brown FC Encyclopedia of Play in Todays Society. : , pp. .
  • Brown FC (2008) The fundamentals of playwork. In: Brown FC Foundations of Playwork. : Open University Press, pp. .
  • Brown FC (2008) The Playwork Principles: A Critique. In: Brown FC Foundations of Playwork. : , pp. .
  • Brown FC (2007) Services to Childrens Play. In: Brown FC Childhood: Services and Provision for Children. : Longman, pp. .
  • Brown FC; Cheesman B (2003) Introduction - Childhood and Play. In: Brown FC; Cheesman B Playwork - Theory and Practice. : Open University Press, pp. .
  • Brown FC (2003) Compound Flexibility: the role of playwork in child development. In: Brown FC Playwork - Theory and Practice. : Open University Press, pp. .
  • Brown FC; Webb S (2003) Playwork in adversity: working with abandoned children in Romania. In: Brown FC; Webb S Playwork - Theory and Practice. : Open University Press, pp. .

Internet publications (1)

  • Brown FC (2013), Play deprivation: impact, consequences and the potential of playwork.. Play Wales Online

Lectures (1)

  • Brown F (2013), "Stories of Children Playing: What do they tell us about the significance of play and playwork?" Inaugural Lecture. Leeds Metropolitan University. 27th June 2013.
    View Repository Record
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