Sustainability of playground: Invitation

A new research project supported by Western University’s pilot program Thinking Globally, Acting Locally is seeking undergraduate students, artists, environmental and accessibility professionals to join as co-researchers.

Playing for Keeps is an interdisciplinary research project that investigates sustainability potential of playgrounds. While much has been written about the vital role play and playgrounds hold in children’s lives, little has been said about playgrounds’ broader effects for sustainability. Thus, the project asks: How can playgrounds contribute to well-being of people, function as sustainable, resilient, safe and inclusive environments, and contribute to local-level climate solutions? And, more importantly (and pedagogically-significant): What are we sustaining when we are considering sustainability of playgrounds? 

This project welcomes co-researchers who have demonstrated a commitment to upholding the values of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Furthermore, as we work to correct the conditions of disadvantage in academia, we encourage participation from members of groups that have been disadvantaged and marginalized, including women, members of racialized groups, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, persons of any religious/spiritual background, and persons of any sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. 

Co-researchers will be asked to: 

March 2023 

1. Carefully consider feminist commitment to collective, experimental, equitable, and critical work.  
2. Read and consider an article that centers the project’s approach to sustainability. 
3. Participate in a minimum of one hour-long Zoom session to meet other team members and discuss the reading. 

March-April 2023 

Participate in a 3-hour long intensive that will take place outside at a playground space at a childcare centre. The intensive will involve collaboration and discussions with other students, educators, pedagogists, artists, and environmental & accessibility professionals.  

The intensive will take place in-person at a London/London area childcare centre. Exact date and time will be determined after team compositions are established. Co-researchers need to be available to physically participate in this vital part of the research (if you live outside of London, please let us know so we can try to find transportation solutions).  

AprilMay 2023 

Working with data collected during the intensive, create a contribution to project Catalogue. The contribution can take any form provided, it can be documented to be shared digitally and in print form.  

The final Catalogue will be curated by core team members. Co-researchers’ work will thus be peer-reviewed and may require editing by co-researchers based on feedback received.  Note: your name will appear as a contributor to your piece.  

June 2023 (optional)

Co-researchers may wish to participate in other meetings and present at a Western research symposium in June 2023.  

Participating undergraduate student co-researchers and artists are offered a $500 honorarium for their work on the project. Participating professionals are offered a $400 honorarium.  

To indicate your interest in participating in this work or learning more about the project, please email Tatiana Zakharova-Goodman ( with the following information:  
  • Your name and role (eg: department, year of study, portfolio, professional affiliation) 
  • Confirmation that you are able to participate in both virtual and in-person research activities in London/London area, as indicated above, and to contribute to the Catalogue  
  • What you will bring to the research team

Thank you for your interest and attention! 

 Playing for Keeps core (re)search team 
Tatiana Zakharova-Goodman, Cynthia Lê and Eva Deligiannis 
with support from Dr. Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, PI, Faculty of Education

This project supported by Western University’s pilot program Thinking Globally, Acting Locally