Personal profile


Dr Cathy Hope is an Associate Professor, Engagement and Impact Director; the Coordinator of the Play, Creativity and Wellbeing Project; and the Founder/Coordinator of Play Activation Network ACT in the Faculty of Arts and Design.

Coordinator - Play, Creativity and Wellbeing Project

The Play, Creativity and Wellbeing Project (PCWP) is an award-winning, multi-million-dollar research project dedicated to improving people and place outcomes in Canberra. We mobilise our local creative sector in partnership with ACT government, industry and community to create playful environments and events that contribute to vibrancy and enhance wellbeing.

Our research informs policy and investment in:

  • Play spaces
  • Green spaces
  • Urban spaces
  • Activations, events and festivals
  • Community hubs
  • City planning

Our projects give voices to Canberra’s community, generate activities that foster participation, and provide places where people can gather and play. 

Our world-leading Play Symposium brings together a mix of academics and practitioners in design, placemaking, digital innovation, and arts for cultural transformation to innovate our thinking about our places and our communities, and to create new networks and novel collaborations.

The objectives of the Play, Creativity and Wellbeing Project are:

  • To make Canberra a better place by contributing to the development and proliferation of playful environments across the lifespan;
  • To investigate sites of play as a form of cultural practice and examine the impact of play on players and their environments;
  • To identify and explore the conditions of play that elicit creative and collaborative engagement;
  • To test creative methodologies and develop interdisciplinary and cross-sector experiments that innovate thinking and practice about people and place in the ACT
  • To explore the relationship between play and wellbeing through, and apply and disseminate knowledge in real-world contexts about play as a mechanism for wellbeing

Founder and Coordinator, Play Activation Network ACT

The Play Activation Network ACT is an informal collective of people from diverse sectors –including creative, cultural, educational, health and environmental – who experiment with the generative capacity of play to enhance engagement and wellbeing.

  The Play Activation Network aims to:

  • Enable and support play in its many forms; 
  • Promote engagement in play across the lifespan for citizens of the ACT and regions;
  • Increase knowledge of the role of play as a form of cultural and environmental practice;
  • Foster a culture of positive collaboration, exchange, partnerships and cross-disciplinary practice.

To achieve these aims, the Network engages in:

  • Activation
  • Advocacy
  • Collaboration
  • Promotion
  • Research

The Play Activation Network ACT is facilitated by the Play, Creativity and Wellbeing Project in the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research at the University of Canberra.

Coordinator - Play, Creativity and Wellbeing Symposium: Play for a Vital and Sustainable City

The Play in the City Symposium is an annual Symposium that explores the potential of play in cities.
Over two days we present an exciting national line up of speakers whose pioneering work in urban design, place-making, creativity, the arts and wellbeing will inspire you to think differently about the many possibilities for enlivening and enriching urban environments.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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