Chris Martin

Postgraduate Researcher

Contact Details


I started my PhD on a part time basis in 2014, researching children and young people’s interactions with mobile digital technology in their outdoor play, which builds on work started during my MA in Play and Playwork at the University of Gloucestershire. In addition to research I work as a playworker on an adventure playground and as a youth worker.

I am a Postgraduate Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) and a member of the RGS/IBG Geographies of Children, Youth and Families Research Group; on the board of the International Play Association for England, Wales and Northern Ireland; and website officer for the Postgraduate Forum of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).

Research Interests

My research interests are in cultural geography, centred on children’s play and playwork. I am particularly interested in looking at concepts such as new materialism, non-representational theory, and posthumanism, and what they may offer our understanding of play. I am also interested in the impact of austerity measures in the UK on playwork.

My project

My project looks at how combinations of environment and mobile technology assemble to afford playful moments in older children’s lives, and considers how these ‘matter’. I am particularly interested in de-centring the playing child and reconstructing them in a complex assemblage to present an alternative perspective to biosocial dualisms, thus offering the qualities of non-human actants up to increased scrutiny.

My fieldwork started in the summer of 2016, and is based in a large adventure playground in southwest England. As well as carrying out participant observation and focus groups, I will be experimenting with app development and design. Periodic updates will be posted on my blog here.

Social media

My blog ‘Playing affordances’


Dr Katy Bennett, EMail:
Professor Peter Kraftl (University of Birmingham), Email:
Dr Margaret Byron, Email:


  • Martin, C. (2017). Children, Mobile Phones and Outdoor Play. In W. Russell, H. Smith, & S. Lester (Eds.), Practice-based Research in Children's Play. Bristol: Policy Press.
  • McKendrick, J. H., & Martin, C. (2015). Playwork practitioners’ perceptions of the impact on play of austerity in the UK: comparing experiences in Scotland and SW England. International Journal of Play, 4(3), 252-265. doi:10.1080/21594937.2015.1106046
  • Martin, C. (2014). Playwork cuts: the effects of austerity on playwork practitioners, playgrounds, and play services. Journal of Playwork Practice, 1(1), 74-81.


  • 'Children’s use of mobile digital technologies during play: Everyday agency, assemblages and affordances', conference paper delivered at the Triennial International Play Association in Calgary, September 2017
  • 'Children and mobile digital technology in outdoor play: Everyday agency, assemblages and affordances', conference paper delivered at 'Play and Playwork: Research and Practice', Leeds Beckett University, July 2017
  • ‘Collective agency and everyday affordances: assembling children and young people's play’, conference paper delivered at the Royal Geographical Society with IBG International Conference, London, August 2016
  • ‘Agency, assemblages and affordances: children and mobile phones in outdoor play’, conference paper delivered at the Royal Geographical Society with IBG International Conference (London, August 2014) and International Play Association Conference (Istanbul, May 2014)
  • ‘Children’s use of mobile phones on adventure playgrounds’, dissertation presentation, University of Gloucestershire CPD seminar, 2014
  • Presentation on the impact of cuts on playwork services, University of Leicester ‘Play in Times of Austerity’ Conference, 2013
  • ‘Virtue ethics for those working to support children’s play’ paper presented at the Philosophy at Play Conference, University of Gloucestershire, 2013

Share this page:

Contact Details

School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Bennett Building
University Road
University of Leicester

T: 0116 252 3933

Maps and directions


DisabledGo logo

The University of Leicester is committed to equal access to our facilities. DisabledGo has a detailed accessibility guide for the Bennett Building.