Associate Professor Cathy Hope is Engagement and Impact Director in the Faculty of Arts and Design, and Coordinator of the Play, Creativity and Wellbeing Project in the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research at the University of Canberra. This applied research project critically examines the role and capability of play in cultural practice across the lifespan and is currently investigating the potential of play in enlivening cities, growing communities and enhancing wellbeing.
Cathy has facilitated hundreds of local collaborative and innovative real world cross-sector projects and produced multiple government and industry reports that aim to improve people and place outcomes and wellbeing in the ACT. In 2019 Cathy led the national award-winning Haig Park Experiments with a cross-sector consortium, which piloted 26 creative ‘experiments’ to transform the once unsafe and unused Canberra green space into a loved community hub. Cathy also founded Play Activation Network ACT – an interdisciplinary and collaborative collective of over 80 local professionals dedicated to making Canberra a more playful and playable city. In 2021 Cathy won the UC Citizen of the Year Award for her significant contributions to Canberra.
Cathy has written extensively on alternative cultures in their initial experimental phases – including film festivals, farmers’ markets and Australian youth radio station Triple J. Cathy programmed films for the early Canberra International Film Festivals, and co-directed the Canberra Short Film Festival. She has worked in a freelance capacity for the Australian media, including film and travel reviewer for The Canberra Review, chief editor of a Melbourne city guide and other publications including Rolling Stone magazine.
Play - as a cultural mechanism, as a strategy for enhancing well being, and as an enabler of engagement, creative practice, and disruption – is at the core of Cathy's freelance writing, research, engagement and teaching pursuits and practice.
Cathy thinks herself lucky.