Luke Perone, Ph.D.

Assistant Teaching Professor
Office hours
I am on academic leave for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Educational Psychology (Human Development and Learning)
University of Illinois, Chicago
Instructional Leadership/Self-Designed Program
University of Illinois, Chicago
Applied Language Studies
Cornell University

I received my doctorate in Educational Psychology with a focus on Human Development and Learning at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in 2013.

I teach introductory psychology and courses in human development. My research interests include the power and possibilities of imaginative play, improvisational theater, performance activism, social therapeutics, humanitarian clowning, and socially-engaged arts to create revolutionary opportunities for lifespan learning, development, and community building.

Prior to my academic career, I had worked as an adult educator and teacher educator of English as a Second Language for more than 20 years and had served as a program coordinator with youth development programs and community/family literacy programs in New York and Illinois.

Current Research

I am passionate about co-creating new opportunities for learning, development, community building, and social change. One of the main ways I explore this passion is through my research and teaching on life-span imaginative play. Imaginative play, broadly defined, can be a revolutionary activity for people to transform themselves and transform the communities of which they are a part. Imaginative play is not only an activity of young children; it’s an activity with transformative potential across the lifespan and I’m particularly excited about the presence and significance of imaginative play by, with, and for adults.

I am a part of a larger international performance movement that draws upon and creates scholarship in psychology and the arts to support the presence and importance of play and performance across the lifespan. We believe in the presence and power of play and performance and offer practical-critical performance opportunities across the lifespan to co-create powerful and inclusive communities.

Students, colleagues, and community members who are interested in new approaches to psychology, education, and community building/engagement would be welcome contributors to the work/play in which I engage.

Scholarly Interests

• Imaginative play and improvisational theater for community and social change
• Socially-engaged arts activity/activism
• Adult education and development
• Community engagement and development
• Life-span human development
• Sociocultural theory
• Qualitative research
• Teacher education


At UW Tacoma, I teach undergraduate courses in introductory psychology and human development.

TPSYCH 101 – Introduction to Psychology
TPSYCH 220 – Lifespan Development
TPSYCH 319 – Child Development
TPSYCH 322 – Adult Development
TPSYCH 407 – The Cultural Context of Developmental Psychology
TPSYCH 418 – Lifespan Imaginative Play
TPSYCH 496 – Psychology Internship
TPSYCH 498 – Directed Readings in Psychology
TPSYCH 499 – Undergraduate Psychology Research

My teaching interests are integrally linked to my research interests, as I not only am interested in theory and research on the intersections of play, learning, and development, but I also offer and co-create playful and collaborative approaches to the learning environments of which I am a part. Topically, I am interested in facilitating experiences related to imaginative play, education (e.g., teacher education or adult education), psychology (e.g., cultural, life-span developmental, educational or writing in the discipline) and collaborations with youth, community and families. Over the course of my teaching career, I have consistently witnessed the importance of play, performance, development, and community building as the cornerstone of not only what I teach, but also how I teach. This union of content, theory, and method is essential to me, one of the most important lessons of my life, and one that I aim to share and build contextually with others.


• The Association for the Study of Play (TASP) -
• East Side Institute (ESI) -
• Performing the World (PTW) -
• The Global Play Brigade (GPB) -

Academic Service

Institute Associate, the Eastside Institute for Group and Short-Term Psychotherapy.

I am one of approximately 75 associates of the Eastside Institute (ESI) for Group and Short-Term Psychotherapy in New York, NY. In this capacity, I join a group of international practitioners, scholars, and activists who have worked closely with ESI for decades. Associates support and are supported by ESI’s mission of radical, humanistic approaches to human development and social/community change. I also serve as a point of contact for people interested in ESI’s social therapeutic approach to community organizing, and their activities to support play and performance across the lifespan and across contexts.

I am an organizer for a biennial event, Performing the World (PTW), a scholarly, critical-practical and performatory conference attended by hundreds of researchers and practitioners from more than 30 countries who explore improvisation, play and performance and its role in learning, development, and community building across contexts and throughout the lifespan.

I am a builder of the Global Play Brigade (GPB). The GPB is a volunteer community of play and performance activists, improvisers, clowns, musicians, educators and therapists who have come together in response to the pandemic and the distressing, inequitable state of our world. We aim to bring people together across borders — to play, create, connect and grow — creating new pathways for social change.

I have conducted workshops on the use of play, improvisation, and performance in schools and community organizations on the local, national, and international levels.

Honors and Awards

•School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Scholarship and Teaching Fund recipient
–University of Washington Tacoma, 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2021
• President’s Research in Diversity Travel Award – The University of Illinois, 2012
• Graduate Student Award Cultural Historical Special Interest Group – American Educational Research Association, 2011
• Volunteer Spirit Award - All Starts Project of Chicago, 2010
• Graduate Student Fellow Division E Counseling and Human Development - American Educational Research Association, 2009

CV or Resume
PDF icon cv_perone.uwt_.pdf574.26 KB
Publication Date Bibliographic Citation

Perry, D. (Author). (2020, April 21). Fake sports interviews with yourself after video games or activities are a real thing and have real benefits. Retrieved from


Lobman, C, Perone, T., & Rich. M. (2019, April). How to support the emotional growth of play diplomats? Play! Play Policy and Practice Connection 19(2), 13-16.


Assoiants, A., & Reyman, C. (Producers). (2018, October 19). Co-creating life-span, imaginative, mindful play [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from


Lobman, C. & Perone, T. (Eds.). (2018). Big ideas and revolutionary activity: Selected essays, talks, and articles by Lois Holzman. New York: East Side Institute.


Fortier, K. (Producer). (2017, February 15). Performing your world: How imaginative play helps grownups get unstuck [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from


Vadeboncoeur. J.A., Perone, A. & Panina-Beard, N. (2016). Creativity as a practice of freedom: Through imaginative play to moral imagination and the production of culture. In V.P. Glaveanu (Ed.) The Palgrave Handbook of Creativity and Culture Research (pp. 285-305). London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.


Perone, A. (2014, Summer). Healing with(in) imaginative play. Child Life Council Bulletin 32(3), 8. 


Perone, A., & Göncü, A. (2014). Life-span imaginative play in two communities. Mind, Culture, and Activity 21(3), 200-220.   


Perone, A. (2013). The presence and significance of imaginative play in the lives of Mexican-American adults. (Dissertation) 


Göncü, A., Perone, T, & Ryan, S. “Play.” In L Meyer (Ed), Oxford Bibliographies in Education. New York: Oxford University Press. Launch Date August 26, 2013. 


Perone, A. (2011). Improvising with adult language learners. In R. Keith Sawyer (Ed.),
Structure and improvisation in creative teaching, (pp. 162-183). New York: Cambridge University Press.    


Göncü, A., & Perone, A. (2009). Inquiries into the role of adults in children’s play. Play
and Culture Studies: Vol. 9. Transactions at Play (pp. 125-128). 


Göncü, A., & Perone, A. (2005, September). Pretend play as a life-span activity. Topoi.
“Play, Games and Philosophy.” [Special Issue] 24(2), 137-147.