Transforming Sport is a podcast run by the Sport and Leisure Cultures research group at the University of Brighton. In it, we feature discussions on the place and role of sport in contemporary society, drawing on the research expertise of our staff and guests. The overall focus of the podcast is on understanding how sport can rise to meet various challenges it faces in the 21st century. In this way, we highlight both transformations that are needed within sport itself, and also the ways sport can help to transform individuals, communities, and societies.
Episode 13: eSport for Development with Dr. Holly Collison
On the third episode in our mini-series on eSport I had the pleasure to speak with Dr. Holly Collison, Lecturer at the Institute for Sport Business at Loughborough University London, UK. She is an anthropologist in the field of Sport for Development and Peace (SDP). Holly has completed extensive fieldwork in West and East Africa and South East Asia examining post-conflict development interventions and the use of sport. Her research explores youth identity, notions of community, international development, peacebuilding, social inclusion, and grassroots perspectives and experiences of SDP. Recently her work has shifted to focus on eSport as a space for social inclusion and community development on which she has co-published multiple journal articles.
In this episode we discussed the research she has undertaken with eSport stakeholders in the UK and United States, looking at how eSport communities can provide spaces for social inclusion as well as exclusion, including toxicity and tribal mentalities in these digital spaces. Space is indeed an important theoretical concept for Holly, and she has used a tripartite conception of space following Henri Lefebvre to explore questions around eSports potential for incorporation into Sport for Development (SfD) more broadly.
Dr. Holly Collison’s recent publications include Exploring the Contested Notion of Social Inclusion and Gender Inclusivity within eSport Spaces and Landscapes of Tension, Tribalism and Toxicity: Configuring a Spatial Politics of eSport Communities. She has recently been invited to participate in expert meetings for the United Nations on the topics of the “Sustainable Development Goals and the UN System” (New York, 2018), and “The Use of Sport as an Educational Tool to Tackle Radicalisation and Violent Extremism” (Vienna, 2018, 2019). Find out more about her latest research and publications on her Loughborough University staff profile page here.
Contact us: @SportTransform or @SeanmrHeath
Episode 12: eSport Health and Performance with Gscience Co-founder Jamie Kiff
This week we have our second instalment on the topic of eSports. In March of 2021 Jamie Kiff, Co-founder of Gscience delivered aa virtual guest lecture to Sport Management degree students at the University of Brighton. There he spoke about his experiences working outside of academia in the start-up industry, working with professional eSports athletes to develop healthier practices in the professional gaming industry. With a background in sport science and human kinetics, and a Master’s degree in Strength and Conditioning from Loughborough University, he has been applying notions of bodily health and wellbeing to Gamers, who are often stereotyped as the antithesis of high performance athletes in other sports. Through outlining his own educational journey, he highlights some of the practical industry skills he developed as a strength and conditioning student, skills he now applies to working with professional eSports athletes and coaches.
Gscience - eSport Health and Performance: https://www.gscience.io/
Sport and Leisure Cultures Research Group:
Sean Heath: @SeanmrHeath; firstname.lastname@example.org
Episode 11: The eSport Revolution with Dr. Anne Tjønndal
Dr. Anne Tjønndal is Associate Professor of Sport Sociology at Nord University, Norway, and has held the title of Norwegian National Champion in Women’s Boxing. She has a prolific publishing record in academia on a variety of topics from gender equity issues in boxing, eSports, coaching policy in sport, and social innovation in sport. She recently published an article “Youth Sport 2.0” which reviews the growth of eSports in Norway between 2016 and 2019. In this episode we discussed the stereotypes of the “gamer” and how her research has shed light on this false portrayal. We discussed the ability for eSport to provide spaces for forms of social inclusion and community, which more traditional “physical” sport clubs have recognized and have begun to incorporate into their club structure. We also discussed the difficulties facing the recognition and incorporation of eSports into national sporting frameworks and policy.
Dr. Anne Tjønndal’s recent publications include Social Innovation in Sport and Gender Equity and Sports Coaching in Norway: Political Discourses and Developmental Trajectories from 1970 to 2020. Her larger research interests include social inequality, gender and sport, eSports, innovation and entrepreneurship in sports, and sports policy. Find out more about her latest research and publications on her Nord University staff profile page here.
Episode 10: Sport Ecology with Dr. Madeline Orr
In January 2021 Dr. Madeline Orr delivered an online talk for the Sport and Leisure Culture’s research group’s 2021 Seminar Series. In her lecture she explores the bidirectional relationship between sport, the environment, and climate change, and why sport can be a vehicle for change to the growing and continuing climate crisis. As Director and co-founder of the Sport Ecology Group, Maddy is a leading voice for change in the sport sector, how everyone from grassroots to transnational sporting organizations can do their part to help ameliorate and prevent further climate degradation.
This episode shifts between the lecture she gave for the SLC 2021 Seminar Series and a conversation I had with her where we further explored some of the pressing issues of sport ecology and climate change.
Dr. Maddy Orr’s recent publications include “Sport Facilities as Sites of Environmental and Social Resistance” and “Climate Vulnerability as a Catalyst for Early Stadium Replacement”. Her larger research interests include the impacts of climate change on the sport sector, with a focus on vulnerability and resilience research. Find out more about her research and the Sport Ecology Group at https://www.sportecology.org/.
Rapid Transition Alliance
UN Climate Change Conference
Season 2 Trailer - Transforming Sport
The Transforming Sport Podcast is back for a second season this coming summer. We have a new series of public talks and conversations with sport experts, both academic and professional, coming your way.
Episode 9: Running, the Environment, and Human Becoming
In this episode Dr. Thomas F. Carter, Reader in Anthropology at the University of Brighton, speaks with your host, Sean Heath, about all things running.
Tom’s ethnographically focused anthropological research centres on the relationships between the individual and the state, the movement, migrations, and mobilities of various peoples, the politics of spectacle, and the dialectic relations of spatialized embodiment. He is currently working on a project centred around the human body, human movement, and how running makes us human.
Our conversation today centres on his book entitled On Running and Becoming Human: An Anthropological Perspective. We discuss the connections between our own moving bodies, our environments, and how the act of running literally shapes our minds, our bodies and the ways we experience our environments. Tom’s decades of running experience in both mundane and exotic places across the globe provides the route of travel as we wandered through the anthropological, neurological, philosophical and experiential aspects of our very human form of locomotion: running.
From the seemingly simple acts of running through neighbourhoods when we arrive in new cities to get an understanding of the layout of where we are, to the seeking out and exploration of spaces and places near and far from the places we live, Tom weaves together an intricate argument which positions the mind as an extension of the senses and the moving body out into the world. Our being through the act of running incorporates the environments we move through as environs, our individually positioned experiences of those environments informed by our societies, cultures, and physiology.
Dr. Thomas F. Carter has a forthcoming publication in forthcoming in The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, entitled "Gender and Sport" (2020). His latest book, On Running and Becoming Human: An Anthropological Perspective can be found through the link and is published by PalgraveMacMillan. His other research is accessible via his University of Brighton staff research profile page https://research.brighton.ac.uk/en/persons/thomas-carter