The Academy of Sport and Physical Activity (ASPA) employs a number of academic staff whose scholarly work reflects the ‘socio-cultural’ aspects of sport performance. Examples of these projects include:
- the ecological impact of nature sports;
- race/racism in the media and cultural industries;
- the representation of female athletes at sporting mega-events;
- ecological dynamics in athletic performance;
- the role of sport in international development; and,
- the shifting landscape of mental health and athlete wellbeing.
This research is supported by a large body of published work in high impact journals and is internationally recognised for its contributions to the fields of sport performance, sport sociology, (social) psychology, political ecology, gender studies and sport coaching and pedagogy.
The formation of the ‘Sport and performance cultures’ theme will broadly reflect, and build upon, much of the great work that is being completed in this area, while also providing an important platform for future research and consultancy opportunities. The broad remit of the group will be to engage in cutting edge scholarly work and consultancy projects, which recognise that sporting ‘performances’ – defined in the broadest sense to refer individual (i.e. becoming a better athlete), as well as institutional (i.e. developing effective policy and practice) and cultural performances (i.e. running a successful mega event) – are aligned to, and often highly dependent upon, a range of social factors relating to identities, bodies, landscapes, representations, knowledge and power.
The formation of this theme comes at an important time in sport policy and practice, as the UK government places increasing emphasis on the socio-cultural constraints in sport (see, for example Sporting Future, 2015). Moreover, while UK Sport continues to invest in supporting the development of a fair, equitable and ethical world-class sporting system in the UK, which is both athlete-centred and people-focused, this theme will allow for further exploration of the social injustices highlighted by recent events (such as, the #metoo movement, the Black Lives Matter protests and the Covid-19 pandemic).