Tagged / sport and physical activity centre

SPARC Seminar: Cities of (physical) culture 25/09/23

Cities of (physical) culture

 “Green” Urban Infrastructures, Physical Activity Promotion, and their Margins


Amid a worldwide growth in urban populations and an increasing policy focus on creating “smart”, “sustainable” and “wellness” cities, the relationship between cities and physical activity has been changing from the end of the 20th century.

Previously confined in specific urban areas, the pursuit of active physicality has been progressively seen as contributing to a range of urban functions (from health promotion to social cohesion) in the city itself. This has been particularly relevant for urban leaderships facing the need to regenerate dismissed industrial areas and to promote urban diversity and citizenship in increasingly unequal cities.

Yet, as urban initiatives aim to build “the city of the future” including by changing how urban residents move within it, what forms of urban citizenship these interventions envision, and what hierarchies of belonging and deservingness do they (re)produce? How are these processes lived and negotiated by urban dwellers differently positioned at the social and spatial margins of the city?

This seminar draws on research conducted in Italy (Turin) and Brazil (Sao Paulo) to explore how “sustainable” urban policies and the urban spaces and infrastructures they create shape the ways in which urban inequalities are manifested and negotiated through leisure and physical activities in contemporary cities.

This seminar will be held on Monday 25th September

from 14:00-15:00 at F109 Fusion, Talbot Campus

For more information, please contact:

Sport and Physical Activity Centre (SPARCfuturestudents@bournemouth.ac.uk

Nicola De Martini Ugolotti, Senior Lecturer In Sport, ndemartiniugolotti@bournemouth.ac.uk

Alessandra Bueno, Visiting fellow BUBS abueno@bournemouth.ac.uk

Women’s World Cup Forum hosted by Sport and Physical Activity Centre (SPARC)

Against the backdrop of the Women’s World Cup, the Sport & Physical Activity Centre (SPARC) hosted the Women’s World Cup (WWC) Forum on July 17th.

Featuring presentations from Dr Beth Fielding-Lloyd (Sheffield Hallam University), Anika Leslie-Walker (Nottingham Trent University) and Dr Rafaelle Nicholson (Faculty of Media & Communication, BU), the forum set out to explore the contemporary nature of women’s football and how academic work aligns to the apparent pace of growth. Attendees were invited back the following day and spent a productive day unpacking issues raised at the Forum and explored potential areas for further academic exploration.

One week prior to the event, former England International Karen Carney, authored an Independent Report for DCMS, titled Raising the Bar: Re-Framing the Opportunity in Women’s Football. The report offers a comprehensive review of the growth opportunities for the game at professional and grassroots level, but also highlights the significant challenges facing the game. The report, and indeed the SPARC Forum, invited us to look behind the mask of the landmark event and how narratives of ‘progress’ at such landmark events (attendances, media interest, coverage, taglines: the WWC for example is branded ‘Beyond Greatness’) can present a false picture of progress, highlight myths of women’s empowerment and indeed mask new/existing expressions of power.

In particular, discussion at the Forum focussed on developing a sustainable and inclusive fan base for the game (beyond landmark fixtures, average Women’s Super League (WSL) attendance stands at 2,800), funding and diversity issues within the talent pathway, safe fan experience/spaces (marked by religion, gender and race), gender pay disparities, the lessons of prior mergers and governance structures, and broadcasting rights (the UK’s domestic broadcasters offered just 8% of that which they paid for the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup in Qatar) and media representations (that oft tended to reinforce, as opposed to challenge, dominant gender power relations). Indeed, and even as the Forum was in full-swing, the Australian team (The Matildas) broadcast a video highlighting pay disparities, the England team expressed their disappointment over a lack of agreement over their bonuses, figures from the Carney report suggested that 71% of attendees at WSL games reported their experience was ‘short of expectation’, and highlighted that there exists a significant lack of understanding of minority ethnic fans.

As the women’s game grows and transitions from a Football Association-owned entity to a new independently owned management structure (currently named New Co.) this is indeed an exciting time for women’s football. However, the Forum & workshop reinforced the need to peek behind the shiny spectacle of the World Cup and address some of the challenges that continue to be faced in the development of a sustainable, equitable and inclusive ‘product’. After two long, yet productive, days participants left with a compelling commitment to engage with key stakeholders and undertake a programme of work that aims to address inequalities in the game and influence policy, practice and strategy.