Invisible Me: A Socio-Cultural Exploration of Women in Paralympic Sport
Women have been part of the Paralympic Movement since the first sports games for the disabled were held at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1948. Historically, there are many examples of women taking on central roles in the movement as athletes, coaches, policy-makers and ambassadors. Yet there are growing concerns that women’s progress in all roles within disability sport is in decline. This project, funded by an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) explores the involvement of women in Paralympic sport in the past, present and future.
Barriers and facilitators encountered by Canadian with disabilities when pursuing sport coaching opportunities
A key element of the integration of para-sport within the mainstream Canadian sport system included ensuring that coaches were in place to support para-athletes. Accordingly, in recent years, the Coaching Association of Canada has worked with National Sport Organizations to develop and implement training models and other resources specific to coaches working with para-athletes. However, a significant deficit in these apporaches is an assumption that the coaches themselves are able-bodied. This research explores the experiences of people with disabilities who pursue coach training and certification. This work is funded by a Hampton New Faculty Research Grant (UBC).
Para-Athlete Retirement: Insights, Support, Management (Project PRISM)
[Project PRISM update] – Project PRISM is now complete. A big thank you to all the para-athletes who generously shared their stories and experiences with us. You provided the EIS PL team with a wealth of information that will be used to inform their practices and support future para-athletes as they transition out of sport. Below is a link to a visual summary of (some!) of the findings from the research.
PRISM Summary (Final copy)
Athletes retire from sport for a number of reasons. Some leave sport having achieve their goals and ready to pursue new opportunities. Others have ‘unplanned’ retirements due to injury or deselection from the team. Whatever the reason, the Performance Lifestyle Practitioners at the English Institute of Sport endeavour to support athletes in their transition ‘out of sport.’ A key aspect of supporting athletes in their transitional journey involves exploring ‘what is next’ and assisting athletes to consider all the opportunities available to them. Project PRISM engages with retired para-athletes seeking to learn more about their transitions out of sport so that their knowledge and experiences might be used to benefit those para-athletes still in sport. This work is funded by the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport and the English Institute of Sport.
‘Are We Inspired Yet?’: Digital Stories by Young People about Sport and Disability
The motto of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games was Inspire a generation. In fact, it is frequently claimed that a key reason for hosting major sports events is so that young people will be ‘inspired’ by the performances of elite athletes. This project involves working collaboratively with schools, sports and recreation associations and national organizations to host workshops where young disabled people create digital stories related to their experiences of sport and physical activity. These stories will make a unique contribution to the growing body of research documenting the less tangible, non-economic outcomes of hosting mega-sport events and are intended to shape policies and initiatives in the area of inclusive physical activity programming. To find out more about the project, please contact me directly or see the project poster here. This research is funded by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Council of Canada and is based out of the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport at Loughborough University (UK).
AthletesFirst: Authors, Audiences and Advocates… but Athletes First
This project formed part of my doctoral research at the University of British Columbia. Working collaboratively with five Canadian Paralympians, we created a blog (www.athletesfirst.ca) where current issues related to the Paralympic Movement were debated. Over 14 months, the blog attracted more than 6,500 readers from 90+ countries and articles originally posted on the blog were regularly shared on the websites of key disability sport stakeholders including that of the International Paralympic Committee. Though the project has ended, the blog is still up and running and we welcome contributions from guest authors. This project was supported by a CGS doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and was conducted in the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia.