UKSDN 2021 Online Convention – Sport and Social Justice: If Not Now, When?

A blog post to review the 2021 Online Convention hosted by Louise Morby and colleagues at Leeds Beckett University (Centre for Social Justice in Sport and Society) and partners across the Yorkshire network. This review summarises the Twitter activity from the day and signposts you to further reading and updates on the follow up 2022 event!

Critical Questions for each of our four sessions today #sportsocialjustice:

  • Poverty
  • Racial inequality
  • Long term health conditions
  • Climate change

1. What is our role as a sector in addressing this?

2. How do we create a workforce that can lead this change?

3. What do we need to know/find out in order to do this?

4. What will we do between now and the 2022 conference?


Martyn Allison:

A thought provoking 20 minutes, @grobykid has given everyone in the virtual room plenty to think about and take-away. Proportionate universalism, how do we shift to this? or more information on this view, take a look at @grobykid piece in The Leisure Review: Martyn notes that looking at data, the sport sector is creating a more significant gap… we need to think about fundamental changes and eco-systems… do you agree? 4. This means we are dealing with complexity and changing how the system works. It is therefore about fundamentally changing how the whole sector (eco-system) works collaboratively to achieve a common purpose. #sportandsocialjustice @grobykid offers a wealth of experience and an honest assessment of where the sport sector intersects with poverty. He asks a question to us all “So do you have an empathy gap?” concerning the most deprived and under-representation in the sector…

Alex Culvin:

@alexculvin discusses access + benefits of sport for those who in lowest socio-econ. bands in the UK. Yet, data + research shows little to no increase in participation for ‘hard to reach groups’ after 2012. So now, in the context of Covid-19, what are impacts? What are solutions? Poverty and access to sport: conception of poverty has changed; misconception of poor people; poor people face sport deprivation; sport is directly influenced by society; meaning where discrimination and inequality exists in society, it will manifest in sport; people experience social exclusion based on lack of resources; sport participation varies by socio-economic group; austerity policies have impinged on people in poverty.

Big Issue:  JRF Foundation:  

Kela (Finland study):  @alexculvin goes into complexities of exploring + introducing this concept into the UK – funding, cross-party collab., individ. issues, economic intersections. @alexculvin offers an illuminating overview of University Basic Income, suggesting work by the @UBILabNetwork + studies from @jrf_uk on the growing. Although no definitive studies on the UK context, Alex presents a study from Finland, links below #sportandsocialjustice

Racial inequality:

Ladi Ajayi and Akin Thomas:

Next session is underway on sport + racial inequality. A plea from @ooiaja + @akinthomas to access the #TellYourStory report  Over 30 diff. sports engaged in this study. Reporting back on this was crucial for getting core themes across to multiple audiences. Powerful evidence, the #TellYourStory covers a range of aspects of the sport sector + workforce. A core theme presented by @ooiaja + @akinthomas highlight the role of coaches, spaces + how culturally + ethnically diverse communities articulated their negative experiences in sport. Leadership + organisations provide a challenge + solution to racial inequality, particularly what is needed to change. Some see + engage with this, and others are closed + uncomfortable. Is it time to get uncomfortable? Allyship, experiment + challenge model @ooiaja + @akinthomas

Thomas Fletcher:

Next up for the session on sport + racial inequality. @tefletcher1984 from the @TheCSJ_Sport offering evidence + reflections on 2 studies connected to South Asian communities in cricket. Both available free to access here:

tefletcher1984 discusses how the projects were tasked with going beyond statistics, looking at the lived experiences and finding out why! Found aspects of informal cricket, work commitments, structures too prescriptive, costs, the legacy of racism and how clubs are perceived. Need for flexibility + co-creation about what a sport offers includes space. @tefletcher1984 discusses the dialogue with Yorkshire Cricket based on the research, creating spaces in these locales alongside action plans  goes some way, does it go far enough?

Long term health conditions:

Rachel Walmsley and Bex O’Gorman:

3rd session #sportandsocialjustice – long term health conditions, started by Rachel Walmsley and Bex O’Gorman, TCD Charity – sharing several lived experiences about male suicide –  ‘Luke’s Lads’ which is one component of the charity. “Teaching ballet to a elderly man who is 100” is an e.g. given by Rachel, showcasing the importance of targeting all age groups with activities to support socially isolated individuals and groups. The impact of the pandemic made this even more valuable and challenging to deliver…

Prof/Sir Muir Gray:

@muirgray touches on evidence that informs policy around where working with older people is essential to avoid unnecessary social care. Read: Fitness + health industry has drifted apart in the UK, Grey suggests, + how these sectors can recognise each other. Historical and contemporary e.g.s given by @muirgray including the potential need for top up training for fitness professionals to work better with health and social care and vice-versa, e.g. activity prescription. Find out more about this movement here:

Climate change:

Eun Young Lee:

@DrEunYoungLee illuminates links between ideology and national/global systems. Is our current approach to climate change equitable? Making the connections between health and climate action, e.g. transport sector, and dual-benefits. It is critical to understand the relationship between climate change (e.g. atmospheric contamination), human activity (e.g. physical activity, diet) + human health (diff. diseases). More info:  + how to transform our lifestyles, e.g. carbon-free activities…

Chris Whitaker:

Chris Whitaker from @BASIS_org describes how it was created due to the demand for knowledge from the sport sector. Particularly, wanting to engage with sustainability and the environment agendas. Chris Whitaker from @BASIS_org describes how it was created due to the demand for knowledge from the sport sector. Particularly, wanting to engage with sustainability and the environment agendas.

Summary tweets:

The overriding message from the latter sessions #sportandsocialjustice:

“Responsibility is needed from individuals, communities and organisations in/beyond sport”

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable.”

A huge thank you to Louise, the speakers/chairs and audience for engaging.

Next steps:

Register for the 2022 event here:

Event webpage:

Eventbrite link:

Call for Contributions form:

Any questions about the event or network then please contact me or Louise.


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