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Professor Andrew Sparkes

Professor Andrew Sparkes
Contact Details
Professor Andrew Sparkes


School of Sport

0113 81 23546

About Professor Andrew Sparkes

Having spent a number of years teaching Physical Education and Biology in secondary schools, Andrew self-funded his MA degree at Durham University and then his PhD at Loughborough University. Since then he has worked at several universities before taking up his current position at Leeds Beckett University in February 2013.

Andrew's empirical and theoretical research interests are grounded in methodological diversity and inspired by a continuing fascination with the ways that people experience different forms of embodiment over time in a variety of contexts. Recent work has focused on interrupted body projects (e.g. spinal cord injury) and the narrative reconstruction of self; ageing bodies in sport and physical activity contexts; sporting auto/biographies and body-self-culture relationships; and sensual ways of knowing and being in sport, physical activity and leisure.

These interests are framed by a desire to develop interpretative forms of understanding via the use of life history, ethnography, autoethnography, phenomenology, and narrative approaches. Andrew's work is nomadic in nature, operating across disciplinary boundaries and flourishing in the fertile spaces between them. Whilst respecting traditions he seeks to trouble standard notions of method and aspires to represent lived experience using a variety of genres.

Andrew has published extensively on these topics in international peer reviewed journals and contributed numerous chapters to leading texts in the field. He is co-author of Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise & Health: From Process to Product (2013. London: Routledge), and is author of Telling Tales in Sport and Physical Activity: A Qualitative Journey (2002. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics). Andrew is editor of the British Sociological Association Auto/Biography Yearbook. He also serves on the advisory board for the journals Sport, Education and Society, and Qualitative Research in Sport & Exercise, and is a member of the editorial boards of the following journals: Journal of Aging Studies; The Sport Psychologist; International Journal of Men's Health; European Physical Education Review; Qualitative Research in Education; and Agora: Para la educacion fisica y el deporte (Spain).

Current Teaching

Andrew teaches on courses relating to research methods, the body in culture, and narrative studies. He is Director of Studies for a range of PhD students on projects ranging from ageing bodies and family narratives of physical activity; the sensorial dimensions of bouldering; disability sport, identity construction, and embodied ways of knowing; and the socio-historical and lived experiences of teacher effectiveness in physical education.

Research Interests

Andrew is currently working on a research study funded by the English Rugby Football Union Injured Players Foundation into the ways that players who suffer spinal cord injury and become disabled, along with their family members, reconstruct their lives post-SCI.

He is the international advisor for a project entitled The Meaning of Sport in Times of Health and Illness which is funded by Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and led by Professor Dr T Abma of the Department of Medical Humanities, Vrije Universiteit (VU), Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Dr A Elling-Machartzki Mulier Institute. Utrecht, Netherlands.