A defining feature of Professor Julian North’s journey has been the exploration of the connection between work as an academic and policy researcher.
He has worked with stakeholders from across the sporting world from coaches and development officers to board members and CEOs. His client and partner list includes UEFA, the International Council for Coaching Excellence, the FA, UK Sport, UK Coaching, Sport Scotland, and British Gymnastics amongst many others.
This is complex, messy and ‘rickety’ work!
The focus of attention and with it some sense of responsibility (and indeed blame) for the difficulties have generally been targeted at policy makers and practitioners.
Although academia is changing in some quarters, there is now a very strong case for researchers, and academic researchers to be more reflexive: to explore, understand, and challenge the way that they think and operate in this difficult space.
In his inaugural lecture, Professor North will focus on the value, positioning, and re-thinking of research in a policy and practice context.
This lecture is part of Leeds Beckett university's inaugural professional lecture series.
Professor North is originally a West Yorkshire lad, but after an undergraduate spell in Newcastle, found himself working in London in the 1990s and early 2000s in an academic business school, then an enterprise, skills, and inclusion agency, and then the UK’s main funder of elite sport, UK Sport. He then moved to Australasia for a year and a half, where he worked for the Australian Sports Commission in Canberra (as well as building supermarkets and catching chickens in Christchurch, New Zealand).
Julian then returned to Yorkshire and Leeds to work for UK Coaching (then Sports Coach UK) as Director of Research for 9 years and was centrally involved in the development and delivery of the DCMS ‘Coaching Project’ and the UK Coaching Framework. In 2011, Julian joined the Carnegie School of Sport, where he has worked ever since, exploring consultancy and knowledge exchange opportunities with a wide range of international and national sporting clients and partners.
He is now the Director of the Centre for Sport Coaching, working with around 40 Leeds Becket University colleagues, and many stakeholders, across the sport and coaching landscape – to discuss and improve sporting experience, culture, and coaching. He has also been a community football coach for over 10 years, now enjoying working with youngsters with impairments. Over the last three years Julian has started to become more active in the coach developer space, supporting performance and high-performance coaches.