Discrimination in sport on the agenda at Leeds Beckett conference
The conference, which will be held on Friday 9 September at Leeds Beckett’s city centre Rose Bowl building, aims to investigate different forms of discrimination: abuse, stereotyping, prejudice, harassment and exclusion; across a range of sports, drawing on a variety of academic areas.
Dr Dan Kilvington, Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett and co-organiser of the conference, explained: “The conference aims to bring together academics, campaigners and practitioners who all specialise in examining and challenging racism, sexism, homophobia, disability, and class, within their respective sports and fields.
“We want to ask, what is the nature and extent of discrimination in sport today? How does it affect people’s experience of sport and their wider lives? What are the barriers to change? And how can we best tackle discrimination in the future?
“Discrimination in sport, in all forms, has not yet been beaten. It is fundamental that we understand the causes and consequences of this and learn of potential strategies in which to best challenge these issues - this is the aim of the conference.”
Presenting the keynote speech at the conference will be Dr Hayley Fitzgerald, a Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett whose research centres around disability, physical education and youth sport. Dr Fitzgerald is the Chair of the UK Disability Sport Coaching, Learning and Leadership Group and has worked for a number of disability sport organisations in Yorkshire.
Dr Kilvington added: “Discrimination in all forms exists on a daily, hourly and secondly basis, in all spheres of life. Sport is no different and, held under the microscope, we are able to see that sport is not based on talent and ability alone, as much people may believe and want it to be. Although overt racism may be considered 'under control' within UK football, evidence suggests that it is growing on social media platforms.
“Campaign groups such as This Girl Can and the Muslim Women Sports Foundation continue to challenge sexism within sport and raise awareness of pathways into activities. The conference invites campaign groups and practitioners as well as scholars, which aids the scope and appeal of the event. The University context is an excellent place to stage the event as we are able to intellectually engage with the speakers' findings, experiences and calls for action.”
In March, Dr Kilvington launched his new book which explores the exclusion of British Asians from football and makes recommendations for achieving equality in the industry.
The book, ‘British Asians, Exclusion and the Football Industry’, presents Dr Kilvington’s extensive new research collected from interviews with players, coaches, scouts, managers, fans, and anti-racist organisations and highlights both historical and current reasons for the exclusion of British Asians from football.