Sport development network

LSBU unite academics and industry experts at this year’s UK Sport Development Network conference to ask how sports can tackle society issues

The two-day conference brought together top academic researchers, practitioners, influencers, policy makers and funders from the sports world
17 July 2019

The Sport and Exercise Science Research Centre at LSBU hosted a dynamic and interactive 9th UK Sport Development Network (UKSDN) conference on 11 and 12 July 2019. The event was in association with Active Communities Network (ACN), a sport for development charity that uses sport as a pathway into education, training and employment.

The two-day conference brought together top academic researchers, practitioners, influencers, policy makers and funders from the sports world. In a series of topical workshops and panel discussions delegates drilled into the question ‘Sport for Development – what are we developing?’. Critically, they assessed the potential impact of sports in addressing current and future challenges in UK society.

Themes discussed include how to use sport to help to counteract social issues, such as crime and anti-social behaviour, and support mental and physical health, inclusion, equality, resilience, cohesion and integration. They considered best practice and leading research studies that analyse the modern influence of sport on social change, and how connections between academics and community sports programmes and practitioners could be improved. The aim was to ensure that both sectors build alliances and promote collaboration.

Patrick Callaghan, Dean of the School of Applied Sciences at LSBU and a Professor of Mental Health Sciences, said: “We aim to provide more opportunities for practitioners to gain greater insight into how the UK sports industry works. Sports Sciences is a cornerstone in our research and education here. The School of Applied Sciences was proud to host UKSDN 2019. It showcased the outstanding work and results when we partner with educators, researchers, policymakers and sports practitioners. We make people’s health and wellbeing matter.”

Kevin McPherson, Director of Research and Business Development at ACN, said: “We were delighted to support the UKSDN conference with LSBU. As a charity working in this space, we recognise that all too often academics, policy makers and practitioners work in isolation. Our goal is to bring likeminded people together to grow the evidence base of sport for development, and ensure practitioners are informed to implement recommendations made by cutting edge contemporary research.”

Dr Chris Mackintosh, Senior Lecturer in Sport Management at Manchester Metropolitan University and Chair of the UKSDN, said: “This year’s conference was one of our best. It brought together a strong synergy of academic research and industry practitioners, as well as PhD students undertaking some of the most innovative evaluation work in the sport development profession. It also allowed considerable opportunity for informal networking to discuss the complex matters involved in shaping the current research agenda in the UK and beyond. We shared practice between the UK nations, Hungary, the Middle East and global sport for development partners. We look forward to next year’s 2020 conference in Leeds.”

Speakers were Dr Morton Schmidt from Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, Dr Edwina Brocklesby, Founder of the Silverfit Charity, Andrew Spiers from Sport England and Professor Patrick Callaghan from LSBU.

Find out more about Sport and Exercise Science Research Centre.