Sport and Physical Activity Research Centre (SPARC)

Sport and Physical Activity Centre (SPARC)

SPARC at BU is home to a breadth of exciting, innovative and inter-disciplinary scholarship that aims to offer a truly holistic understanding of the derivation, constitution, and experience of sport, physical activity, the body, well-being & (ill-)health.

Through asking important questions and setting important agendas for policy, practice, performance and society, we have developed a research portfolio that is of the highest academic standard and has real world application. Funders include the ESRC, the AHRC, NIHR, the IOC, AFC Bournemouth, UEFA, and Active Dorset.

Building on external links with private and public partners, and other bodies concerned with sport and physical activity, SPARC fosters an agenda, often achieved through creative methodologies, to produce research that is meaningful in that speaks to broader social, economic and sporting challenges and to a broader set of constituents / communities (from the most local to the global).

Combining scholars from a range of academic disciplines within the study of sport and physical activity, from across the University, and from established national and international Universities, SPARC is ideally suited to develop and advance knowledge that can contribute towards policy in sport, physical activity, health and well-being; enhance sporting performance and the role of participation in sport and physical activity in healthy lifestyles across the lifespan; impact practice in public/private organisations; engage the public through a variety of activities; and, contribute towards progressive societal change.

SPARC provides a dynamic, exciting and stimulating environment for a range of activities, including high-quality research outputs, research bidding related to our aims, events including hosting conferences and a seminar series to encourage debate and discussion, for international research networking and collaboration, for the on-going development of graduate students, and for funded research projects. We welcome PhD applications in related areas, and can advise on funding opportunities.

SPARC research projects

We pride ourselves on research that makes a real difference to the world around us. We believe that research, education and professional practice belong together with each shaping and informing the other. Discover how a selection of SPARC research projects, led by BU staff, students and external collaborators, are making a positive impact on society.

Upcoming Event

Premiere of AHRC 'Representing Parasport' project film Parallel Lines at Poole Lighthouse, 26th November 2021

Research themes

Fostering an interdisciplinary agenda and innovative and creative methodologies that address both sporting and social concerns, there are two overlapping strands to our research.

Funded research portfolio

Bailey, R., (Historic Environment Scotland), Manley (Bath), Silk (Bournemouth) & Wang (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, People’s Republic of China). Producing/Consuming ‘Romantic Scotland’: Exhibitions, Heritage, Nation & the Chinese Market. AHRC (AH/P009808/1).

Evans, G., Lock, D., Blake, A. Active Ageing Evaluation. Active Dorset.

Freeman, P. (Essex) & Rees, T. Coach, Athlete, and Relational Influences on Development Athletes’ Attitudes, Intentions, and Willingness to Dope. IOC 2016 Olympic Research Programme.

Pullen, E. (PI, Loughborough) & Silk, M. (CO-I). (2020-2022). Gendered re-presentations of disability: Equality, empowerment and marginalisation in Paralympic media. AHRC (AH/T006684/1).

Saqib, N (Qatar University). Filo, K (Griffith University). Geurin, A (Griffith University), Kennelly, M (Griffith University). Lock, D (Bournemouth University). Theodorakis, N (Qatar University). & Soba, R (Qatar University). A Comparison of Sport Event Participation Outcomes across Qatar and Australia. Funded by the Qatar National Research Foundation (NPRP9-172-5-021).

Silk, M., Hubbard, P. (Kent) Fusco, C. (Toronto), Blanchette, T. (UFRDJ, Brazil) and Almeida, (UFPR, Brazil). Sex work in the context of sports mega events: Examining the impacts of Rio 2016. ESRC (ES/N018656/1).

Silk (Bournemouth), CoI’s: Hodges (Bournemouth), Scullion (Bournemouth), Jackson (Bournemouth), Stutterheim (Bournemouth), Rich (Bath) Howe (Loughborough), Silva (Nottingham) & Misener (Western Ontario). Re-presenting para-sport bodies: Disability & the cultural legacy of the Paralympics. AHRC (AH/P003842/1).

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