CCSE Professors, David McGillivray and Gayle McPherson recently returned from a week in Tokyo, Japan, as part of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)-funded Japan-UK project focused on the Paralympic Games and Social Change. The project is designed to build Japanese research capacity around disability studies and sport to positively impact the lives of people with disabilities. In March 2019, six Japanese colleagues visited the UK to learn about disability sport studies and visit Stoke Mandeville, while in June UK colleagues visited Tokyo for a week to understand more about the way the Paralympic Games 2020 are to be leveraged to the benefit of people with disabilities in Japan. Professors McGillivray and McPherson participated in a tour of games venues, helped host a policy forum and shared future research plans during a symposium held at the Houses of Parliament, attended by members of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, government ministers and Japanese academics in the field of disability sport.
Parasport events like the Paralympic Games are often heralded for raising awareness of disability-related issues and for transforming attitudes towards people with a disability in the host nation, and internationally. However, building on several large comparative research projects undertaken over the last five years, Professor’s McGillivray and McPherson have demonstrated the need for concrete, resourced and effectively leveraged strategies if the enthusiasm and excitement generated by events is to be sustained in the longer term. The project continues until December 2019 and progress can be followed at http://paralegacy2020.net/about/.