Recently, I had the privilege of attending the European Association of Sport Management (EASM) conference in my home city of Belfast, Northern Ireland; the focus being ‘Forward thinking in Sport Management: strengthening inclusivity, accessibility and sustainability’.
The student presentations were interspersed with a series of informative keynote speeches, outlining how to form our own research agenda (Professor Heather Gibson, University of Florida) and developing a stream of research that will be cited (Professor T. Bettina Cornwell, Lundquist College of Business); lessons learned from being an early career researcher (Dr Ashley Thompson, Brock University), and how to go about getting published (Professor Paul Downward, Loughborough University and Professor Kathy Babiak, University of Michigan).
As well as the two-day seminar, we headed out for dinner on Monday night to get to know one another a little more, making connections and friendships that will last well beyond EASM.
A sincere thanks must go to Dr Chris Horbel (Norwegian School of Sport Sciences) and Professor Bram Constandt (Ghent University, Belgium) for leading the seminar and providing great insight for all students.
Following the completion of the PhD seminar, the conference began with the opening ceremony and drinks reception at Belfast City Hall on Tuesday evening, in preparation for the conference beginning at the Europa Hotel the following morning. Over the course of the next three days, we were treated to four thought-provoking keynote speeches: Professor Simon Shibli (Sheffield Hallam University) on ‘Equality, Diversity and Inclusion- the right thing to do and good for business’; Professor Simon Darcy (UT Sydney) on ‘Sport co-design, and reshaping research engagement with not for people with disability’; as well as Professor Mike Weed (Canterbury Christ Church University) posing the question ‘Does sport care enough about climate change?… and what is it prepared to do about it?’. To close, Professor Alison Doherty (University of Western Ontario) detailed the importance of continued interdisciplinary – and trans-disciplinary – research for sport management. Among the keynotes, there were a plethora of sessions available to explore, with 9-10 rooms operating simultaneously. The sessions were grouped based on presentations in the areas of: diversity and inclusion issues in sport management; sport events; sport governance and policy; sport management education; sport marketing and sponsorship; sport media and communication; sustainability and sport management; strategy, leadership and stakeholder management in sport; and broader, new and critical aspects of sport management.
Among these sessions, flying the flag for UWS, it was great to see Professor David McGillivray (on behalf of Professor Gayle McPherson and Professor Laura Misener) presenting on ‘Storying event legacy: narrative analysis as a tool to examine post-event experiences’ and Dr Liz Carlin on ‘A review of the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health as a measurement of disability within sport’. As well as the presentation sessions, workshops were taking place, focusing on a variety of issues, from doping in sport, to women’s football development in Europe, to online hate and sport; and a poster session on various related topics. The numerous options noted above allowed for much learning to be had, thus ensuring plenty to think about for the discipline of sport management moving forward.