Activity: Participating in or organising an event › Organising a conference, workshop, ...
The EU White Paper on Sport (2007) states that “all residents should have access to sport. The specific needs and situation of underrepresented groups need to be addressed, and the special role that sport can play for young people, people with disabilities and people from less privileged backgrounds must be taken into account”.
Since the publication of the White Paper increasing media attention has been focused on the rights of people with disabilities in accessing and feeling included in sport. People with disabilities are regarded as the world´s largest minority group by the World Health Organization/World Bank. Over one billion people (about 15% of the world´s population) experience marginalisation in employment, income, health, and in our focus, sporting engagement (participation, spectatorship, and employment). This represents a significant challenge for policy makers, academics, managers and other stakeholders involved in sport. Moreover, the number of people with disabilities is rising and will continue to increase in the coming five decades; those involved in the management of sport need to think strategically to ensure the inclusivity of sporting activity.
In many countries, the existing solutions to address inclusivity are focused on promoting legislation, policies and programmes to facilitate equality of access and encourage participation in sport. Nevertheless, academic research has demonstrated that the inclusion and participation of disabled people in sport environments at all levels remains a challenge.
Some remark that research on disability sport in the sport management domain is nascent and to date, most extant research is focused upon active sport participation with more recent analysis extending the traditional demographics to focused on the aged. While active participation is important, there are wider conceptualisations of engagement that also involve the need to think about spectatorship and employment. It has been recognised that these areas have been neglected. For example, EU funding programmes for sport ignore the various social benefits that can arise through sport spectatorship or employment in sport.
To bridge this gap, what is needed is more research that takes a wider perspective on the management of accessibility and inclusivity in sport and looks beyond simply participation. What is also needed, given that this is an under-researched area, is the engagement of sport management practitioners to ensure that academic research is relevant and can have practical impact. For this reason, this workshop seeks to bring together academics, industry practitioners, and institutions from Europe, the US, Australia and other countries to deliver on the following three aims:
1. To allow academic researchers and industry practitioners a forum to present their latest accessibility research; 2. To foster discussion between academics, practitioners and institutions on the state of accessibility in sport management in order to drive new pathways for research and action; 3. To provide sufficient indicators and best practices that contribute gradually to break the resistance from upper level managers to the effective implementation of inclusive and accessible sporting environments.