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Seminar – Exploring the Social Benefits of Informal and Lifestyle Sports

Members of the Institute of the Environment, Health and Societies, Social Sciences and Health theme, are part of a successful bid for an ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) seminar series titled ‘Exploring the Social Benefits of Informal and Lifestyle Sports’.

The seminar series is led by the University of Brighton in partnership with Brunel University, London and Bournemouth University. On June 15th 2015 a seminar took place to discuss issues of institutionalisation and regulation of informal and lifestyle sports and Stav Thraves of BN1 Kitesurfing represented the BKSA on the panel.  Stav gives us an insight into the subjects discussed; ‘Very interesting debate for sports like Parkour, Skateboarding and Kitesurfing.  When any sport grows, we are all experience the same similarities from a grass roots level. Especially when Institutionalisation, Regulation & Risk may govern our sports. It’s just how do we manage this influence and what impact can it have on the growth.

Parkour the main subject of the day, is very much in its infancy years thus meeting huge challenges as it’s being consider for future Olympics. Question being … will it create debatable change?

Eugene Minogue from Parkour UK voiced many similarities that we have meet in our journey of kitesurfing and stated the importance that informal sports like ‘Parkour’ pride themselves on an anti competitive ethos, where more importantly the sport needs recognition of Space & Place and in his words ‘Splace’ to remain healthy.

Parkour education & training is directed through key authentic coaches rather than heavily qualified leaders. There are qualifications but an emphasis on an all encompassing culture that learns through its practice and meetings proves how a Primal level sport such as Parkour could be a headline act to watch in years to come.

Questions for the Panel were based mainly on the diverse risks involved with our sports and how we have had to regulate this to a safe and manageable level from the pioneering years to the more consumer level that we currently operate within. Also how the Olympics play a key part in recognition but what were the diverse effects when challenged up against existing credited sports such as windsurfing. 

In summary we all experience a similar journey with growth of our sports, we should just be very aware that the management of a sport moving forward has a healthy vision for growth and recognition.’