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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr AJ Rankin-Wright

Assistant Professor in the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences

(email at alexandra.j.rankin-wright@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

AJ joined the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences in August 2018 as an Assistant Professor, having previously worked as a researcher in the School of Sport at Leeds Beckett University and for the International Council for Coach Education. AJ holds a first class honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport from Durham University, a Postgraduate certificate in Sport, Leisure and Culture from Leeds Metropolitan University (now Leeds Beckett University), and a PhD in ‘Racial and Gender Equality and Diversity in Sport Coaching’, awarded following a three year bursary, from Leeds Beckett University.

AJ is an award winning sport sociologist, whose work is recognised nationally and internationally within the area of ‘race’ and gender equity and issues of diversity and inclusion related to sports coaching. With a strong commitment to interdisciplinary research AJ has collaborated with researchers across Universities and practitioners from a range of national and international sport organisations, including the International Council for Coach Education, UK Coaching, UK Sport, Sport Wales, Sport Northern Ireland, Sporting Equals, Women in Sport, The Football Association and British Cycling. Major international projects include the Erasmus+ funded iCoachKids project that has informed the European curriculum for children’s coaches, and the European strategy for recruiting, retaining and educating more specialist coaches across Europe.

Research Interests

AJ’s research interests reside within the sociocultural study of sport, and primarily ‘race’, ethnicity, gender and their intersections in the context of sport coaching and leadership. Through her research, AJ addresses and challenges social (in)equalities, inclusive practice, and diversity related to participation, coaching, leadership, and organisational cultures in sport, as well as the delivery of coach education and development. AJ is particularly interested in the inclusion of marginalised voices and perspectives and has employed a Critical Race Theory and Black feminism theoretical lens to examine the policy and practice landscape for ‘race’ and gender equality in sport. Her research uses predominantly qualitative methodologies to explore these issues, focusing on national issues alongside a global perspective. 

AJ’s research has been used as the evidence for impactful outreach activities for national and international sport organisations. A number of policy and practitioner implications have been drawn from her research, disseminated and actioned. These have included informing European sport curriculum and strategy for recruiting, retaining and educating more specialist coaches, and the development of organisational priorities and strategies for improving social inequalities and inclusive practice in sport organisations. Project outputs have been used as educational resources by sport organisations, for example workshops, podcasts, and factsheets, to inform sport coaching development and education, and improve equity and diversity in sport coaching.

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Riches, G, Rankin-Wright, A.J, Swain, S & Kuppan, V (2017). Moving Forward: Critical Reflections on Doing Social Justice Research. In Leisure and Sporting Equity: the challenge of researching across diversity. Fletcher, T, Long, J & Watson, R Routledge. 209-221.
  • Rankin-Wright, Alexander J. & Norman, Leanne (2017). Sports Coaching and the Inclusion of Black Women in the United Kingdom. In Race, Gender and Sport: The Politics of Ethnic 'Other' Girls and Women. Ratna, Aarti & Samie, Samaya F. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. 204-224.
  • Rankin-Wright, A.J., Hylton, K. & Norman, L. (2017). The policy and provision landscape for racial and gender equality in sport coaching. In Leisure and Sporting Equity: the challenge of researching across diversity. Fletcher, T., Long, J. & Watson, R. Routledge. 194-208.
  • Hylton, K. & Rankin, A. (2016). ‘Race’, Sport, and Politics. In Handbook of Sport and Politics. Bairner, A., Kelly, J. & Lee, J.W. Routledge.

Journal Article

  • Rankin-Wright, A.J., Hylton, K. & Norman, L. (2019). Critical Race Theory and Black feminist insights into 'race’ and gender equality. Ethnic and Racial Studies
  • Rankin-Wright, A.J., Hylton, K. & Norman, L. (2019). Negotiating the coaching landscape: Experiences of Black men and women coaches in the United Kingdom. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 54(5): 603-621.
  • Norman, Leanne, Rankin-Wright, Alexandra J. & Allison, Wayne (2018). “It’s a Concrete Ceiling; It’s Not Even Glass” Understanding Tenets of Organizational Culture That Supports the Progression of Women as Coaches and Coach Developers. Journal of Sport and Social Issues 42(5): 393-414.
  • Norman, Leanne & Rankin-Wright, Alexandra (2018). Surviving rather than thriving: Understanding the experiences of women coaches using a theory of gendered social well-being. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 53(4): 424-450.
  • Rankin-Wright, A.J., Tee, Jason, Mitchell, Tom, Cowburn, Ian, Till, Kevin & Lara-Bercial, Sergio (2017). International Sport Coaching Journal Digest. International Sport Coaching Journal 4(3): 369-372.
  • Mitchell, Tom, Rankin-Wright, A.J., Tee, Jason & Lara-Bercial, Sergio (2017). International Sport Coaching Journal Digest. International Sport Coaching Journal 4(2): 260-263.
  • Rankin-Wright, Alexandra J., Hylton, Kevin & Norman, Leanne (2016). Off-Colour Landscape: Framing Race Equality in Sport Coaching. Sociology of Sport Journal 33(4): 357-368.

Report

  • Rankin-Wright, A.J. & Norman, L. (2017). ‘Ignite your Coaching’ Monitoring and Evaluation Project for British Cycling: Final Report. Research Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University.
  • Rankin-Wright, A.J., North, J., Lara-Bercial, S., Fix, M., Veldhoven, N., O’Leary, D., Queen, S., Van der Haegen, K., Navarro, R., García, S., Lara-Bercial, P., Dudeniene, L., Petrovic, L., Balogh, J. & Statkeviciene, B. (2017). Audit of the Children's Coaching Workforce in Seven European countries. Leeds Beckett University on behalf of iCoackKids Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
  • Kaiseler, M., Norman, L., McGoldrick, M., Didymus, F. & Rankin-Wright, AJ. (2017). Evaluation report on “Changing the culture of Coaching” workshop series: A report prepared for Sports Coach UK. Research Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University.
  • Fix, M., Veldhoven, N., Lara-Bercial, S., North, J., Rankin-Wright, A.J., O’Leary, D., Queen, S., Van der Haegen, K., Dupuis, M., Navarro, R., García, S., Piggott, D., Dudeniene, L., Petrovic, L., Balogh, J. & Statkeviciene, B. (2017). Intellectual Output 3 – Activity 7: Coaching Children Literature. Leeds Beckett University on behalf of iCoackKids Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
  • Norman, L., Fitzgerald, H., Stride, A., May, E., Rankin-Wright, A.J., Flintoff, A., O'dwyer, L., Barnes, L., Stanley, R. & Gilbert, V. (2017). Understanding women as sport volunteers. Research Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University.
  • Rankin-Wright, A.J., Norman, L. & Kaiseler, M. (2016). ‘Ignite your Coaching’ Monitoring and Evaluation Project for British Cycling: Executive Summary One. Research Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University.
  • Norman, L. & Rankin-Wright, A.J. (2016). Examining the career pathways and experiences of qualified women coaches and tutors: A report for the English Football Association. Research Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University.
  • North, J., Lara-Bercial, S., Rankin-Wright, A.J., Ashford, M. & Whitaker, L. (2016). Player development systems in the performance pathway in four world-leading badminton nations: A literature review and interviews with experts from Indonesia, Korea, Denmark and Spain. Research Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University.
  • Norman, L., Didymus, F.F. & Rankin-Wright, A.J. (2016). Understanding Occupational Well-being and Women Sports Coaches. Sports Coach UK.
  • Norman, L. & Rankin-Wright, A.J. (2016). Understanding what male and female athletes want from sport coaching - Supporting coaches to be gender-responsive practitioners: A report for Sport Wales. Research Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University.
  • Hylton, K., Long, J., Parnell, D. & Rankin, A.J. (2015). Race Equality Foundation Briefing: Race’, Racism and Participation in Sport. Race Equality Foundation.
  • Norman, L., North, J., Hylton, K., Flintoff, A. & Rankin, A.J. (2014). Sporting experiences and coaching aspirations among Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups. Sports Coach UK.

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