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Durham University

Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Publication details

Tupper, E, Atkinson, S & Pollard, TM Doing more with movement: constituting healthy publics in a movement volunteering programme. Palgrave Communications. 2020;6:94.

Author(s) from Durham


The recent phenomenon of movement volunteering programmes is a form of ‘fitness philanthropy’ that combines exercise with volunteering in order for physical activity to generate a more widely shared set of benefits. These newest practices of fitness philanthropy radically rework both exercise and volunteering through the ways in which these come together and take place outdoors and in the everyday spaces of the street or community. The paper explores these new practices through the movement volunteering programme ‘GoodGym’, in relation to the concept of ‘healthy publics’. Fieldwork comprised ethnography, including participant observation, interviews, go-along interviews, conversations, photography and an end of fieldwork discussion workshop. We focus on the experiences of three different constituencies in GoodGym: the volunteers; the participants and passers-by; the space and atmosphere. The formation of these dynamic, multiple and shifting healthy publics emerge through the complex intersections of several processes. We draw particular attention to the centrality in the new fitness philanthropy practices of visibility and spectacle, sociality and merging mobilities in constituting healthy publics.