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Durham University

Department of Sociology

Sociology Department Staff

Mr Benjamin Rigby, MA, AFHEA

Contact Mr Benjamin Rigby


Ben is an ESRC funded PhD student in the Department of Sociology, having previously read a BA. Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity (2012-2015) followed by an MA. Social Research Methods (Social Policy; 2016-2017) both from Durham University. His Masters dissertation focused on equity in outdoor walking groups used as public health improvement programmes. In 2019, Ben spent 3 months working for Public Health England as part of the UKRI policy internship scheme.

Ben is an Associate Member of the North-East UKCRC virtual research centre ‘Fuse’ (the Centre for Translational Research into Public Health).

Ben is a core member of the Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences Sport and Physical Activity for Societal Change research group, as well as the Department of Sociology Health research group.

Follow Ben on Twitter: @Benjamin_Rigby

Research Interests

The title of Ben's PhD grant capture is: 'Evidence use and policy implementation in community-based health promotion services'. He is interested in health inequalities and prevailing ideologies in United Kingdom policy systems. His doctoral research primarily explores the conditions within which physical activity policy is developed and implemented. Particular issues of interest include complexity, evidence-based policymaking, policy ambiguity and innovation in local implementation.

Teaching Areas

Ben has worked as a postgraduate teaching assistant on the following modules from 2016 - date:

  • Introduction to Sport Psychology (BA, level 1)
  • Introduction to Physical Activity, Diet and Health (BA, level 1)
  • Physical Activity and Health Psychology (BA, level 2)
  • Perspectives in Social Research (MA)

Ben has also delivered summer schools for Durham University's and Sutton Trust's supported progression programmes.

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Conference Paper

  • Rigby, B.P. (2018), Exploring how national policy-makers understand, interpret and react to the complexity of physical activity promotio, British Sociological Association Sport Study Group Postgraduate Forum: Sporting Identities, Careers and Opportunities. Durham, England.
  • Rigby, B.P. (2018), Exploring the fitness landscape: complexity and physical activity policy making, Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences Postgraduate Conference. Durham, England.
  • Rigby, B.P. (2017), Addressing social disadvantage in physical activity interventions protocol: priority setting and story sharing, Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing 2nd Annual Early Stage Researcher Conference. Durham, England.
  • Rigby, B.P. (2016), From labs, to leisure centres, to legislation: An exercise in shaping political agenda, Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing Physical Activity Special Interest Group Symposium on Exercise Referral. Durham, England.

Masters Thesis

  • Rigby, B.P. (2017). Mapping walks: A scoping review exploring equity integration strategies in outdoor walking group literature. Masters.

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

Other (Print)



  • Rigby, B.P., Donkin, B., Oliver, E.J., Lindsey, I. & Mitchell, I. (2018). Influencing Older People's Physical Activity: A Pilot Rapid Evidence Review Produced on Behalf of the Active Durham Partnership Evidence-based Approach Group.

Show all publications

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2018: Department of Sociology Prize for highest overall Masters in Social Research Methods degree average:
  • 2017: MA Social Research Methods Special Achievement Prize: (highest programme average across Faculty of Social Sciences and Health)
  • 2016: Selected for a studentship from the award winning ESRC funded North East Doctoral Training Centre having been successful in the 2016 competition: There were approximately only 40 studentships available.
  • 2015: Peter Warburton Prize Winner: (Highest overall degree average in Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity)
  • 2015: Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship for Academic Excellence: This prestigious scholarship is awarded to 60 students annually in recognition of their achievements over the previous year.
  • 2014: Vice-Chancellor's Scholarship for Academic Excellence: This prestigious scholarship is awarded to 60 students annually in recognition of their achievements over the previous year.

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