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Durham University

Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Sporting Lives, Subcultures and Performance

Why we research this area

Sports participation, competition and fandom can be exhilarating and enjoyable. Sporting environments can also be harsh, discriminatory, and ultimately, unhealthy. Researchers in this theme focus on exploring some of the more challenging aspects of sport and identifying ways we can improve sporting experiences for performers, coaches, managers, and fans alike.


What we do

  • Our interdisciplinary research explores the range of ways in which sport affects people’s lives, how people can best be supported for sports performance and provides insight to the experiences of minority groups within sport. To do this, staff and research students work with a range of partners including anti-racism organization ‘Kick It Out’, the National Football Museum, and funders the British Academy, the British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine, the AHRC and the ESRC.

    Our current research projects include:


How we've made a difference

Within this research theme, we have especially sought to influence media and public debates around the lives of those engaged in sport, whether that be in competing or spectating.

Our research is also regularly featured in national and international media with, for example, Dr Stacey Pope's work on female sport fans highlighted in the following articles:

Why Is 'Sexy' Always The Default When It Comes To Pictures Of Female Football Fans?
Why rugby always attracts more women than football

We’ve also developed new ways of supporting and educating all those involved in sport, for example, Honorary Fellow Dr Nicola Keay and Dr Karen Hind recently developed a BASEM endorsed and funded website on the risks and consequences of RED-S:

www.health4performance.co.uk