Sport: Power to Change the World? 2nd Global Symposium

Rob  Fisher's picture
December 1, 2019 to December 2, 2019
Czech Republic
Subject Fields: 
Sport History / Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Humanities

‘Sport’, as Mandela famously observed, ‘has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.’


The power of sport to serve as a force for social good is well-documented. Various types of sports bring people from different generations and backgrounds together for a common purpose, provide a sense of security, belonging and identity, enjoyment and excitement; and for participants a sense of fulfilment, well-being and physical fitness. In short, sport and its associated values can act as a powerful driving force for individual growth, social change and collective engagement.


At the same time, the misuse and abuse of power by the people and institutions that help to entrench the pervasiveness of sport in modern culture casts a dark shadow over practically every sporting activity. In response, there has been a vociferous backlash, including from sports journalists weary of the doping and the match-fixing and the behaviour of elite athletes and sports organisations; from fans disenchanted by the way their sports have become submerged in the world of global commerce; and by scholars and commentators critical of the disproportionate importance given to sport in the modern world. Double standards and tainted values feeding a generation of flawed celebrities and skewed priorities.


The second meeting of the Sport conference provides a platform for participants from all relevant professions, disciplines and practices to explore, assess, and build action around key themes relating to the dynamics of power as it relates to sport with a view to forming a selective publication to engender further collaboration, research and discussion. 


This includes, but is not limited to:


Power of sport to impact individuals, communities, cultures, nations

Power of sports figures: privileges of fame, expectations as role models, etc.

Power and institutions that fund, regulate, commodify sport

Power and sports clubs/organisations

Power and sport fans

How sport (dis)empowers women, people of colour, people with disabilities, Indigenous/First Nations People, LGBTQI+ people, economically disadvantaged people, etc.

Impact of countervailing external powers on sport (e.g. law, politics, public opinion, etc.)

Strategies for dealing with abuse and misuse of power by individuals and institutions in sport



This is a highly interactive conference wherein we encourage presenters to solicit feedback on their work with a mindset of cultural and intellectual humility. We believe that through collaboration we can innovate and improve our research and practices to better serve our organisations, institutions, and/or the communities with which we work. 


While we will therefore consider traditional research and paper proposals, we are particularly interested in:


workshops on sport activism, activist collectives, and case studies of successful and unsuccessful activist endeavours in the field;

proposals from professionals that focus on workshopping or soliciting feedback on improving practices, training, or policies related to the key themes identified;

projects that explore the multifarious nature of sport through art, artistic creation, and narratives

As a further distinctive feature of the conference we will also aim to draw together participants’ initial perspectives around these key themes as a mutually agreed and shared ‘real time’ outcome; potentially a vlog or podcast, as well as establishing a series of related, on-going cross context research projects to feed into future dialogue around this fascinating inter-disciplinary theme.


What to Send

The aim of this inclusive interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc. Please feel free to put forward proposals that you think will get the message across, in whatever form.


300 word proposals for participation should be submitted by Friday 31st May 2019. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.


All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.


You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 14th June 2019.


If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 13th September 2019.


Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.


E-mails should be entitled: Sport & Power Submission.


Where to Send

Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:


Derek Peaple:

Project Administrator:


What’s so Special About Progressive Connexions Events?

A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashion conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.


A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.


A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.


An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.


An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.



Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.


Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.

Contact Info: 

Organising Chair Derek Peaple:
Project Administrator: