LSA 2019: Conference report from ‘Stirling Bridge Team’!

We are delighted that Samantha, Miriam, Zoe and Kevin have provided us their perspective on the 2019 conference. It is great for the leisure community to welcome new members exploring new topics!

Samantha Punch – Professor of Sociology, University of Stirling

LSA 2019 was a great first conference for the Stirling bridge team who are new to Leisure Studies. We had some really thought-provoking interdisciplinary dialogues over the 3 days.

We were delighted that the card game of bridge was welcomed as an emerging academic sub-field of mind sports within Leisure Studies, with some interesting initial reactions from academics at the conference, for example:

 “I never thought I’d learn about bridge at an academic conference!” (David Scott, Wolverhampton University)

“It didn’t occur to me that bridge is a sport nor that it would be recognised by the IOC.” (Tom Fletcher, Leisure Studies Association)

It was our first time presenting our sociology of bridge papers to academics in Leisure Studies, including papers on the opportunities/challenges of a university bridge club (Kevin Judge, Bridge PhD student), bridge partnerships, emotions and players’ identities (Zoe Russell, WBF Funded), interactions at the table (Miriam Snellgrove, EBED Funded) and bridge, motivations and well-being (Samantha Punch and Elizabeth Graham, WBF and EBED Funded). We look forward to future collaborations and to meeting again in Manchester next year.

Kevin Judge – Bridge PhD Student, Funded by EBED, UK and Irish Bridge Unions and the University of Stirling

Many thanks to the organisers, delegates and audiences at the LSA 2019 at Abertay University, Dundee. The variety of seminars and talks made for an engaging 3 days that pushed the boundaries of the way we think about and do leisure. It was welcoming, warm and very social. Fantastic presentations on dance and emotions, revising the message, from the myth, of grime music, summer camps and attachment theory, and the purpose of avant-garde in leisure. Personally, the engagement from my session helped to discuss further the formal and informal aspects of community building through play, it allowed further interpretations on positionality in research, and how the biography of participants and researcher can influence data collection, and provided a platform to outline the future of the PhD project, including data generation and dissemination. LSA 2019 was an engaging and rewarding experience, and we are looking forward to Manchester 2020.

Zoe Russell – WBF Funded

Presenting my first ever conference paper at LSA 2019 was a very rewarding experience. Despite presenting on a topic that is not my core area of academic study, I felt very supported by the rest of the Stirling bridge research team, whose presentations had already made an impact on delegates when I arrived to present the final paper. Attendees seemed genuinely interested in our work, and my contribution around the sociology of emotions was well received in my session. I felt that the amount of questions and suggestions from the audience was great, showing they had engaged with the paper in many ways. This was later reinforced by the post-conference discussion with delegates over drinks, where I was lucky to engage in deep conversation with a colleague from another University working on the sociology of emotions. Whilst it may have been surprising to some to hear presentations about the card game bridge, a mind sport, which may not be well understood or incorporated into the research of the leisure studies community, I felt there was a huge amount of positivity towards the research and evidence of potential to take things forward in many new directions. Thanks to the LSA organisers for accepting the paper and for hosting a welcoming and interdisciplinary conference with so many interesting contributions.

Dr. Miriam Snellgrove – EBED Funded

LSA 2019 was my first presentation at a Leisure Studies conference and it was a really positive experience. My fellow panel presenters were friendly and supportive and the questions asked by the audience interesting and helpful. The LSA is a great place to try out new and emerging ideas in a collegial environment. The interdisciplinary nature of the conference also means that you get to hear about a range topics, diverse methodological perspectives and different theoretical ideas not always so present at a more conventional disciplinary-specific conference. Everyone I met was so enthusiastic and engaging, I look forward to returning for LSA 2020.




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