LSA Annual Conference 2019: Updates

Abertay University are delighted to be hosting this year’s Leisure Studies Association conference 9th-11thJuly 2019.

We have received over 70 abstracts from leisure scholars all over the globe, but we are still keen to receive your contributions. Thus, we have extended the deadline for abstracts to 19thApril 2019.  To submit your abstract, provide a 300-word summary of your presentation including information on the aim(s) or purpose, methodological frameworks, theoretical frameworks and key points of discussion.  In addition, include the names of all key contributors, affiliations and which stream you would like to be entered.  Abstracts should be sent to More information can be found at our website

There is still some planning to do, but we’d like to update members on how this year’s conference is shaping up…

Keynote speakers

We have three keynote speakers at this year’s conference – Prof Marina Novelli, Mike Hall and Kirsty Cumming.

Dr Marina Novelli is a Professor of Tourism and International Development and Academic Lead for the Responsible Futures Research and Enterprise Agenda at the University of Brighton (UK). Dr Novelli is internationally renowned for her work on niche leisure and tourism, and has vast experience of working with International Development Organisations. Through her research and practice, Dr Novelli seeks to generate new knowledge on ways in which tourism can play a key role in sustainable development by supporting local economies, the environment, and people.

Keynote synopsis: While serious leisure is not new concept combining amateur, hobbyist, or voluntary core activities engendered with deep self-fulfillment, travel philanthropy is a growing trend merging philanthropic principles with social-justice-focused forms of leisure and tourism. Arising from frustration with the ineffectiveness of much conventional aid and traditional philanthropic giving, travel philanthropy is seen as a form of development assistance whereby funds, labour and/or other resources flow directly from the leisure and tourism industry into community development and conservation initiatives.  Over the past ten years of my business and leisure travel around Africa, I recall departure lounges recurrently packed with flocks of volunteers and do-gooders, made of teenagers on a gap year, senior citizens on a re-find themselves mission, members of religious organisations and ‘change-makers’ wanting to do their bit.  The number of people willing to ‘do good’ and ‘change the world’ appeared to me dramatically on the increase. High-profile events like the Live Aid Concerts of 1985 and 2005 and campaigns like the Make Poverty History, musicians engaging in a political stunt like Bono and Bob Geldolf and business icons like Warren Buffett, Bill and Melinda Gates and Richard Branson have fostered a popular culture of philanthropy in general and charitable gift giving in particular.  These are currently playing an ever-increasing role in the public discourse on philanthropy as a fashionable practice of ‘doing good’ in the more developed economies.

There is a view that ‘giving’ represents a good thing and as a honourable and generous act that lies at the heart of all philanthropic engagements. Of course, as a westerner traveling in Africa, it is easy to be drawn into the desire of ‘helping the less fortunate’ or ‘doing things differently’ as a philanthropist, volunteer or technical advisor. However, the reality is that we often fail to even understand our role as individuals traveling into unknown lands.  This keynote will draw on a set of critical reflections on the valuespractices and impact of serious leisure endeavours, with particular attention being given to traditionalmodern and post-modern philanthropy. Drawing upon empirical evidence from research conducted in Africa (particularly in The Gambia, Kenya and Ghana), it is aimed at furthering debates towards a critical understanding of the problematic relationship between serious leisure, travel philanthropy and sustainable development.

Kirsty Cumming is the Engagement and Policy Manager of Community Leisure UK, the association that specialises in charitable leisure trusts across the UK. Kirsty has extensive experience in working with leisure trusts, local authorities, local and national governments, and the NHS to advocate the role of public leisure services.

Keynote synopsis: Local authorities are facing unprecedented budget challenges, whilst demand for health, education and social care priorities continue to grow. Coupled with external pressures, such as austerity and Brexit, how can investment in public leisure services best tackle multiple interconnected priorities?  Community leisure trusts are rooted in the local communities they serve, with services co-designed and implemented to support those most in need. This type of true collaboration between those who deeply care about public services, not shareholders, can yield great public value. But how can we achieve this? This session will explore these partnerships, discussing who public leisure services should be for and how we can drive greater public value through public leisure.

Mike Hall Bsc BArch specialises in the design of complex sports facilities, notably including Lee Valley White Water Centre for the London 2012 Olympic Games, the sustainability-motivated sports facility of Portsmouth University, and Derby Arena. His work explores the utilisation of leisure architecture as community-facing and social spaces as well as places for sporting excellence.

Keynote synopsis: Strategies for facility provision are in constant need of change as they respond to the evolution of societal needs, environmental requirements and financial models. To create buildings and places that promote activity and societal wellbeing, we employ a process of innovation, which is supported by a number of critical design concepts.  Mikes talk will look at each of these concepts in detail including the principles of active design, the smart stacking of leisure facilities, multipurpose and flexible social spaces, and the pioneering use of technology to enhance the sport and leisure experience. To demonstrate these concepts in action, Mike will refer to a number of relevant projects including Hebburn Central, Beacon of Light, University of Stirling Sports, The Wave and a new facility for the University of Portsmouth.

Social Events

We have three social events over the course of the conference

Monday 8th July – Walking Tour of Dundee (optional event at additional cost).  Meet up with conference delegates before the conference gets underway.  Dundee Tours are providing conference delegates a walking tour of Dundee’s main sights.  This is at the discounted price of £12 pp for conference delegates and can be booked directly via our partner’s website here.

Tuesday 9th July – Civic Reception and V&A Dundee visit

Join us for a Civic Reception from the Lord Provost Ian Borthwick at 5.30pm at the City Chambers. There will be a drinks reception and a finger buffer followed a short walk to a private viewing of the Scottish Design Gallery at the V&A Dundee at 7pm.

Wednesday 10th July – Conference Dinner

The conference dinner will be held at Discovery Point (adjacent to the V&A). From 6pm, join us for wine reception aboard the RRS Discovery where you can tour the ship. Dinner will be served at 7pm followed by coffee and traditional Scottish Tablet.  Our evening of festivities will continue with a traditional Scottish Ceilidh band.

Social events on conference days are included in our full conference packages, but additional tickets for delegates’ guests or delegates with day passes are available on our online shop.

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