Equality, diversity and inclusion

Our research, expertise and experience is applied to the real world problems of populations disadvantaged or under-represented due to age, disability, gender, poverty, race/ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual/gender orientation, and social class.

Utilising established and innovative methodologies, we critically examine structural and cultural inequalities and assess the effectiveness of measures taken to promote diversity and inclusion in and through sport.

We work with a broad range of funders and stakeholders including research councils, charities and social enterprises, national and international governing bodies of sport, policy makers, government, sports clubs and commercial organisations.

Our research informs the strategic, operational and representational aspects of sport, enhancing participation, coaching, leadership and governance in sport, and the promotion of positive outcomes including educational engagement and attainment, health and social wellbeing.

Our academic staff are happy to discuss research collaboration, as well as research studentships and self-funded PhDs. To find out more about academics working in this research area, please click on the 'People' tab below.


Current research specialisms include:

  • Factors influencing marginalised young people’s engagement in physical education, physical activity and sport with a focus on the experiences of young people who experience disability
  • Representation and experiences of ethnically diverse players, coaches and leaders, and effectiveness of measures to address racialised inequities in sports
  • Parental facilitation of children's engagement with elite parasport
  • Sport, physical activity and education for development (UNESCO)
  • Social class, disadvantaged communities and sport
  • Gender equality and inclusion in para sport media.

Real-world impact

Here are some examples of where our research has had an impact:

  • Levelling the field? – Dr Steven Bradbury’s research is influencing strategies, policies and programmes to increase the representation of BAME coaches in men’s professional football in England. The work has helped to shape the Football Association’s (FA) national strategic approach to increase BAME representation in coach education and employment.
  • Using sport to help tackle serious youth violence – Our academics are collaborating with StreetGames, a national charity that helps bring sport to disadvantaged communities, to help tackle serious youth violence. The project will ultimately outline how and why community sport has a significant role to play as part of a multi-agency approach.
  • Inspiring coaches from disadvantaged communities – Our researchers have outlined a series of recommendations to enhance the diversity of sport coaches across the UK, following a project with Sporting Communities.
  • Promoting physical activity for individuals with mental health problems – Our researchers are advancing understanding of the benefits that physical activity can have for people experiencing various mental health problems.
  • Highlighting opportunities created by disability-inclusive sport – A study examining the Flyerz hockey programme has revealed how taking an actively inclusive approach to sport can result in widespread benefit for players and their communities.


If you would like to collaborate with our researchers, engage in consultancy or discuss potential PhD projects, please contact them using the information on their staff profile.

Our research staff and their areas of research interest are listed below:

  • Dr Steve Bradbury – Examining racialised inequities in sports participation, coaching and leadership.
  • Dr Janine Coates – Examining factors influencing marginalised young people’s engagement in physical activity and sport; and the health and wellbeing benefits outdoor learning (e.g. Forest School), with a focus on inclusion and equality.
  • Nik Dickerson – Examining mediated representations of race, gender, and national identity within sport and popular culture.
  • Prof Paul Downward – Social, economic, health and well-being effects of sport and physical activity.
  • Professor Richard Giulianotti – Sport and globalisation, social inclusion (particularly the ‘sport for development and peace’ sector), youth, sport mega-events, crime and deviance, sport and policing/security, migration, sport policy, and social theory.
  • Dr Carolynne Mason – Impact of participation in sport and physical activity on social outcomes in marginalised communities.
  • Emma Pullen – The relationship between sport, social inclusion, and health and wellbeing.
  • Caron Walpole – University Teacher in Sport Management and Research Associate (Safer Together Through Sport).
  • Dr Gareth Wiltshire – The social determinants of physical activity and health.
  • Dr Serhat Yilmaz – Sports agents and the protection of young athletes in sport.

Current PhD projects

Our doctoral researchers (PhDs):

  • Nouf Bamuhair – An investigation of Saudi women's participation in sport.
  • Michael Bukur Ii – How can community health and wellbeing programmes engage lower socioeconomic groups more effectively?: Learning from parkrun's outreach initiative.
  • Laura Davies – The challenges of supporting students with SEN and Autism in international education: An examination of teacher experiences in Thailand.
  • Ross Ensor – Identifying and addressing racial inequalities in sports coaching.
  • Ximing Fan – A figurational study on the physical activity behaviour of Chinese communities in the UK.
  • Karen Hancock – Physical activity and older people: A behavioural economics perspective.
  • Hannah Kettley-Linsell – The critical issue of gender and sport in a changing world: The first playing field.
  • Alessio Norrito – Sport for Development and Peace: Inclusion practices for forced migrants and refugees in Sicily.

To find out more about PhD opportunities in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, visit our Postgraduate research webpages.

Experts in Sport podcast: Race, ethnicity, and racism in sports coaching

Host Martin Foster introduces an international online forum featuring leading academics looking at the key themes in race, ethnicity, and racism in sports coaching.


Listen here