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Leveraging parasport events for sustainable community participation


Presentation at Impact of Events and Tourism symposium in Gothenburg, March, 2014

Presentation at Impact of Events and Tourism symposium in Gothenburg, March, 2014

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  • 1. Leveraging Parasports Events for Sustainable Community Participation Professor David McGillivray University of the West of Scotland Laura Misener, Western University David Legg, Mount Royal University Gayle McPherson & David McGillivray, University of West Scotland
  • 2. Leveraging Parasport Events for Sustainable Community Participation Research Aim:  To examine how the hosting of different forms of sport events for persons with a disability are being leveraged to create opportunities for community participation, and influence community attitudes towards disability Research Objectives  Compare and contrast social legacy tactics, strategies, and programs  Analyze spectator, volunteer, and community members’ attitudes and awareness of disability  Framework for leveraging parasport events to benefit community participation opportunities, and influence attitudes
  • 3. Rationale  Article 30 of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with a Disability states that persons with a disability should have the right to participate on an equal basis in community life including recreational, leisure and sporting activities (UN, 2009)  But barriers include need for assistance, inaccessible facilities and transportation, the need for specialized equipment, and community attitudinal misperceptions about disability (HRSDC, 2010; WHO, 2011)  Hosting sporting events can offer an opportunity to:  access scarce resources to create more accessible infrastructure (e.g. sport and recreation facilities, transportation)  increase supportive services (i.e. coaching, volunteers, programs)  gain access to specialized equipment, and  potentially change attitudes about disability (Sherry et al., 2011)  However, little empirical evidence exists supporting these claims (Darcy & Appleby, 2011) and our project seeks to address this gap
  • 4. Conceptual framework  Disability is socially constructed in relation to broader societal structures - inaccessible buildings and transport, discriminatory attitudes, and negative cultural stereotypes are ‘disabling’ people with impairments (WHO, 2011; Barnes & Mercer, 2003)  The social model frames disability as a complex political and social creation based on barriers, prejudice, and exclusion created by society (purposely or inadvertently)  This study uses a critical disability lens to explore exclusionary social structures and examine the ways in which events are being used to devolve those structures to allow for greater levels of community participation of persons with a disability
  • 5. Sport Event Legacy  Extensive research exploring the immediate impacts on host cities/regions of hosting large-scale events (Ritchie, 2004; Hall & Hodges, 1996; Spilling, 1998)  Now more focus on the long-term impacts of these events (Dickson et al, 2011; Foley, McGillivray & McPherson, 2011; Preuss 2007; Smith, 2009) - referred to as event ‘legacies’  Economic impact work now complemented with research investigating how these events can also positively impact community development and broader social outcomes:  empowering disadvantaged groups  enhancing local community infrastructure, and  increased community and sport participation  Emphasis on sustainable social legacies of events to ensure broader community benefits
  • 6. Parasport event legacies  Theoretical support for the premise that hosting the parasport events have some positive impact on community infrastructural accessibility and enhancing disability awareness (Cashman and Darcy, 2007; Legg and Gilbert, 2010)  Lack of empirical evidence is compromising the effectiveness of any strategies aimed to create social legacies from these events (Weed & Dowse, 2009) ‘‘events and the opportunities they present are merely the seed capital; what hosts do with that capital is the key to realizing sustainable longer-term legacies” (O’Brien, 2006: p. 258)
  • 7. Glasgow 2014 & ParaPan Am Games 2015 ➺July 23-Aug 3, 2014 ➺Glasgow, Scotland ➺5 parasports, 22 parasport medal events ➺Athletics, Swimming, Powerlifting, Lawn Bowls and Track Cycling ➺Parasport athletes integrated ➺Legacy planning as a general process ➺Aug 7 – Aug 14, 2015 ➺Toronto, Canada ➺15 parasport events ➺Parasport athletes separated by time and space ➺Legacy planning separate for Pan and Parapan Games
  • 8. Research Methodology Type of Evidence Year of Data Collection Example Glasgow 2014 Example Pan American Games 2015 Documentation 2013-2016 Bid Document Glasgow City Council/Scottish Legacy Framework Bid Document Playing for Keeps Strategy Evaluation Reports Physical Artifacts 2013-2016 Media Reports Marketing and Promotional Materials (Brochures, posters) Media Reports Marketing and Promotional Materials (Brochures, posters) Direct Observation 2014-2015 Observation of Glasgow 2014 sport venues Tour Toronto Pan Am Park Visit CIBC Pan and Para Pan Athletes Village Semi-structured Interviews 2013-2016 Chief Executive, Glasgow 2014 Manager of Accessibility Glasgow 2014 Chair of Organizing Committee TO 2015 Lead of Diversity and Inclusion TO 2015 Targeted Interviews: On-site Surveys w/ volunteers & spectators 2014-2015 Scale of Attitudes towards Disabled Persons Glasgow Household Survey Scale of Attitudes towards Disabled Persons
  • 9. Fieldwork progress  Documentary analysis undertaken of strategic plans for Glasgow 2014 legacy ambitions and media coverage  10 strategic interviews conducted with key stakeholders from OC, national and local government, disability persons & disability sport organisations  SADP undertaken with Games volunteers pre-training (c. 2878 responses) – repeated post Games  Disability attitude Qs circulated to community members via Glasgow Household Survey (March 2014) – repeated in 2015
  • 10. Interim findings Glasgow 2014 Ltd  Emphasis on quantity and quality of parasport competition (22 medal events)  Evidence of ‘evangelic’ leadership in the sphere of parasport and wider advocacy for disability issues:  CEO & Head of Sport experienced & powerful advocates  Designated policies, plans and training programme (including volunteers) foreground accessibility, inclusion and equality – it’s just the right thing to do (CEO, G2014)  Appointment of Engagement & Legacy Officer, Accessibility & Inclusion Manager (venues, transport, urban realm), Accessibility Reference Group (users)  BUT, recognition of Games delivery responsibility and limits of legacy expectations: We liquidate and wrap up the company in just a year’s time. We do enable it (legacy), we do support it, we do feed the beast…so it’s important that decisions we make have a direct impact on the success (CEO, G2014)
  • 11. Interim findings Stakeholder groups  Hope that the physical accessibility of the venues…may encourage people to come along and go to these places again (Accessibility & Inclusion Mgr, G2014)  However, the absence of ‘specific’, ‘identifiable’ and ‘resourced’ strategies, tactics and programmes beyond the OC mitigates against social legacies being secured  Host city venue and transport accessibility will be enhanced significantly, for Games-time but these changes may not be permanent or affordable  Knowledge transfer requirement of CGF fails to account for host city/nation needs and opportunities – missed opportunity to embed learning locally and nationally (e.g. secondments, debriefs, dissemination)  The Games provide role models and media coverage BUT choice of parasports does not map easily onto host country sport participation or development pathways
  • 12. Conclusions  Early stages but evidence to date indicates growing recognition of importance of social legacies in the activities of strategic agencies, including Glasgow 2014 OC  Leadership is vital but baton needs to be handed over once Games-time effect passes  Broad aspirations and pledges worth little unless accompanied with resources and strategic planning that extends beyond Games-time period  Some evidence that legacy ambitions have led to investment in Scottish Disability Sport creation of regional sport coordinators