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Call for articles: What is the future of sport and development?

A girl holding a soccer ball abover her head, looking into the distance
Copyrights: UNOSDP (Photo)

Call for articles: What is the future of sport and development?

Is it time for sport and development to reimagine its role and purpose? Is it time for sport to change? sportanddev launches a call for articles.

As disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues around the world, sport organisations have undoubtedly been playing a role in promoting awareness and encouraging people to remain healthy, active and united in solidarity.

However, no one knows exactly when and how the pandemic will end. Major challenges lie ahead, such as even more limited resources and an inability to restart programmes for some time. Many projects, and even the sector itself, may face serious risks.

The future is always uncertain, of course, but it feels especially so in times of crisis. Can things go back to the way they were? Perhaps even more importantly, should they?

Many commentaries have been made about how this serves as a wake-up call for humanity, a time to assess and evaluate our lives. As David Korten commented: "Seeing now the profound failure of our existing institutions, we also awaken to the truth of our possibilities and interconnections with one another and with Earth."

It is an opportune moment to ask whether we are doing the right things in the first place. Should sport and development go back to business as usual? In the face of challenges to sustainability, it may be apt to consider whether activities are sustainable to begin with. Or put simply – can sport be used to play a more equitable role in development?

It may be time for sport to change to better serve society. While progress has been made over the last two decades in enhancing the use of sport for development and peace, the current crisis has highlighted the gross inequities within sport. Access to sport is far from universal, and the elite sport industry, on pause for now, continues to fuel the growing divides between winners and the rest.

The current crisis may have in fact revealed that we can live without elite sport. That sport and physical activity can be done at local levels (even in your own home) without ‘big sport’ on your TV set. As Jonathan Liew argued in the Guardian: "There is a certain irony in all this. For decades, we have been told that the only legitimate model of driving mass sporting participation is the top-down approach: spectacle, exemplar, extravaganza." Yet now, we see small sport rising to the fore again.

Given this, sportanddev is launching a call for articles on the future of sport and development, linked to the future of sport itself. We welcome submissions on a range of topics and questions such as:

  • Does sport need to change to better serve society? If so, why and how?
  • What can sport and development actors do better in the future?
  • How can sport play a greater role in contributing to development and peace?
  • Can we reimagine the role of sport? Do other realistic utopias exist for sport?
  • Can we resolve the conflict and contradictions inherent within sport? If so, how?

We welcome submissions from a range of stakeholders across the sportanddev community, from scholars to field-based practitioners. Articles can synthesise existing work as well as contain original analysis.

Articles should:

  • Be 500-600 words, though shorter or longer articles may be considered
  • Include a relevant photo in landscape (horizontal) orientation, for which you own the copyright, or is subject to some form of creative commons licence. If you do not have a picture, we will attempt to source one
  • Include a 1-2 sentence biography of the author/s
  • Include links to any Twitter or Facebook accounts you would like associated with the post
  • Include links to any websites you would like associated with the post

Please submit your article (or queries) to Nicola Love at love[at] in Microsoft Word format, including your name (and organisation if applicable).

Deadline: Extended to 10 May 2020.


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Tuesday, April 21, 2020 - 11:53