Last week Debbie Sadd and Richard Shipway hosted events as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Science.
For Debbie’s event she invited pupils from three Dorset schools to come and debate the legacy of the London 2012: Olympics.
The students from Poole Grammar School, Budmouth College and Brockenhurst College visited Bournemouth University on Monday, and used a digital interactive tool to vote on questions including whether they believe the London 2012 Olympic Games were worth it, and if they think the Games will increase participation in sports.
They then heard presentations about the London 2012 Olympic Games and their potential legacy from speakers including Nigel Reed, from the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce – where Olympic sailing events took place – who spoke about the costs and benefits of the Games to the town.
Ian Jones, Community, Culture and Sport Manager at BU, told the pupils that the Olympics had led to a cycling club being established at the university with more than 250 active members, while BU graduate James Lee – who now works for GB Rowing – said more women had been inspired to take up the sport.
But they also heard that major sports events do not generally lead to an increase in sports participation, and different sporting governing bodies were now competing for extra funding.
The pupils then voted again, to see if their opinions of the Games had been altered by what they had heard.
Teacher Jo Ray had brought her AS Level PE Group from Budmouth College, in Weymouth.
She said that the event had been particularly useful as Olympic history and legacy is part of the A Level syllabus.
She said: “Everything we have heard is really key as part of the syllabus. I personally found it really interesting and I imagine the pupils will reflect back on the event and realise they learnt a lot.”
She added: “It is a fantastic opportunity to share knowledge with the university and it’s brilliant for us to come along to an event like this.”
Debbie, who was an Olympic torchbearer when it came through Dorset, added: “What they knew before they came here was what they picked up on TV and in newspapers, but we wanted them to see it was about more than winning gold medals.
“We want them to question more in the future and read more deeply into things and think about the different sides of the stories when it is something this big.
“It will be them who are affected in the future, so we want them to be able to question and ask about what the Olympic legacy will mean for them.”
Richard Shipway’s ESRC event took place on Friday and was also about the London 2012 Olympic legacy. “Going for Gold: Leveraging Post Olympic Tourism Legacies” investigated the potential for the London Olympics to generate tourism benefits after the hosting of the Games.
The event incorporated the experiences of both academics and industry practitioners involved in the 2012 Games and other global mega events. The first session of the workshop featured key speakers including Chris Foy (Visit Britain); Philip Evans (Visit England), and Tom Jenkins from the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA).
This was followed by a second, academically grounded session featuring Professor Mike Weed (Canterbury Christchurch University); Dr Nancy Stevenson (University of Westminster) and Professor Adam Blake (Bournemouth University). The day concluded with an audience debate on how best to leverage post-Olympic tourism legacies in the post 2012 era.
This workshop will form the basis of a proposed future agenda for research and public engagement linked to post Olympic tourism and will shortly be followed by a briefing paper that will support and inform future policy and practice linked to the tourism dimension of international sports events
Both events were a huge success and massive congratulations go to both Debbie and Richard on their events.