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Sports conference shifts focus onto social challenges


Malmö University’s Department of Sport Science is hosting one of the world’s largest conferences on sport management. This year’s theme is ‘Managing Sport in a Changing Europe.’

The European Sport Management Conference, which is in its 26th year, will take place in Malmö from September 5-8. The conference aims to provide a more nuanced approach to the role of sports in society.

Senior lecturer at the Faculty of Education and Society, Karin Book, is organising the event together with assistant head of department Gun Normark.

“This year’s theme is unique; the conference normally tackles topics like sporting events, organisational issues or the development of high-performance sports. There is usually a lot of talk of economics and law. Our aim is to connect sport with society, particularly considering that research within the social sciences is our forte,” says Book.

The conference is a collaboration between the University and the European Association for Sport Management (EASM). A total of 450 researchers, politicians and representatives from national and international sporting associations across the world will participate. The theme of the conference has been chosen in order to reflect ongoing processes of change within sports and how these relate more broadly to societal challenges.

Topics such as migration, inclusion, integration and multiculturalism will be discussed during the four-day event.

Book and Normark also aim to widen traditional definitions of sports by including parkour, roller derby and skateboarding at the opening ceremony. 

The conference will explore both national and local perspectives.

"We want to market Malmö and the region by showing off our young and multicultural city and the role the University plays in its advancement. For instance, by highlighting how the municipal leisure and recreational services are investing more in urban sports to maximise outreach,” says Book.

"In order to be successful, today’s sporting organisations need to broaden their perspective. Sports are not exempt from the effects of social processes,” adds Normark.

Text: Magnus Jando

Last updated by Maya Acharya