The research that gets me most excited is when I collaborate with communities and/or community practice (i.e. agencies and organizations). My projects have varied, but my research is mostly done in and with communities and recreation organizations. For me, research is a toolbox that supports discovery and exploration. Asking questions to build empathy and understand complex issues so that communities and organizations can better serve their residents and members, that is what my research is all about!
My research projects have varied, but include the following topics: poverty & access and inclusion; recreation and depressed economies; recreation and community resilience; recreation and community development; and community-based leisure education systems. Below are some descriptions of project work.
Access & Inclusion: Community Recreation & Sport Systems
My current research program is dedicated to understanding where in/exclusionary mechanisms in recreation and sport provisions exists, and how to redesign and reimagine recreation and sport systems for access and inclusion. Despite the benefits that can come from recreation and sport participation, many families cannot experience them due to constraints within the system. Though limited income is often the first point of intervention for creating access, this research project has discovered, and continues to discover, the hidden ways recreation and sport systems are unintentionally creating exclusion.
Community-Based Leisure Ed. Delivery System & Poverty
While working in collaboration with a non-profit organization, Recreation Opportunities for Children Inc (ROC), we designed and implemented a recreation delivery system that support low-income children's leisure participation. Through utilizing the principles of community participatory research, social innovation (human centre design), community development and leisure education, we (parents, staff and students( co-created a community-based leisure education delivery system. The results of the project have had three significant impacts: 1) we discovered four key provisions that create access to leisure for low-income families; 2) we created delivery system where parents and children experienced numerous physical, social and emotional benefits; and 3) we identified several exclusionary mechanisms within community recreation and sport systems. This delivery system continues to operate today, for more details about ROC's awesome and innovative work click here.
Depressed Economies & Recreation Delivery Systems
Some of my research has explored how economic restructuring or depressed economies, i.e., mine or mill closures or industry collapses, have impacted community recreation delivery systems, families, and residents. Through this work, we discovered how recreation and leisure could be utilized to support community resilience and development. This work also highlighted changes in residents' leisure behaviour, and where and how community recreation systems needed to adapt to support communities through significant social and economic change.