Department for Health

Physical Culture, Sport and Health Research Group

Our research aims to contribute critical and innovative insights across a range of contemporary issues and challenges in health, sport and physical cultural contexts.

A man and a woman riding bikes

Photo: Nubia Navarro

What do we do?

Our interdisciplinary group conducts socio-cultural research on health, physical activity and cultural practices. We investigate how embodied experiences are shaped by broader political, economic, social-cultural, and technological contexts. Addressing and transforming inequalities is central to what we do.

We examine these issues across four interrelated research areas: Wellbeing across the lifecourse; Digital cultures; Sustainable cities and communities; Education and development.

Using innovative methods our research contributes critical insights into the complex issues affecting individual and social well-being.  We seek to:

  • develop new knowledge and ways of understanding key challenges
  • inform policy reform in health, physical activity and cultural institutions
  • collaborate with organisations to effect change and improve professional practice
  • contribute to knowledge sharing through local and global networks
  • engage the public in conversations about societal change

Research themes

A diagram showing eight research themes interlinking with each other.

Contributing critical insights across four interrelated research areas.

Featured projects

Join our discussions

  • Inequalities in older people: a plan for action (Dr Nikki Coghill and Dr Jessica Francombe-Webb)
  • Researching the social context of women’s recovery from depression (Professor Simone Fullagar)
  • Living with Ménière’s Disease: Understanding Patient Experiences of Mental Health and Well-being (Dr Cassandra Phoenix) 
  • The Digital Health Generation: The impact of ‘healthy lifestyle’ technologies on young people's learning, identities and health practices (Dr Emma Rich)
  • Navigating Bodies, Borders and the Global Game: An Ethnography of Youth, Football and the Politics of Privation in Ghana, West Africa (Dr Darragh McGee) 
  • Sculpting Girls’ Subjectivities: Physical Culture & the ‘Normalised’ Body (Dr Jessica Francombe-Webb)
  • Doing coaching justice’: Promoting a critical consciousness in sports coaching research (Dr Anthony Bush) 
  • Cycling Against Poverty? Researching a Sport for Development Movement and an 'Object' in/for Development (Dr Brad Millington)
  • A Sociology of Physical Activity and Health for Young People (Dr Gareth Wiltshire)
  • Submarine geographies: The body, the senses and the mediation of tourist experience (Dr Stephanie Merchant)
  • Producing/Consuming ‘Romantic Scotland’: Exhibitions, Heritage, Nation & the Chinese Market (Dr Andrew Manley)
  • Engaging urban inequalities through sport and physical activity initiatives: From Baltimore to Bristol (Dr Bryan C Clift)
  • Addressing eating disorders and body disaffection in schools: The impact of body pedagogies and school-based prevention programmes (Niamh Ni Shuilleabhain)
  • Reimagining Children’s Physical Cultures (Annaleise Depper)



Research students

Honorary staff

  • Professor Cara Aitchison, Vice Chancellor, Cardiff Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
  • Professor David Andrews, Physical Cultural Studies, University of Maryland, United States
  • Professor David Rowe, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Australia
  • Professor Deborah Stevenson, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Australia
  • Professor Kristine Toohey, Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management, Griffith University, Australia
  • Professor Brian Wilson, School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Canada