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Ethnicity and Volunteering in Sport: A Sociocultural Analysis (ref: RDF20/SER/HAYTON)

Project Description

There is an entrenched marginalization of minority groups from and within organised sport, and nowhere is this better crystallised than in the grassroots sport context where 92% of volunteers in sport clubs in England are of White ethnicity (Sport England, 2019). Much of the extant research examining the relationship between race and sport has focussed on participation in (playing) sport(s), whilst there is also a burgeoning body of work that is emerging around both the presence of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups in, as well as their access to, boardroom and leadership roles in sport (c.f.: Bradbury, 2019; Onuora, 2019). Diversifying the demographic profile of those who volunteer forms a central pillar of the English Sport Council’s flagship national sport volunteering strategy (Sport England, 2016).

The aim of this studentship, therefore, is to gain insight into the socio-cultural mechanisms that debar, or oppositely, that may facilitate sport volunteering by BAME groups. This study will deliver cutting edge research in the sociology of sport by examining: a) the lived experiences of sport volunteers from ethnically diverse backgrounds and, b) the sociocultural facets surrounding their engagement. To frame and theorise the lived experiences of minority ethnic groups in this context, the studentship is well suited to the application of, for example, Bourdieusian analysis or critical race theory as potential frameworks through which to capture the social and cultural processes affecting BAME groups’ engagement with sport volunteering. To complement this work, it is anticipated that an intersectional theoretical lens will be utilised to further aid an understanding of how multiple demographic characteristics might combine to influence attitudes to and experiences of volunteering by BAME groups.

Eligibility and How to Apply:

Please note eligibility requirement:

• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF20/…) will not be considered.

Deadline for applications: Friday 24 January 2020
Start Date: 1 October 2020

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home/EU students with a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2019/20, this is £15,009 pa) and full fees.


Hayton J. W. (2017) Exploring the Emotional Labour of Student Volunteers in a Sports-Based Outreach Project in the North East of England. Sociology of Sport Journal, 34(2), 136-147. https://doi.org/10.1123/ssj.2016-0098

Hayton, J. (2017) “They do treat us as a bit normal now”: Students’ experiences of liminality and communitas whilst volunteering on a sports-based outreach project. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 53(7), 869-889. https://doi.org/10.1177/1012690216687553

Hayton J. W. (2016) Plotting the motivation of student volunteers in sports-based outreach work in the North East of England. Sport Management Review, 19(5), 563-577. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.smr.2016.06.004

Hayton, J. (2016) Sports Volunteering on University-Led Outreach Projects: A Space for Developing Social Capital? Journal of Sport and Social Issues, 40 (1) 38-61. https://doi.org/10.1177/0193723515576598

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