With support from the Department of Sociology and Social Policy and funding from the Sino-British Fellowship Trust, a unique roundtable and knowledge transfer event was held on 26 February on “Skateboarding and Wellbeing”.
Twenty guests from the Government’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department, NGOs and youth social workers attended the event. Prof Iain Borden, an architectural historian from the UK, who has produced seminal research on skateboarding and involved in the preservation of skateparks as heritage, provided an introductory talk. Dr Jon Swords, a senior lecturer in Economic Geography from Northumbria University spoke on the multifaceted benefits of skateboarding including promoting community integration and healthy exercise as well as providing an outlet for young people to develop their creative talents.
Extended discussions covered cultural perceptions of risks of skateboarding and the increasing appeal of Hong Kong’s skateparks to an older generation of skateboarders. Professional skateboarder Piet Guillfoyle and other skateboarders shared on how skateboarding provided access to a community and urban space. Youth Outreach “The Hangout” reported on their work with schools to use skateboarding as an education tool. The discussants acknowledged the need to address skateboarding as a multifaceted issue of health, community, cosmopolitanism, wellbeing, creativity and inclusion.
Anyone interested in learning more about skateboarding as a site of social research and knowledge transfer please feel free to contact Professor Paul O’Connor in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy.