ESRC Japan visit

Tuesday 02 April 2019

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This month, Dr Ian Brittain, as Principal Investigator for an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) UK-Japan Social Science and Humanities Connections Grant, hosted five Japanese and four British academics. The project aims to expand an international collaboration and foster a long-term sustainable multi-partner network in order to further develop our understanding in the field of disability studies and sport.

This project will bring together a network of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities (SSH) researchers across the UK and Japan, including Early Career Researchers, who will both strengthen and develop current relations. The context for this development could not be more pertinent, given that Japan will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, and this event context provides an ideal opportunity to pursue an agenda concentrated on leveraging this event to the benefit of people with disabilities (PWD) in Japan, and for future events. The group spent time in Coventry discussing theoretical aspects of disability and how the lessons learnt from practice transfer into the classroom.

Dr Brittain arranged for the group to visit Stoke Mandeville hospital, considered by many to be the spiritual home of sport for people with disabilities.This also coincided with the official opening of the National Paralympic Heritage Trust Museum at Stoke Mandeville, which was opened by former President of the International Paralympic Committee, Sir Philip Craven and Dr Brittain used his contacts to get the group a private tour of the museum prior to its opening as well as attending the opening ceremony itself.

The next stage will occur at the end of June when the UK participants will visit Tokyo. The end goal of the project is to produce a large scale ESRC bid to carry out a four year research project around the legacy of the Tokyo Paralympic Games that would have the added aim of increasing the number, knowledge and experience of social science researchers in Japan carrying out research in disability studies and sport, as currently numbers of such researchers are extremely limited.

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