Prof Gayle McPherson – University of the West of Scotland, UK

This was an interesting week for me, meeting and learning from a range of UK and Japanese colleagues working in a variety of disciplines that involved Paralympic Sport and Disability.  The breadth of areas in coaching, teaching, development and policy created scope for learning from each other.  We found that our joint approach to engaging in parasport research around the social model of disability was the glue that brought us together. We had interesting discussions around the shifting arguments from the medical and individual models of disability and how in Japan these are still prominent to an extent especially when discussing provision for those with an impairment.

The connections and possibilities were writ large and our Japanese colleagues demonstrated the importance of sharing and partnering in research, rather than driving just one agenda. It was good too to hear from the PhD students and to hear about Japanese culture; hospitality, modesty and humility, traits I value and will enjoy working further with our colleagues on this network grant. 

I met some great new people from the UK too and was delighted to see what the University of Worcester were doing with inclusion and diversity in teacher and coach education. With my interests mainly in sport and parasport policy and legacy, I was pleased to see the connections in legacy from the London2012 Games, and the work at Worcester ties to policy in ways that I hadn’t embraced previously. I am looking forward to our exchange visit to Japan in June, as whilst our Japanese colleagues mentioned they didn’t think that parasport policy was as joined up as it was in the UK, with the emphasis still on an ableist approach to impairment, I think we will learn a lot from their approach to research, development and education and hopefully this will help us look at the formation of a larger joint research project.

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