Project team

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Informal sport as a health and social resource

Project team

Our team represents a collaboration between researchers at Monash University, Edith Cowan University and Victoria University, as well as industry partners.

To contact the team, please email us at , or follow us on Twitter .

Professor Ruth Jeanes

Monash University

Ruth Jeanes is an Professor in the Faculty of Education at Monash University and is the lead chief investigator on the research project. For Ruth, this project will build on several decades researching equity and inclusion within sporting contexts. She is passionate about understanding how all forms of sport can be welcoming and inclusive for all communities within society. Ruth draws on sociological theory and policy studies to inform her research work. Although Ruth played and coached in structured sports contexts for many years, she is now an avid informal sport participant and will often be found doing laps of her local pool or running the local trails, very early in the morning with her informal swimming and running groups.

Ruth’s research profile

Dr Justen O'Connor

Monash University

Dr Justen O’Connor is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Monash University and chief investigator. Justen first explored informal sport participation in cycling 13 years ago and has had an interest in this emerging phenomena since. Justen draws on a range of qualitative and quantitative methods to pragmatically understand such phenomena as part of complex and nested systems. Justen has played, coached and researched within formal sporting organisations and has been an informal sport participant for 15 years. Appreciating the flexibility, individuality, social connection and lower focus on competition has led Justen to want to understand what informal participation has to offer a range of people that don’t fit neatly into mainstream member-based activities.

Justen’s research profile

Professor Dawn Penney

Edith Cowan University

Dawn Penney is Professor of Health and Physical Education at Edith Cowan University and Adjunct Professor within the Faculty of Education at Monash University and a project chief investigator. Dawn has a background in policy research in education and sport sectors, and has international research experience having also worked in the UK and New Zealand. Dawn is a keen participant and facilitator in informal sport through open water swimming, running and cycling groups. Dawn links her participation to many long-standing friendships, opportunities to take on adventure and endurance challenges, and support others to do so. Dawn recognises the many benefits of informal participation and the importance of developments that enable it to flourish.

Dawn’s research profile

Professor Ramon Spaaij

Victoria University

Ramon Spaaij is a Professor in the Institute for Health and Sport at Victoria University in Melbourne. Ramon’s research examines social and cultural aspects and impacts of sport participation. He is passionate about transforming sports environments to make them safer, more inclusive and more enjoyable for participants of all backgrounds and abilities. Ramon has played, coached and researched within formal sports settings with a focus on football (soccer). He is an avid participant in both formal and informal sports.

Ramon’s research profile

Ms Carmel Guerra

Centre for Multicultural Youth Victoria Australia

Carmel Guerra is Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Multicultural Youth and a fearless advocate for multicultural young people. She strives to improve advocacy and support networks for young people from migrant and multicultural backgrounds. She is the chairperson for the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network, the national peak body representing multicultural youth issues in Australia. IN 2016, Carmel was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to multicultural youth. Carmel has consistently used sport as a tool to connect with young people from diverse multicultural backgrounds but has seen an increasing trend of the young people that the Centre for Multicultural Youth work with turning away from structured sport environments. She believes the project is important to help agencies better understand how they can develop participation opportunities that support the needs of multicultural young people.

Carmel's profile on the Centre for Multicultural Youth website

Research Fellows

Research Fellows who help us in this project are:

Dr Jonathan Magee - Research Fellow (Victoria)

Eibhlish O'Hara - Research Fellow (Western Australia)

Dr May Carter - Research Fellow (Western Australia)