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Just Turn Up

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council

(October 2022-September 2024)

Our project examines the relationship between informal sport and urban inclusion in increasingly superdiverse and increasingly unequal cities. We use the term 'informal sport' to mean sport which is not club or fee based but where people routinely take part for free or for a low fee and ‘just turn up’ to take part in a sport activity near to where they live.  We are exploring the growth of collective participation in a variety of informal sports in the open spaces of cities and examining how informal sports involves groups who are marginalised or under-represented in club-based sport. As the experience of Covid-19 showed, there is a need for accessible outdoor spaces to undertake exercise and feel socially connected in cities. In this context our project considers where informal sport happens, who takes part and why. It asks if informal sport activities can generate new forms of urban belonging while also recognising that such activities may incorporate their own mechanisms of exclusion. Using a range of research methods and focusing on London and Sheffield as case study cities, our research aims to provide new insights on these dynamics and develop understanding of what makes a ‘good city’.

Knowledge production in public pedagogy sites: a comprehensive review on Chinese young people’s bodies, health and sport (2016)

This project considered two questions:

  1. What kind of masculinity and femininity ideals are related to Chinese bodies on social media sites?

  2. How do these ideals convey certain forms of Chineseness in health, bodies and sport?

Drawing on critical discourse analysis and Foucault's concepts of normalisation and discursive practice, the project problematised the often taken-for-granted gendered and racialised stereotypes related to Chinese physicality and health on social media sites.

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Pang, B. and Hill, J. (2018). Representations of Chinese gendered and racialised bodies in contemporary media sites. Sport, Education, and Society, 23 (8), 773-785.

How do HPE students use digital technologies to learn about their bodies, health and physical activity? (2015)

This project explored three questions:

  1. How do Health and Physical Education (HPE) students talk about the pros and cons in using digital technology in relation to their bodies?

  2. What is the relationship between surveillance and digital technologies in HPE students’ health and physical activity?

  3. What is the relationship between the self and the social and, specifically how the self is constituted in relation to discourses and practices associated with digital technologies in health and physical activity?

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Pang, B., Varea, V., Cavillan, S., and Cupac, A. (2018). Experiencing risk, surveillance, and prosumption: Health and Physical Education students’ perceptions of digitised health and physical activity data. Sport, Education and Society, 24(8), 801-813.


Physical activity and health in the lives of children in Cambodia (2015)

The project involved providing a 4-week sport program and conducting participatory visual method interviews with the children in a local NGO/residential centre in Battambang, Cambodia. 

Cambodia has experienced great lost and destruction in its population through the exile, genocide and also the separation of parents and children in a series of events in the past 30 years. This includes the turbulence of civil war (1970–75), the Khmer Rouge regime led by Pol Pot (1975–1979) and the subsequent Vietnamese intervention (1979–89).


As a result of such experiences, it is not difficult to imagine that Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Asia and the detrimental effects on the education, health and wellbeing of its children. Some of the challenges that Cambodia experience as a result of its historical turbulence are reflected on its children’s health and wellbeing. 

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Based on the findings, a video clip that captured the children's everyday lives and physical activities was made for educational purpose. 

This place is very spacious and it has light at night. Many of us like to play here, and sometimes we play with the rubberband for skipping. Sometimes we sit here and chat. We have fresh air here at night. (Child)

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Health and Physical Education and physical activity in the lives of ethnic minority girls in Western Sydney (2014)


This study examined the Health and Physical Education (HPE) experiences of 12 girls in Years 10–12, who have self identified with Vietnamese, Cambodian and/or Chinese backgrounds within a co-educational government school in Cabramatta. The project addresses the call for further research into alternative forms of bodily practices in Australia to promote diversity and inclusion in HPE. The results aim to inform the promotion of alternative discourses in education of health and bodies in HPE.

Pang, B., and Hill, J. (2018) Rethinking the ‘aspirations’ of Chinese girls within and beyond Health and Physical Education and Physical Activity in Greater Western Sydney. Sport Education and Society, 23(5),421-434.

A strengths-based approach: Using cultural wealth to explore the educational experiences of non-traditional HPE students (2014)

Graduates Holding Diplomas

Widening access to higher education is a key aspiration of Australian educational policy. Drawing on a sample of non-traditional undergraduate Health and Physical Education (HPE) students, this study argues that an inclusive curriculum recognises and builds on the resources represented by students from various sociocultural backgrounds.

Pang, B., Garrett, R., Wrench, A., and Perrett, J. (2018). Forging strengths-based education with non-traditional students in higher education. Curriculum Studies in Health and Physical Education, 9(2), 174-188.

Moving across East and West: Physical activity, Health and Physical Education and school sport in the lives of Chinese young people in Australia (2008-2012)

The research questions included:

  1. How do Chinese Australian young people talk about their identities in relation to physical activity and sport?

  2. How do the family and living environment(s) of Chinese young people impact upon their perceptions and experiences of physical activity and sport?

  3. How do Chinese young people engage in HPE and school sport and what factors influence their perceptions and experiences?

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  1. Pang, B., Alfrey, L., and Varea, V. (2016). Chinese Australian’s subjectivities of health and bodies. Sport, Education and Society, 21(7), 1091-1108.

  2. Pang, B., and Soong, H (2016). Teachers’ teaching experiences with young Chinese Australians in health and physical education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 56, 84-93. 

  3. Pang, B., and Macdonald, D. (2015a). Recognizing young Chinese Australian’s perceived resources within and beyond schooling. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 23(3), 435-453. 

  4. Pang, B., and Macdonald, D. (2015b). Understanding young Chinese Australian’s (dis)engagement in Health and Physical Education and School-Sport. Physical Education Sport Pedagogy, 21(4), 441-458.

  5. Pang, B., Macdonald, D., and Hay, P. (2013). “Do I have a choice?” The Influences of family values and investments on Chinese migrant young people’s lifestyles and physical activity participation in Australia. Sport, Education and Society, 20(8), 1048-1064.

Parental socialization into children’s sport value and participation: A Hong Kong’s perspective (2006-2008)

This project adopted the Expectancy Value Model (EVM) (Eccles, et al. 1983):

  1. To examine the multidimensional construct of the Subjective Task Values (STV) in sport as suggested by the EVM.

  2. To identify the gender differences and correlations in Hong Kong children’s STV and participation in sport.

  3. To explore whether parental socialization variables are related to children’s variables in sport. 

  4. To understand children’s sources of STV in sport and their perceptions on parental influences.

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  1. Pang, B. (2014). Promoting physical activity in Hong Kong Chinese young people: Factors influencing their subjective task values and expectancy beliefs in physical activity. European Physical Education Review, 20(3), 385-397.

  2. Pang, B., and Ha, A.S. (2010). Subjective task value in physical activity participation: From Hong Kong school children’s perspective. European Physical Education Review, 16(3), 223-235.

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