Experiencing the felt difficulty of sport coaching violence. Evidence and reflections from the arts-informed practitioner education event, ways of seeing sport coaching violence

Authors: Kavanagh, E. and Adams, A.

Conference: IRNOVIS & SIMS Chair: International Perspectives on Violence in Sport Research

Dates: 13-15 June 2022


Amidst a backdrop of global patterns of abuse identified in various high-performance sport settings, this study is anchored on a commitment to bring to life the voices of abused athletes and to educate practitioners on the topic of abuse in sport. The case combined previously collected data (Kavanagh, 2014; Kavanagh et al. 2017) and, guided by art-informed pedagogy, led to the construction of an immersive audio-visual experience. Sport practitioners (including coaches and sport psychologists) were invited to attend the exhibition to be confronted by and with(in) athletes’ verbatim stories of abuse. Sixty-four participants attended the exhibition, of those, thirty-one attendees completed a post-event questionnaire and seven attendees participated in semi-structured interviews, providing an in-depth insight into their experiences of the event. In this paper we share our experience of creating the exhibition and the themes generated from the qualitative data: (1) practitioners experienced the physical space of the event as ‘moving’ and ‘difficult’ both physically and emotionally, and; (2) this ‘felt difficulty’ reverberated beyond the event, compelling participants to reflexively make sense of their emotions and reflect upon their own practice. We make recommendations for the potential of arts-informed pedagogy within future practitioner education contexts to afford engagement with critical contemporary topics underpinning applied practice.

Source: Manual