Today’s featured member profile comes from the fabulous Andrew Hammond, take it away Andrew!
Member: Andrew Hammond
What are you researching?
I research policy, politics and governance in the areas of sport, disability and education in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. I draw primarily on historical and sociological perspectives to inform my work. My doctoral project focuses explicitly on the relationship between disability and inclusion social policy and sports coaching practices.
What drew you to this topic?
In my opinion, history and memory are essential to good policy making. Aside from being interested in why coaches and clubs weren’t including more people with a disability in ‘mainstream’ settings, I realised that the exclusion of acutely marginalised groups in sport has been a ‘wicked’ policy agenda that policy makers have been trying to ‘solve’ for some time. Not much is known in the literature about the effectiveness of previous initiatives. Additionally, I noticed through my own employment in the sports industry that people only occupy roles momentarily (I would imagine this is not an exclusive problem to sport). There is, therefore, a large churn and turnover of people in sport in paid and voluntary positions and I realised that there was a very real danger, that many people working within these organisations- might not remember a time when things were any different. Therefore, I’m deeply engaged in my research as I believe it has the potential to inform future policy decisions so finite resources (money and time) are not spent on initiatives that have been proven to have been ineffective in the past.
What have been the highlights of your RhD journey?
A key highlight has been my recent publication of a paper that was accepted by the International Journal of Sport History that examines the federal government’s involvement in disability sport. Togeather with one of my supervisors and TASA colleague Dr Ruth Jeanes, we drew on the critical disability studies concept of ableism to evaluate the continuities and shifts that have occurred in policymaking since the early 1980s. We were particularly concerned with the decline in the federal government’s involvement in coach education. It is great to get your ideas out there in print and to see what others think.
What do you wish you had known before you started?
That as a PhD student you need to be comfortable with failure and setbacks but my advice is don’t get too hung up on the negatives, there is more to life than work and scholarship. Making friends with people who are members of groups like TASA helps with this, it is important to remember we all share remarkably similar experiences with regards to success and failure in academia and an empathetic ear is often closer then you think.
What advice would you give to others who are either just beginning, or contemplating starting postgraduate study?
Network, network and network (join TASA and attend the conferences sooner rather than later).
What do you do when you aren’t working on your research?
At present, in addition to researching, I also have the privilege of using sociology to inform my voluntary work in sport. For instance, I sit on Swimming Australia’s coach accreditation and development advisory committee where I contribute to the development of coaching policy. I like this because it reminds me of the real world value of sociology and reminds me why I started studying the discipline in the first place. It reminds me that the ideas of Foucault, Weber and Latour are not all that abstract and have real world relevance. Otherwise, I’m hanging out at the markets and when I’m not doing that, I enjoy a good glass of wine or a pint of beer at one Melbournes many bars. I also still swim most days.
Thanks Andrew! If you think you could answer our 6 quick questions, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org