I am an interdisciplinary settler scholar working on mainly historical topics, am an historian by training also with degrees in anthropology and sociology. I study, think and write about sport, movement and body cultures with a focus on colonial and imperial settings, particularly colonies of settlement, as a way of trying to make sense of the ways everyday life makes us who we are and how we might make a better and more just world.
I grew up in Aotearoa/New Zealand in the traditional territory of Ngāi Te Rangi and Ngāti Pūkenga, in the area we now call the Western Bay of Plenty. Both these iwi endured invasion by colonial troops and some of the most intense fighting of the wars of the 1860s; a conflict that is still marked on those lands. However, to a large degree I think of home as Te Whanaganui a Tara/ Wellington, in the traditional lands of Te Atiawa and Ngāti Toa. These are the places I think from, even as I live in the Cotswolds: I acknowledge those peoples and those lands as in part continuing to shape the ways I think and do, as a product of a critical settler engagement with those peoples and places and their pasts.
I currently work at the University of Wales Trinity St David where I supervise research degrees and lead training and development programmes for research degree supervisors as part of a small team in the Doctoral College. I have worked in universities in New Zealand, Australia and the UK, have a background in the union movement and public service and maintain academic affiliations at The University of Queensland, De Montfort University and the University of Gibraltar. I am a former Chair of the British Society of Sports History, am currently Vice President of the International Society for the History of Physical Edcuation and Sport, and lead equality, diversity, inclusion an decolonisation projects within the North American Society for Sports History. My research focusses on sport-related colonial, imperial and decolonial relations and on sport-related political activism. I also work with Labour Behind the Label, supporting worker’s struggle in the clothing and textile industries, where I Chair the LBL Trust.
My current research projects explore cultural boycotts in anti-oppression political campaigns and the potentialities of sport in decolonial politics. I am a co-founder of the Philosophy at Play conference series, and with Wendy Russell and Emily Ryall has co-edited several volumes of essays emerging from those events. I am a co-founder of the Netball History Network. I am also a member of the Editorial College of The International Journal of the History of Sport focussing on secial issues and of the editorial boards of Sport in History¸ Journal of Sport History and Journal of New Zealand & Pacific Studies.
My research and much of his applied work in the last fifteen years has centred on colonial, de- and post-colonising (rather than post-colonial) settings. Much of this work has focussed on Aotearoa/New Zealand, but has broader application in colonies of British settlement and in other analyses of colonial and imperial relations. In recent years this has extended to highlight wider international relations questions, especially emphasising boycotts and other coercive policy instruments. My interests focus on:
- settler colonialism
- the colonial distribution and circulation of body cultures and the responses of Indigenous and subaltern colonial peoples,
- sport focussed political activism.
In addition to these areas, I have an ongoing interest in play as a cultural and social practice, and as a socio-political trope.