FURD hosted a 'Football Circus' at the U-Mix Centre, Sheffield on Saturday 14th May, featuring a whole host of football-related activities for all ages as well as reflections on the meaning of football in young people's lives and a world record!!
The event marked the end of the 'Football and Connected Communities' research project that FURD has been conducting in partnership with three universities. The project explores the ways in which young people today consume football, relate to footballers as celebrities or role models and engage with football at a community level.
The world record came courtesty of iconic football freestyler Dan Magness who was the special guest at the event. We invited Dan as one of the things that we discovered when researching young people's engagements with football was the extent to which they enjoyed watching and practising specific skills and tricks. Youtube was a really popular site for the former activity, while the latter happened both virtually (via games such as FIFA) and on the field of play. There's more to be said about this interest; should we, for example, see it is an example of individualisation, performativity, mediatisation, rationalisation? Likewise, for those of us of a certain age, this was not football as we knew it in our youth and this change is, of course, something else we will be reflecting on as we start to write up our findings!
But for now we'll just note that pretty much all of those present (between 150-200 people) enthusiastically participated in, at least, some of the activities on offer, including; a freestyle workshop, a street soccer tournament (where the emphasis was on style rather than scoring!!) and both cross-bar and keepy-up challenges!
It was also an opportunity to see Football Unites, Racism Divides staff dressed up in silly suits, blowing up balloons and generally mucking in!
You can see some of the action from the event at the link below;
To read more about the research project, visit the 'Football and Connected Communities' website below.