Call for Papers | “Environmental attunement in health, sport and physical education”. Special Issue of Sport, Education and Society | Call ends November 18, 2021


There have been unresolved calls for educators to connect and translate environmental links within health, sport and physical education,despite overlapping priorities with citizens health (Taylor et al., 2019; Truong, 2017). As part of this, there is a need to examine in greater depth the ways eco-health, environmentalism, ‘nature’ and First Nations ways of knowing can be tended to in the research and practice of health, sport and physical education. In this rolling call for a second Special Issue on environmental attunement, we question if and how notions of nature and the environment can be defined, practiced and paradigmatically positioned more centrally in health, sport and physical education.

We use the notion of attunement to help theorise where might we go from here to ask how might we (as a community of practitioners) better respond to the contemporary needs of our ecological and embodied health and wellbeing. How, for example, will health and physical education respond to global climate change and educating for environmental citizenship as it effects child and youth health in everyday life (Bowman, 2020; Sanson et al., 2019). Our call for environmental attunement is underpinned by the following statements:

      • We live in a world that is constantly changing and is challenging established approaches to managing human and ecological health (Patrick et al., 2015). Our attunement needs to be focused on the premise that environments shape health and that human health is reliant on the natural world.
      • While all disciplines could be linked to environmental attunement (e.g., STEM, Geography, Art), health, sport and physical education offer a unique intersection of these disciplines through embodied pedagogies and connections to self, place, community and more-than-human life. Adopting a critically mindful pedagogy (Tinning, 2020) is rich with learning possibilities in the cultural politics of human relationships to environment and ‘nature’. To this end the concepts of critical inquiry, problem-based learning, creativity, health literacy and valuing movement can all be mobilised in practice and applied to a range of topics from mental health to food and nutrition.
      • Health, sport and physical education research and practice need to have a greater integration with environmental knowledge via holistic and participatory approaches that recognise shifting political, social and cultural practices in both built and natural environments. This includes especially a centrality of histories and ontologies of place; especially First Nations ontologies of land such as Australian Indigenous notions of Country or practices such as dadirri (deep listening) (Atkinson, 2002) to establish emotional relationships of ‘love, care and solidarity’ (Tooth & Renshaw, 2020).
      • Reflection on what has shaped educators’ micro-biographies and ecological identities (Thomashow, 1996) is an important step, alongside intersectoral curriculum and pedagogical resources to deepen epistemological habits of possibilities for environmental attunement across health, sport and physical education.

This call seeks to examine diverse scholarship on the possibilities and challenges of expanding social, cultural, political and embodied connections to place, space and ‘nature’.  Because many tools are needed to examine the complexity of these issues, we welcome papers that engage with a variety of approaches; especially research that is imaginative and considered in the application of empirical, theoretical, speculative or other methods. Broadly, papers could explore each of the following as it relates to health, sport or physical education:

      1. notions of the environment and ‘nature’ in research and practice;
      2. possibilities and challenges translating environment, sustainability and ‘nature’ from policy and curriculum documents into practice; and
      3. philosophical and theoretical links to emplaced and embodied learning – past-present-future.

These are by no means exclusive themes and readers will recognise other patterns of theoretical and empirical possibility as well as important geographical and contextual nuances that need to be explored further. Because of this, we hope that this collection inspires responses to the first Issue and further submissions from diverse scholars and perspectives via an extended call for papers that engage with the challenges and the possibilities of how we might approach the complex environmental, political and cultural factors that shapehealth, sport and physical education in current times.

Submission Instructions

We invite submissions of manuscripts of up to 7500 words from 18th May 2021 up until 18th November 2021.

All papers will be reviewed by the guest editors and independent reviewers and if accepted will then go online as ongoing contributions to the special issue: Environmental attunement in health, sport and physical education. The Editorial and Introductory paper to the first Special Issue provides further background to this rolling Special Issue.

For further questions and information, contact guest editors Michael Gard ( or Nicole Taylor (

Guest Editors


Atkinson, J. (2002). Trauma trails, recreating song lines: The transgenerational eects of trauma in Indigenous Australia. Spinifex Press.
Bowman, B. (2020). ‘They don’t quite understand the importance of what we’re doing today’: the young people’s climate strikes as subaltern activism.Sustainable Earth, 3(1), 1–13. doi:10.1186/s42055-020-00038-x
Patrick, R., Noy, S., & Henderson-Wilson, C. (2015). Urbanisation, climate change and health equity: how can health pro- motion contribute? International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 54(1), 34–49. doi:10.1080/14635240. 2015.1057653
Sanson, A. V., Van Hoorn, J., & Burke, S. E. (2019). Responding to the Impacts of the Climate Crisis on Children and Youth. Child Development Perspectives, 13(4), 201–207. doi:10.1111/cdep.12342
Taylor, N., Wright, J., & O’Flynn, G. (2019). An absence of ‘the environment’ in HPE teachers’ meanings of health. Curriculum Perspectives, 39(1), 97–101. doi:10.1007/s41297-019-00072-6
Thomashow, M. (1996). Ecological identity: Becoming a reective environmentalist. MIT Press. Tinning, R. (2020). Troubled thoughts on critical pedagogy for PETE. Sport, Education and Society, 25(9), 978–989. doi:10.1080/13573322.2019.1679105
Tooth, R., & Renshaw, P. (2020). Children becoming emotionally attuned to “nature” through diverse place-responsive pedagogies. In A Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles, K Malone, & E Barratt Hacking (Eds.), Research Handbook on Childhoodnature: Assemblages of Childhood and Nature Research (pp. 1423–1443).Switzerland: Springer Nature.
Truong, S. (2017). ‘Expanding curriculum pathways between Education for Sustainability (EfS) and Health and Physical Education (HPE)’, Reimagining Sustainability in Precarious Times, Springer 9789811025488.
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