Call for Papers | “Locating Leisure: Blurring Boundaries” | Leisure Studies Association Conference 2016

From art exhibitions, theatre, live music and a wide range of creative events taking place throughout the year, to high adrenaline sport and adventure activities, not forgetting the more serene pursuits that occupy lazy Sundays in the many parks dotted around the city – every possible definition of leisure is represented in Liverpool. There couldn’t be a more apt setting for a conference exploring the topic of blurred boundaries within leisure than Liverpool.

Taking place between 5-7 July, the Leisure Studies Association Conference (LSA) 2016 will challenge thinking around definitions and categories of leisure. Critical leisure studies has been founded on the questioning of boundaries such as work/leisure, agency/structure, and this conference seeks to continue this tradition. We’ll address the differing perspectives of a broadly defined ‘leisure’ from arts and culture to sport and wellbeing. For more information on what areas we will be exploring at LSA 2016, see the conference sub themes:

Blurring Public/Private

This subtheme will explore the physical spaces of leisure experiences, those that take place in public spaces or within the privacy of the home and how these might intersect. It also looks at the future of leisure/cultural/sport policy and how this is played out in public and private spaces. This stream will also consider where those lines between publically and privately owned spaces blur and the leisure implications of this.


Blurring Offline/Online

Since the rise of public availability of the internet, people have more options in how they spend, organise, plan and commemorate their leisure times and experiences. At the launch and take-up of the internet, a trend of academic research grew that suggested online relationships were replacing offline ones. The assumption was that online relationships were stronger, clearer and more ‘real’ than those offline. Then, a second trend in the academic literature began that suggested that online and offline relationships blended together, the online supporting the offline. In recent years, either of these hypotheses could be true – with the added possibility that offline interactions could support those that are principally online. ‘Virtuality’ is in multiple facets of many people’s every day leisure lives: shopping, dating, fan communities and holiday experiences. In this session we explore the potential for complex intermeshing of the online and the offline in leisure experiences, practices and relationships.

Blurring Centres/Edges

This subtheme considers the concept of the centres/edges binary in relation to physical space. For example, the notion that Liverpool is an edgy city has been explored extensively, we look at what this might mean in the leisure context. The idea that centres and edges could be located in different contexts such as access to leisure activity – this session will investigate what happens at the edges and margins of places, activities and policymaking.

Blurring Vernacular/Spectacular

We are increasingly coming to expect events and activities to be spectacular, to feed the imagination and defy our expectations. With each mega event comes an increasingly spectacular opening ceremony. This subtheme considers the relation between what is spectacular with what is mundane and the every day experiences of people. We’ll explore both the spectacular and the vernacular as well as possible synergies and intersections.

Researching leisure: Pushing the boundaries?

Presenting an opportunity to consider how we carry out our research, this subtheme looks at:

  • Pushing the methodological boundaries in our research
  • Challenging our ontological and epistemological groundings
  • Putting theory to work in our research – what different theorists can offer leisure studies
  • The relationship between our research, practice and policy
  • Questions of ethics
  • Historical perspectives of leisure
  • Leisure legacies

How to submit your abstract

Abstracts can take one of two forms

  • Individual: single abstracts from individuals/co-researchers submitting a paper that addresses the conference theme or themes (limit one paper per main presenter)
  • Proposed panel: a set of three abstracts from a group of individuals/co-researchers submitting a coherent set of papers that address the conference themes and which could be scheduled together in one parallel session (limit one paper per main presenter)


Abstracts should be 250-350 words, structured as follows and submitted by email to by Friday 29 April 2016.

  • Biography for each author: 100-150 words indicating position, field of study, main research interests and key publications where appropriate and full contact details
  • Full title of paper as it will appear in the conference programme
  • Abstract main body, including background (outline of the context and/or academic literature informing the research), approach (indication of the broad theoretical orientation and/or methodological approach) and significance (description and application of the original research findings reported in the paper)
  • Most relevant conference theme (Blurring Public/Private; Offline/Online; Centres/Edges; Vernacular/Spectacular; Pushing the boundaries?)
  • Bibliographic references for any research cited in the abstract (no tables, figures or footnotes)

Visit the conference home page!

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