The Sport and Social Change Living Lab is a collaboration between social scientists, industry professionals, community groups and volunteers working to address issues of inclusion, exclusion, discrimination and equity in sport, physical activity and physical education.

Through our work we facilitate change in sport and physical activity settings, to achieve more equitable health and social outcomes.

Our Living Lab has a vibrant research culture that offers a unique opportunity for aspiring researchers who are passionate about equity and inclusion to develop innovative, critical and high-impact research in a supportive and collaborative environment.

We are pleased to offer three PhD scholarships to conduct exciting new research in the following areas:

 1.     The legacy of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup: Boom or bust for women and girls? (Supervisors: Associate Professor Brent McDonald and Dr Fiona McLachlan)

2.     Improving physical activity experiences for LGBTQ+ people (Supervisors: Dr Fiona McLachlan and Professor Ramón Spaaij)

3.     Co-designing inclusion opportunities in sport and physical activity with CALD girls and young women (Supervisors: Dr Carla Luguetti and Professor Ramón Spaaij)

If you are interested in finding out more about these scholarship opportunities, please contact the supervisors via email: brent.mcdonald@vu.edu.au, fiona.mclachlan@vu.edu.au, carla.nascimentoluguetti@vu.edu.au, ramon.spaaij@vu.edu.au

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Georgia Denisenko

About Me

In 2018, I took on a new role as Girls’ Program Manager at Glen Eira FC, after realising the Club wasn’t offering its girls anything close to the same opportunities as the boys in the Club. With 2 daughters and 2 sons who played for Glen Eira FC, and were having very different experiences, this wasn’t acceptable to me!  Working alongside the inaugural Girls’ Technical Director, John Sugunananthan (a visionary coach and leader in girls and women’s football), we introduced a host of new programs (most of them free), established a leadership team, gathered sponsors, and created an elite pathway for girls in the Club, to match the elite boys’ pathway that had existed for nearly 10 years.

A year later our girls’ participation rate had increased by 40%, our social media was saturated with our new girls’ program, and we were off and away!  Despite the enormous progress we have made, we still have a very long way to go in many areas before reaching the target of 50/50 –  for example our Club’s Committee is severely lacking in its representation of girls and women.

Whilst I am a lawyer by background, I am passionate about advancing girls and women in football, and I was a lucky participant in FV’s inaugural Female Administrator Leadership Program in 2019.  I was also grateful to receive a Change Our Game Scholarship from the Victorian Government, which will allow me to further my study in community sports management and leadership.

I have hopeful leadership aspirations for the future, and would especially like to see Club governance reformed and overhauled, to ensure equality in participation and experience in Clubs. I am thrilled that Australia is co-hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2023. What a time to be an Australian woman involved in the beautiful game!  I doubt there will be a better opportunity to advance women and girls in football in Australia, and to reach the target of 50/50 participation.  We have much to do on many fronts, but this is our time  – oh the places we will go!