Combining her love for skateboarding with her passion for sociological and cultural research, Dr Willing will speak on a panel at the Pushing Boarders conference in Malmo, Sweden, about the social benefits of skateboarding, particularly for women.
“I am the type of sociologist who is always 100 per cent passionate about what I teach and write about and to get to do research on skateboarding, as I have in recent years, is a dream come true,” Dr Willing said.
“I especially appreciate that the organisers (of Pushing Boarders) are actively inclusive of women’s and minorities’ voices, as we are often on the periphery.
“Australia and the world has a thriving skateboarding scene (and) we can hear from academic researchers who are also skateboarders and are dedicated to exploring its social and cultural benefits, as well as physical benefits.”
Dr Willing said there were increasing numbers of skate education programs in countries affected by conflict or economic disadvantages, as well as in Australia.
“There are learn to skate events working with individuals from Indigenous communities, refugees and people who have escaped human trafficking,” she said.
“There are also groups of older, mature aged skaters who skate regularly and still embrace the sport and lifestyle as strongly as they did in their youth, challenging stereotypes and encouraging ‘active ageing’.”
“I am grateful to be able to combine my passion for skateboarding, promoting diversity, community volunteering and sociology background,” she said.
“These are all things of interest to me as a researcher and former war orphan who was adopted to Australia, a woman who skateboards and someone over 40.”
She will speak at the conference on August 15 in the ‘University of Skate: Support your local Academic’ panel.