Andrew Barnfield

2017 Visiting Research Fellow

Fellows Human Physiology Research Group (MFYS) Sport & Society (SASO)
  • Current position 2017 Visiting Research Fellow
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 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine / Practices of physical activity in Brussels / From March to June 2017

Andrew Barnfield is an Assistant Professor in Public Health and the Built Environment, Department of Health Services Research and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. His background is rooted within the social sciences. His primary area of expertise is in Human Geography. In particular, his interests are associated with the interrelations of moving bodies and space, and how these develop novel experiences, affectual intensities and all sorts of interactions within cities. Andrew’s PhD research at University College London (UCL) examined typologies of movement within professional sport exploring themes of affect, corporeality, refrains, and materiality in elite association football.

To answer his research questions Andrew primarily implements qualitative research methodologies. These include participant observation, ethnographic studies, in-depth interviews, focus groups, and go-along methods.

His fellowship at the Brussels Centre for Urban Studies will examine the ways in which two running clubs in Brussels (Enjambèe & Les Gazzelles) use urban space, structure running events, and engage with techniques of health maintenance for non-professional recreational runners. Recreational running clubs are groups that promote running through the organisation of regular runs, events, and physical education without the requirement of registered membership. The clubs provide events that are open to all abilities, ages, and skill levels. The democratic nature of running means that recreational clubs are an ideal mechanism with which to reach under-represented and socially excluded groups. The fellowship will compare findings from a longitudinal project in Sofia, Bulgaria (Barnfield 2016). The cross-comparison between two cities with divergent historical, political, cultural, and urban formation patterns will develop current understandings on the barriers and facilitators of physical activity in Europe. At the same the time the focus on urban space in Brussels will provide a rich array of data that will be useful at municipal, regional, and national governance level.   

The fellowship project has two research questions:

 (1) What are the techniques that the running clubs can offer in efforts to improve participation among adults and under-represented groups in cities and across society?

(2) In what ways is urban space used to foster the running clubs’ activities and the running practices of participants?  

The research will be carried out in close collaboration with the research units MFYS and SASO.