Port Cities Seminar: Sport, Solidarity and Social Inclusion

Roundtable discussion with local and international partners on innovating for sport, solidarity and social inclusion in our cities.

Virtual Place

This event ran live online via Zoom as part of the Cork Harbour Festival and was recorded as resource for the UNIC Open Case repository.


Start: 07.06.2022
End: 07.06.2022


Cork Harbour Festival

As we move through the streets, parks, ports, waterways and public realms of our urban centres, it is through activities like sports and festivals that we find opportunity for encounters with each other. They allow us to gather, to connect, to amplify and to animate us as active members of our communities, locally and globally.

This international roundtable discussion which explores themes of body and movement(s), sport, physical activity and innovation invites us to consider how, together, we can we rise to the challenge to create healthy, inclusive and sustainable futures for our port cities.

Watch now to hear city and university colleagues across the UNIC European University Alliance and Port University League draw on their diverse perspectives and expertise to provide insights on how we can realise the benefits of personal and collective health, wellbeing and solidarity within our cities.


  • Ms. Judie Russell, The Vidacademy (as Chair)

  • Dr Fiona Chambers, Head of School of Education and Founder of Global Design Challenge for Sport and Physical Activity provides an overview of the Global Design Challenge – inviting people to engage in this global competition and design thinking methodology. (video play from 09:47)

  • Mr. Jeff Gomez, PhD, UCC Sport Performance Manager and UCC IGNITE ’22 Entrepreneur tells his story of idea to inclubation as a past award winner of the Global Design Challenge. (video play from 20:33)

  • Dr. Yvon Bonenfant, artist-researcher and Head of Dept. of Theatre at University College Cork invites us to consider the design of our urban spaces and how performative arts can provide spaces for all bodies to be physically active, present and expressive in our cities. (video play from 27:00)

  • Prof. Ichiro Araki, Port University League at Yokohama National University, Japan provides an overview of the Port Cities University League where international collaborations and cooperation foster excellence and innovation towards creating a global research and education base for port cities. (video play from 40:11)

  • Mr. Renay Onur, General Manager & Board Member at Spor İstanbul and Social Entrepreneur/Ashoka Fellow shares his experience in Spor Istanbul, increasing physical activity for health in a city with a population of 16million and a high incidence of obesity and type II diabetes**. *(**video play from 56:18)*

  • Roundtable discussion (video play from 01:03:00)

Some highlights from the discussions:

  • Sport and physical activity, the body and movement as a universal language can support the agenda of social inclusion;
  • Sport and movement are a unique medium to bring people together, creating a sense of community, participation and solidarity;
  • Innovation can reduce barriers to participation and increasing education and training in design thinking approach can build the mindset for innovative solutions;
  • The expertise from performative arts can strengthen the link between ‘play’ and sport - for more inclusive physical activity that connects with people who may not see themselves as belonging in those spaces;
  • In the context of Port Cities – a focus on urban frameworks is important and how city design informs a sense of ownership or belonging in our cities, in particular for minority groups (e.g. women, race, lgbtq+);
  • In working on international collaborations - a key to success is collaborating with the right people: municipality, Universities and communities working in partnership bring a strong mix of resources and expertise to the table;
  • Open air exercises are successful – raising visibility, participation and strong social return on investment proven in Istanbul;
  • 5 megatrends/anchor points for empowering physical activities in our cities:

    • State of Place: to be sustainable needs to to be embeded in local context
    • Solace as Service: making time for physcial actvity and play
    • Joining: creating meaningful connections
    • Freedomism: inviting movement and having fun
    • Where digital and physical meet

For more on Trends & Challenges in sport and physcial activity as well as Design Thinking and Innovation check out the Open Case Respoitory with learning resources from the Global design Challenge 2022 Warm-Up event here.

This CityLabs event was the second Cork Harbour Festival seminar on the Future of Port Cities. You can watch the first seminar 'The Future of Port Cities: Post Pandemic Recovery, Resilience and Renaissance' here.


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Diversity and Inclusion | Social inclusion | Health & Wellbeing

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