Why our Language is Important - #themovementmovement

Posted: Fri, 11 Dec 2020 15:14

Why our Language is Important - #themovementmovement

When Andy Reed from the Sports Think Tank posed the question – what image comes to mind when you think sport and physical activity sector? - my mind whirled with simultaneous images of walking my dogs, running a 5k with my training buddy, yoga to unwind and cricket with the ladies' team. When I challenge myself to look again at the flickering images, it wasn't the type of activity, who I was with or where it was taking place that were the true image, the focus of my image was movement.

Movement is not a new concept, or a new word being used, I am offering my contribution to this thought piece, whilst stood on the shoulders of giants, those that have understood what I am now starting to grasp. Sport England used the phrase #jointhemovement as part of the Covid-19 activity initiative. You will have all read the World Health Organisation's definition of physical activity as "any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Physical activity refers to all movement including during leisure time, for transport, or as part of a person's work".

Both examples put physiological (the act of) movement at the heart of being physically active. But movement is so much more. When you think of 'the movement' this could be understood as change or development. I can't think of another sector that acts for change, progression or development (as a force for good) like ours, although I do accept my limited world view and complete bias for the sector. I recently came across the Magglingen Declaration which in 2003 explored endless examples of the power that sport and physical activity has to: improve health, perform better in education, improve quality of life, heal emotional scars, support situations of conflict, crisis or social tension, build societies, overcome barriers of race, religion, gender, disability and social background, teach fair play, respect and inclusion, build partnerships, aid understanding, support sustainability and be a universal language.

A social movement is all about taking an idea on societal issues and influencing institutional change, policy modification and rules or practices that govern trade. From my view of the world during Covid-19, I've been in awe of my colleagues @CIMSPA, @SportEngland and @UKactive for the work that they have undertaken in making social change on behalf of the sector, and inspired by watching new social actors such as @NickWhitcombe enter the arena.

If the WORLD Health Organisation refers so frequently to 'movement' in their definition, why are we not aligning ourselves as 'the movement sector'? A sector that enables your movement and is an incredible force for social change.

I'm coming back to Andy's question - what image comes to mind when you think sport and physical activity sector? Now, my image is sport and physical activity a redundant term, that fails to articulate the sector the purpose or mission of the sector I love. A term that fails to identify and represent the vastness of its workforce and what it can do for individuals and wider society. My final thought is that it is language that doesn't resonate with the millions of participants who use it weekly.

I think I've argued myself into a new position that sees that it's time for some new language, to be universally understood and a complete sector re-brand. I'm ready to join the movement, anyone with me? #themovementmovement

by Danielle Peel


Danielle (Danni) Peel is the Head of Organisation Design and Development at the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA), the sectors professional development body that is committed to supporting, developing and enabling professionals and organisations to succeed and, as a result, inspire our nation to become more active.

In her role, Danni leads the project, people, governance and risk management teams, laying the foundations for CIMSPA's future areas of work, and achieving best possible practice in its day to day operations. Danni's previous areas of work include creating and establishing the system for producing professional standards which puts the sectors voice at the heart of the process, re-designing the companies governance structure to meet the needs of a progressive chartered institute, and reforming the institutes Royal Charter and Statutes alongside the Privy Council. Her claim to fame is that the Charter and Statutes reform were ultimately approved by HRH The Queen.

Danni's education comes from Leeds Beckett University where she achieved BA (Hons) Physical Education and MA Sport Business, she is now a student at Middlesex University studying her Professional Doctorate in Transdisciplinary. In her free time Danni is constantly learning new sports and activities, cricket was (almost) mastered this summer and aerial hoop is the latest activity of choice.

Tags: Featured, Movement, Policy, Sport, Sport and Development, Sport for development


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