NOTE: This is the latest in a series of question-and-answer stories featuring faculty members who are integrating the Niagara 2022 Canada Games into the courses they teach at Brock University or the research they’re leading. For more information on Brock’s academic activities around the Games, visit brocku.ca/canada-games
Rob Millington is an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at Brock University who focuses on Sport and Social Change and Sport for Development and Peace. His research looks at how international non-governmental organizations, such as the United Nations and the International Olympic Committee, mobilize sport for development in policy and practice in both historical and contemporary contexts. More recently, his work has focused on the environmental component and sustainable development, to consider what role, if any, sport can play in an environmental context and in meeting sustainable development objectives, including the global Sustainable Development Goals.
Millington has been at Brock since 2019 and teaches courses in sport and sustainable development, the social history of sport and physical education, and qualitative research methodologies.
What is your Canada Games-related course title, code and description?
KINE 4P61 – Sport, sustainability and development
In this course, we explore how sport has increasingly been connected to sustainable development strategies, with particular attention paid to matters of underdevelopment and environmental degradation in domestic and international contexts. In announcing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in October 2015, the United Nations (UN) sought to capitalize upon the transformative potential of sport to promote development while attending to issues of climate change by connecting sport to the achievement of all 17 goals. Relatedly, sporting organizations at all levels have begun to employ sport in pursuit of sustainable development outcomes by using the popularity of sport to promote awareness of, and responses to, underdevelopment and environmental remediation. Despite these efforts, there exist profound tensions between sport’s potential contribution to sustainable development and its rather poor record to date. As such, KINE 4P61 considers the political and theoretical relationship between sport and sustainable development by drawing on a variety of perspectives, including sociological, post-colonial and Indigenous knowledges, with the aim of better understanding the contribution of sport to social change, sustainability and development.
Describe how you’ve integrated Canada Games-related material into your course?
The summative assessment component of KINE 4P61 utilizes the Niagara 2022 Canada Games as a case study to explore and evaluate how sport events are connected to sustainable development initiatives in social, economic and environmental realms. Through the summative project, students are tasked with applying course concepts and materials to develop an interactive website that critically analyzes the history of sport and sustainable development at the Canada Games and beyond, the sustainable development discourses that underpin contemporary practices, and the infrastructural developments and the social development programming at the 2022 Games.
Why do you think the Canada Games present such a good opportunity for students at Brock?
The Canada Games offers a unique opportunity for students to critically reflect on and apply their learning throughout the semester to a real-world case study happening in our own backyard. The Games will afford students a chance to see how sustainable development initiatives are framed and implemented here at Brock and in the Niagara region more broadly. Such an opportunity will deepen our understandings of the complexities of sustainable development programming and evaluate the merits of attaching sport events to sustainability efforts writ large.
Do you have any suggestions for ways your colleagues can use the Games to enhance teaching and learning opportunities in their courses?
Having the 2022 Canada Games in Niagara offers a rare opportunity to study a range of sport-related research and teaching topics. While it is important to take advantage of such opportunities, they do not require a radical reinvention of course delivery or assessment. Rather, the Games provide a chance to explore real-world examples of things that are likely already present in course objectives. For example, incorporating the Games into KINE 4P61 involved a re-imaging of the final assignment so as to offer more hands-on opportunities to apply course concepts.
Once the Games are finished, how do you plan to continue using this new idea in your course?
While the Games may end in 2022, the opportunities to explore and evaluate their impact will continue for some time. For the Fall 2021 semester, the summative course project for KINE 4P61 is aimed at the build-up phase of the Games. Next semester will focus on how the Games were hosted, and future iterations will evaluate the legacy of the Games.
For more information about the KINE 4P61: Sport, sustainability and development course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org