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UNESCO Chair "Transforming the Lives of People with Disabilities, their Families and Communities, Through Physical Education, Sport, Recreation and Fitness"

LOGO

In 2013 the IT, Tralee became the first third level institution in the world to receive a UNESCO Chair in Inclusive Physical Education, Sport, Fitness and Recreation.

 

Main goal

This UNESCO chair is committed to transform the lives of people with disabilities, their families and communities through enabling their inclusion in physical education (PE), sport, fitness and recreation by education, advocacy and collaboration between higher-education institutions, federations, development organisations, service providers, users and industry.

 

Objectives

  1. Build the capacity, among professionals, through education and training, to work with (and not only for) people with disabilities in physical education, sport, recreation and fitness. This will be achieved through transferring the programmes and policy developed in IT Tralee and other partner institutions to all areas of need, including developing countries, post-conflict and post- disaster areas.
  2. Develop a virtual space where all interested partners will be able to work towards the universality of physical activity provision.
  3. Promote and engage in multi-sectorial transformational research to address the deficit of knowledge regarding the inclusion of people with disabilities in physical activity contexts.
  4. Mobilise the UNESCO Chair partnership to disseminate, advocate, operate, research and transform current practice in a unified and coordinated manner. Ultimately, this process will lead to changes in legislation, policy and practice in terms of the inclusion of all people with disabilities in PE, sport, fitness and recreation.

 

Areas of priority:

  • Charter on Physical Education and Sport;
  • Peace building;
  • African countries;
  • Gender equality;
  • Youth;
  • Least developing countries;
  • Small island developing states;
  • Needs of disadvantaged and excluded groups;
  • Human rights based approach to physical activity programming;
  • Education for all;
  • Relationship between education and culture;
  • The use of digital technologies, dissemination and sharing of knowledge and resources.

Areas of activity

The chair welcomes projects in the areas of Education, Training and Research, which demonstrate clear potential in developing more inclusive opportunities in the physical activity, sport, recreation and fitness contexts.

 

Scope of Activity

National development: the chair will work to develop infrastructures that will help people with disabilities to engage with PE, sport and active recreation. It is already working at the moment at building a centre of excellence of inclusive design.

 

National Partners include: Irish Wheelchair Association Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport Ireland, Special Olympics Ireland, Irish Blind Sport, Disability Sport Northern Ireland, Irish Disability Sport, Football Association of Ireland, Coaching Ireland, Local Sports Partnerships /Sports Inclusion Development Officers network, Sport’s National Governing Bodies and ILAM (the leisure industry and employers' body).

 

Regional development: The framework offered through the UNITWIN/ UNESCO Chair could be replicated in other European countries. Europe, despite being classified as developed and being at the forefront of much policy, legislation and practice in relation to human rights, is still distant from the best practice in terms of the inclusion of people with disabilities in sport, physical education and fitness activities. Standards for design and operation of facilities will be examined, and we aim to build a best-practice model for others to emulate.

Regional partners include Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education, Palacky University in the Czech Republic, several universities in Iceland, Spain, UK and Finland (see a list of partners below).

International development: The international impact of the UNESCO Chair activities will be broad as we are including developing countries, post-conflict and post-disaster areas as target groups for training and interventions.

 

The International Partners represented in the map below include all the countries we have worked with to date including those who attended the European Congress of Adapted Physical Activity, hosted in Killarney, Kerry in 2012.

MAP

 

The UNESCO Chair project is very broad and partners can have distinctive roles within the overall scheme. There are a number of different projects with a unified goal, and partners can be involved in just one or all the thematic areas outlined in the diagram below. As the Chair develops there will be opportunities for partners to opt in or out of the various projects that we will be applying for. The Chair will obviously actively pursue funding opportunities to support these projects.

CIRCLES

 

Ongoing projects

           

Universal Fitness Inclusion Training (UFIT)

 

The UNESCO Chair in Inclusive PE, Sport, Fitness and Recreation in the ITTralee in partnership with the European Observatory of Sports Employment, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Skillsactive UK, Palacky University in Olomouc & MomentumBD Ltd/IHRSA will refine and transfer resources for Vocational Education Trainers designed to equip fitness professionals with sufficient knowledge, competence and skill to work with people with disabilities in fitness work environments.

There are two Postgraduate Research Projects associated with the Universal Fitness Inclusion Training:

 

Universal Fitness Inclusion Training for Work: Occupational standards & resource pack development

This action research project aims to develop and validate the professional occupational standards, knowledge, competency and skills framework and the functional map for inclusive fitness training. The project will result in a validated comprehensive training package which will be delivered in partnership with employers and will involve people with disabilities in the training. Thus, helping to build capacities of fitness professionals so that they feel competent and confident working with people with disabilities in fitness work environments.

 

Linda Raymond

Student: Linda Raymond

Email: Linda.Raymond@research.ittralee.ie[CS1] 

 

Universal Fitness Inclusion Training for Work: Validating & activating the 8P framework of organizational practice for inclusive fitness

The main goal of this research is to validate and activate the 8P Development Framework with view to embedding inclusion in the fitness sector.

The 8P Development Framework aims to embed inclusion across all dimensions of the fitness sector operations in order to effectively welcome people with disabilities.

The outcome of the research will be a toolkit which will facilitate the adoption of the framework and will provide direction to centre managers regarding inclusive practice in the delivery of fitness services.

 

Gerard Masdeu

Student: Gerard Masdeu

Email: Gerard.Masdeu@research.ittralee.ie[CS2] 

 

Also, a website related with this project is being developed by Michael Scanlon.

 

Universal Fitness Inclusion Training Working Group

The UFIT working group consists of the Institute of Technology Tralee, the European Observatory of Sports Employment, the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid, Skillsactive UK, Palacky University in Olomouc & MomentumBD Ltd/IHRSA.

The UFIT working group will meet regularly over the next two years to refine and transfer resources for Vocational Education Trainers designed to equip fitness professionals with sufficient knowledge, competence and skill to work with people with disabilities in fitness work environments. The most recent meeting took place in Olomouc, Czech Republic where the group defined the tasks and agreed on the competencies of an Inclusive Fitness Instructor.

UFIT Team

UFIT team

 

For some useful links on this project, please consult our page on Facebook (available soon)

 

Master degree projects

 

Evaluation of the Impact of the International Volunteer Programme in HOPE Community Resources (non-profit organization) in Alaska and the Profile of the Volunteers

Postgraduate student: Aisling Sugrue       

Email: aisling.sugrue@research.ittralee.ie

BSc Honors in Health and Leisure with Massage from IT Tralee

The study has two broad aims:

1)    Assess the impact of the international volunteer programme on Hope Community Resources

2)    Assess the impact of the programme on the volunteer’s careers and attitudes towards disability.

Specific objectives related with the Volunteers are:

a)    Characterize the participation of IT Tralee volunteers in HOPE (number, roles, etc);

b)    Describe the volunteer’s experience

c)     Analyse volunteer’s motivations

d)    Evaluate their level of satisfaction with the programme

e)    Evaluate the impact of the volunteer programme on volunteer’s attitudes toward people with disabilities and on their careers.

Specific objectives related with HOPE resources community are:

a)    Describe the attitudes of the employees towards the volunteers

b)    Describe the process of integration of volunteers into the workforce (programme and initiatives developed or adapted by volunteers will be documented)

c)     Evaluate the impact on the community of a short-term programme

 

Investigation into the impact of Irish local authority commitment to sport and physical activity focusing on citizen life satisfaction and levels of physical activity

Postgraduate student: Lee Rushe

Email: lee.rushe@research.ittralee.ie

BSc Honors Degree in Sport Studies from the University of Ulster, Jordanstown

 

Main goal:

The key aim of this research is to determine whether commitment to sport and physical activity (PA) in terms of facilities, personnel and programmes by local authorities (town/borough councils) has an impact on citizen life satisfaction, neighbourhood cohesion, quality of life and physical activity levels and patterns.

 

Objectives

a) Measure the commitment of Local Authorities regarding sport, physical activity and active recreation in terms of personnel, facilities and programme delivery.

b) Identify the catalysts and barriers for commitment to sport and physical activity by Local Authorities.

c) Analyse the impact of Local Authority commitment to sport and physical activity on individual and collective dimensions of community life.

d) Examine Local Authority monitoring and evaluation practices for sport and physical activity provision.

e) Identify guiding principles for impact local sports development by Local Authorities.

Recall: Games of the Past – Sports for Today

Recall: Games of the Past ¿ Sports for Today

IT Tralee and UNESCO Chair represented by Catherine Carty is a partner in the European Project `Recall: Games of the Past – Sports for Today` lead by TAFISA `The Association For International Sport for All`. 

The project aims to reintroduce Traditional Sports and Games (TSG) into the daily lives of children, as a tool to increase sport and physical activity participation and foster social inclusion. The project runs between February 2014 and June 2015, in which 12 partners from 9 countries participate, as following:

  • Finnish Baseball Association (Finland)
  • Aquitaine Sport pour Tous (France)
  • Sport and Citizenship (France)
  • ENGSO Youth (Germany)
  • Institute of European Sport Development and Leisure Studies,
  • German Sport University Cologne (Germany)
  • Hungarian Coaching Association (Hungary)
  • Gaelic Athletic Association (Ireland)
  • Institute of Technology Tralee (Ireland)
  • Centro Studi Ed Iniziative Europeo (European Centre of Studies and Initiatives) (Italy)
  • European Physical Education Association (Luxembourg)
  • Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego (University School of Physical Education, Poznan) (Poland)
  • Confederação Portuguesa das Coletividades de Cultura, Recreio e Desporto (Portugal)

 

IT Tralee and the UNESCO Chair role in the project is to ensure that the sports and games selected are as inclusive as possible and to provide recommendations and guidelines to help professionals achieving that goal.

The first project meeting took place on 18th and 19th of February 2014 in the German Sport University of Cologne and was followed by the second project meeting on the 2nd and 3rd of June in Helsinki in cooperation with the Finnish Baseball Association.

Recall Games of the Past Sports for Today, 1st meeting German Sport University o

Recall: Games of the Past – Sports for Today, 1st meeting German Sport University of Cologne, IT Tralee represented by Catherine Carty.

For some useful links, please consult our page on Facebook (available soon).

 

Master degree projects

 

Postgraduate student: Aisling Sugrue       

Email: aisling.sugrue@research.ittralee.ie

BSc Honors in Health and Leisure with Massage from IT Tralee      

Evaluation of the Impact of the International Volunteer Programme in HOPE Community Resources (non-profit organization) in Alaska and the Profile of the Volunteers

 

The study has two broad aims:

1)    Assess the impact of the international volunteer programme on Hope Community Resources

2)    Assess the impact of the programme on the volunteer’s careers and attitudes towards disability.

 

Specific objectives related with the Volunteers are:

a)    Characterize the participation of IT Tralee volunteers in HOPE (number, roles, etc);

b)    Describe the volunteer’s experience

c)     Analyse volunteer’s motivations

d)    Evaluate their level of satisfaction with the programme

e)    Evaluate the impact of the volunteer programme on volunteer’s attitudes toward people with disabilities and on their careers.

 

Specific objectives related with HOPE resources community are:

a)    Describe the attitudes of the employees towards the volunteers

b)    Describe the process of integration of volunteers into the workforce (programme and initiatives developed or adapted by volunteers will be documented)

c)     Evaluate the impact on the community of a short-term programme

 

Postgraduate student: Lee Rushe

Email: lee.rushe@research.ittralee.ie

BSc Honors Degree in Sport Studies from the University of Ulster, Jordanstown.

Investigation into the impact of Irish local authority commitment to sport and physical activity focusing on citizen life satisfaction and levels of physical activity

 

Main goal:

The key aim of this research is to determine whether commitment to sport and physical activity (PA) in terms of facilities, personnel and programmes by local authorities (town/borough councils) has an impact on citizen life satisfaction, neighbourhood cohesion, quality of life and physical activity levels and patterns.

 

Objectives

a) Measure the commitment of Local Authorities regarding sport, physical activity and active recreation in terms of personnel, facilities and programme delivery.

b) Identify the catalysts and barriers for commitment to sport and physical activity by Local Authorities.

c) Analyse the impact of Local Authority commitment to sport and physical activity on individual and collective dimensions of community life.

d) Examine Local Authority monitoring and evaluation practices for sport and physical activity provision.

e) Identify guiding principles for impact local sports development by Local Authorities.

 

ASSISTID Project

The UNESCO Chair is now a partner on a major Irish-led EU research programme in Autism and Intellectual Disability, co-funded (9 million euro in total) by the EU Marie Curie ASSISTID Cofund and the Irish charity RESPECT was launched on the 15th May 2014. This wide ranging research project, in this specific field, is the first of its kind in Europe.

The programme will promote research into the development and application of assistive technologies to enhance the quality of life of people with intellectual disabilities and autism, their carers and families. ASSISTID is the first structured research programme of its kind in Europe and the most significant investment into assistive technologies research to date.

Assistive Technologies refers to practical tools that can support the functional needs of people who experience difficulties associated with disability or ageing. For people with autism or intellectual disabilities, assistive technologies can transform their lives and allow them to complete everyday tasks which could otherwise be impossible. The National Disability Authority Ireland (NDA) report from 2012 stated that ‘Assistive Technologies is centrally important for disability policy as it is one of the more concrete ways that the barriers to participation in society can be overcome for people with disabilities’.

The ASSISTID programme which will fund 40 post-doctoral fellows is co-funded by the European Commission and the charity RESPECT, and is coordinated by the DOCTRID Research Institute. The DOCTRID Research Institute includes the Daughters of Charity Disability Support Services, all of the universities on the island of Ireland, RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland), Dublin and Tralee Institutes of Technology (UNESCO Chair research centre and  IMaR: Intelligent Mechatronics and Radio Frequency)- and the US universities Michigan State University and the University of Massachusetts. This is the first time that all of the universities on the island of Ireland have joined together in an EU funded research consortium.

 

How to collaborate with the Chair:          

The UNESCO CHAIR is committed to support projects which advance the main goal of progressing towards a more inclusive society using physical activity as a privileged tool but it also welcomes innovative partnerships with other areas of research and knowledge.

In this sense, we invite all whose research interests and ideas are akin with the ethos of this Chair to share them with us and we commit to offer all the support we can for instance in terms of connecting them with potential partners, evaluate the feasibility of the project and offer suggestions, put in place necessary arrangements, help with funding proposals. UNESCO chair is also open to collaborate in existent projects within the remit of its action.

Similarly, we welcome partnerships with non-academic institutions, who are committed to pursue the same goals, whether in terms of expressing their needs, developing specific projects or evaluating their efforts in promoting inclusive environments.

Initial contacts for potential collaboration can be made to:

Dr. Dana Ciocan (UNESCO Postgraduate researcher): dana.ciocan@staff.ittralee.ie

Dr. Carla Filomena Silva (UNESCO Chair research assistant): carla.silva@staff.ittralee.ie

 

Notice board

New team members:

Dana

The existing ITTralee UNESCO Chair team will be joined by two other new research staff namely, Dr Dana Ciocan and Dr Carla (Mena) Silva. Dr Dana Ciocan, who comes from a lecturing post in Vasile Alecandri University, Bacua Romania, Department of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy. Dana has a PhD in PE & Sport (psychology focused); a BA in Psychology (Faculty of Psychology & Education Science); a Master’s of Science in Physiotherapy (Faculty of Movement Sport and Health); a BA in PE and Sport; and Professional Training in Occupational Therapy.

 

Mena

Dr. Carla Filomena Silva (Mena) is coming to us from Loughborough University. Mena has a PhD in Sociology of Sport (sitting volleyball); Erasmus Mundus Master’s in APA; Post Graduate in Exercise and Ageing; BSc in Sports Science and School Sport; BA in Portuguese Studies; PGSCE in Sports Coaching and PE; PGSCE in Portuguese Language and Literature.

 

Helsinki and the traditional games

Dr. Dana Ciocan represented IT Tralee and the UNESCO chair at the second meeting of the project “Recall: Games of the Past – Sports for Today” in Helsinki, on the past 2nd and 3rd of June 2014.

 

UNESCO CHAIR in the Sitting Volleyball 2014 World Championships in Elblag, Poland

Following an invitation from Volleyslide (see useful links) and World ParaVolley (former world organization of Volleyball for the Disabled), Dr. Carla Filomena Silva will be attending the world volleyball championships which take place in Elblag, Poland, from the 15th to 21st of June 2014. The aim of this participation is to forge international partners to advance the UNESCO chair goals through the dissemination of Sitting Volleyball in Ireland and worldwide.

For some useful links, please consult our page on Facebook.

 

Universal Fitness Inclusion Training- UFIT

Within the remit of the UNESCO CHAIR UFIT project, Catherine Carthy, Una Moyniham and the postgraduate students Gerard Masdeu and Linda Raymond participated in a meeting in the Czech Republic from the 4th to 6th  June, with all the other international project partners.