Cultivating Safe Space: Lessons for Sport-for-Development Projects and Events

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 Victoria University
  • | 2 University of Technology Sydney
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Recent research has examined how sports events and sport-for-development projects can create, sustain, and maximize positive social impacts for local communities. This article takes this debate forward by arguing that the cultivation of safe space is a key ingredient of sport-for-development management and community event leverage. Safe space is conceptualized as a multidimensional process that involves physical, psychological/affective, sociocultural, political, and experimental dimensions. Drawing on empirical findings from Sri Lanka, Israel, and Brazil, the article shows how these dimensions of safe space operate and interact in practice, and identifies practical strategies that sport managers, policymakers, and practitioners can use to cultivate safe spaces in and through sports projects and events.

Ramon Spaaij is with the College of Sport & Exercise Science and Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL), Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, and also with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Utrecht University School of Governance, The Netherlands. Nico Schulenkorf is with the Management Discipline Group, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Lindfield, New South Wales, Australia. Address author correspondence to Ramon Spaaij at

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