Collaboration. Dialogue. Community building.
These were the mission statements that the Girls and Women in Sport and Physical Activity Conference participants committed to when they chose to gather for a full day of activities in the TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.
The Tucker Center of the University of Minnesota brought sports activists, scholars and students together for an out-of-the-ordinary, interactive and dynamic conference titled Creating Change that emphasized activism and practical application of research for a common goal to create a better environment for females in sports and physical activity.
A significant portion of the conference focused on media representations and problems with popular images of female athletes. The participants of the conference enthusiastically offered strategies for change centered around the goal to give female athletes a say in constructing their own images and representations.
Unsurprisingly, a hot topic of discussion was the emergence of new media that carry the potential for creating the kind of change scholars are looking for. Multiple presenters came to the conclusion that we need to use blogs to not only share our scholarship, but also to engage in a conversation with each other, as well as with the women and girls participating in sports.
Online sites are promising spaces for advocacy. To fulfill this promise, the conference hosts led by Dr. Nicole LaVoi, Associate Director of the Tucker Center, incorporated interaction on Facebook, Twitter and ChimeIn during the program.
Utilizing online spaces to disseminate information and bring attention to voices that have been traditionally excluded from the dialogue is in the right direction towards collaboration and community building. The Creating Change conference demonstrated an effective way of doing just that.