Five years ago ‘Channel 4’ approached the Corporate and Marketing Communications academic group (CMC) to ask us to carry out for them some highly interpretive research around the Paralympics – they were interested to know how audiences make sense of the coverage and thus how they might frame this event in future. From this came award winning, nation-wide phenomenological study conducted over the period of 18 months.
Indirectly this also led to ‘Channel 4’ re-thinking some of the ways in which they promoted and covered the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. Some of those Colleagues involved in this project decided to delve deeper and edited a book published by Routledge (2015) and entitled ‘Reframing Disability? Media, (Dis)Empowerment, and Voice in the 2012 Paralympics’.
As a direct result of being editors of this book, Professor Michael Silk approached Carrie Hodges, Dan Jackson and Richard Scullion to form the core bid team at Bournemouth University for the AHRC grant entitled: ‘Re-presenting parasport bodies: the cultural legacy of the Paralympics’. In November 2016, the team got the news that they were successful in securing over £600k to fund a 30 month long series of studies that will involve a variety of qualitative research packages to consider audience interpretations, the media production and dissemination of the Games, related content as well as media analysis. The project will culminate in an interactive public exhibition and a documentary film.