Call for Abstracts - Archival Research Across Leisure Domains


The recycling of data or the transformation of existing material into data is archival research. Classically, archival methods involve the study of historical documents in libraries and large institutions. However, contemporary archives are explored by non-historical researchers and maintained by many different bodies, such as community groups, businesses, education facilities, and individuals. Despite popular belief, archival materials are not just limited to dusty library documents. Rather, it could be evidence from photos shared on Instagram, a musician’s audio collection, government census records, an individual’s memorabilia collection, educational reports, sport club annals, and many more vaults of information. From this perspective, archival materials provide those interested in leisure with numerous opportunities.

The potential of these archives remains under-appreciated by many researchers interested in leisure. This is a shame, as looking through these diverse information sources can enable us to understand historical problems, unfold important events, consider people’s lives, and narrate community stories. For understanding leisure as an important aspect of people’s lives affected by social, political, economic, and cultural processes, archived data has lots to say.

I invite contributions for a special session at the 17th World Leisure Congress 2023 to address the emergence of archival research in leisure studies. And encourage proposals that showcase and enhance the potential of archives for understanding across all domains of leisure. Proposals may wish to focus on, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Studies that showcase the use of archival research methods in leisure studies
  • The digitalisation of archival material and the potential for leisure
  • Social Media as an archive
  • The possibilities for and obstacles to overcome in researching leisure through archives
  • Collaborations between academic and non-academic bodies in archive building and maintenance
  • The discovery and recovery of archived leisure data
  • The risks of losing undiscovered or hidden archives
  • Innovative archival methodologies for understanding leisure

If we approach archives with an open mind, there is little point in identifying the numerous ways archived material may be used. Rather, it is best to simply say that if we as researchers are willing to meet the imaginative challenge of archival research, a myriad of issues central to leisure become open for exploration.

I invite abstracts to be submitted here via the World Leisure Congress website. I welcome enquiries via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Key dates for the session are as follows:

Call for abstracts close - 4 April 2023 at 11:59pm NZST
Abstracts presenters notified - From 25 May 2023

Abstract presenters' deadline to register - 15 August 2023

Congress - 11 to 15 December 2023