The impact of a diverse, inclusive environment on athletes’ performance was one of the key messages from Team GB at the final event of the Knowledge Exchange celebration at the University of Hull.
The exciting collaborative research project between Team GB and the University, which brought the week-long celebration to a close, highlighted the importance of knowledge exchange.
Designed as a celebration of the transfer of ideas, expertise and skills between the University, businesses and communities, the Knowledge Exchange week saw a series of events run from Monday 16 to Friday 20 November.
The research project, commissioned by Team GB, saw our talented students and academics explore the history of British Olympic Champions of the past. The aim was to inspire the current crop of Team GB athletes by connecting them to their athletic heritage, creating a strong sense of team identity and improving their performance at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and beyond.
Owen Eastwood, Team GB consultant, said: “The collaboration with the University of Hull has been quite outstanding from a British Olympic Association point of view.”
“At Team GB, we understood one of the best ways to bring our athletes together was to create a strong team identity. The project has done a fantastic job at delving into the lives of the past athletes and really bringing them to life again.”
“Particularly in the current time, the country needs to see some joy, and look at a collective team spirit that looks after one another.”
Titled Heritage and Performance: History in Partnership with Team GB and chaired by Professor Glenn Burgess, the webinar featured Team GB consultant, Owen Eastwood, research project lead, Dr Catherine Baker, project manager, Nicole Bateman, and students Grace Hawkins and Lewis Carter. Dr Jenny Macleod, senior lecturer in 20th century history and head of the University’s history department, also worked with students on the project.
During the webinar, a video looking back at the range of British Olympic Champions over the years highlighted key individuals such as Harry Edward: the first black British athlete not just to compete at the Olympics, but to win a medal too, winning bronze in both the 100m and 200m at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp.
Dr Catherine Baker said: “In the project, we tried to focus on the diversity of the athletes of the past, given the diversity of the current team.”
Liz Jenkinson, Director of Knowledge Exchange at the University of Hull, said: “The recent research project and subsequent webinar were sources of true inspiration for all those involved. It was fascinating to look back through our athletic story, and uncover pieces of history that will hopefully have a tangible effect on the current team as they prepare for the Games. It is great to think our staff and students might have played a part in generating a sense of pride, community and heritage that will drive their success at the Tokyo Games.”
“The research project webinar was an exciting finale to a Knowledge Exchange Week that has shone a light on how thoughts, skills and ideas are developed and discussed.”
Additional events that took place throughout the week included: Community Engagement and Archaeology, Working in Partnership to Tackle Modern Slavery, Dare to Bee: Knowledge Exchange in Student Entrepreneurship, Accelerating a Net-Zero Future and Dialogue and Participation in Public Engagement (19 November).
Liz added: “From climate change to modern-day slavery, Knowledge Exchange week tackled challenging subjects – as well as promoting the benefits of partnership working. Our events showing the importance of engaging the community in an archaeology project and methods to drive public engagement were also well-received.”
“I would like to thank all our staff, students and partner organisations who supported our celebration of knowledge exchange. I hope that we will be able to build on this for next year.”
The Knowledge Exchange history project followed an exciting range of Team GB activities on campus, including a marketing challenge for first-year students, a series of Team GB appearances where athletes have shared their personal goal-setting and medal-winning experiences with students, and a family sports event for local schools and colleges. In November 2019, one lucky student went to Tokyo to assist with a virtual reality project to help prepare athletes for Tokyo 2020.
The relationship covers a six-year period and includes the Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 Olympic Games, and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. This unprecedented partnership, announced in January 2019, is borne out of a synergy between the University’s ambitions and beliefs, and those of Team GB.