Winning at what cost? The role of character in sports

Tuesday 22 March 2022 (09:00-10:00)

Please contact Richard Brunt in Birmingham Global for more information.


To celebrate the Commonwealth Games Queen's Baton Relay passing through Australia, hear from a range of experts as they discuss and explore ethical and moral questions associated with sport. This event is co-hosted by the University of Birmingham and the Institute for Ethics and Society at the University of Notre Dame Australia.

Sport – watching it, participating in it, discussing it – is an incredibly popular pastime. It is also very valuable – not just physically and mentally, but also socially and in economic terms. Elite athletes earn big bucks and gain international profiles. Our sports heroes are adored and often labelled as role models. This is a lot of pressure to place on individuals who are good at a particular game or succeed in certain competitions. This virtual panel discussion seeks to interrogate the role of sports and athletes in ethical and moral terms – asking whether character matters when it comes to sport. Is it right that sports people be held to a high moral standard? That we expect them to exhibit virtuous behaviour? And what should we do when they fall short of our ethical expectations?

Time: 09:00 GMT/20:00 Sydney EST   


Prof Andrew Peterson, School of Education, University of Birmingham

Andrew Peterson is Professor of Character and Citizenship Education and Deputy Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. His research focuses on the relationship between character and citizenship education, particularly the nature of civic virtues. He has published widely in these areas, and is also interested in the role of sport participation and sport coaching in enabling young people to develop and express various aspects of their character – including moral and civic dimensions

Dr Adam Piovarchy, University of Notre Dame Australia

Adam Piovarchy is a Research Associate at the Institute for Ethics and Society at the University of Notre Dame, Australia. His research focuses on moral responsibility, the ethics of blame, and how our environment affects our moral decision-making. He completed his PhD in Philosophy at The University of Sydney in 2020, and also holds a Masters of Bioethics from Monash University.

Dr Alexandra Consterdine, School of Sports Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Birmingham  

Alexandra is currently a lecturer in sports pedagogy at the University of Birmingham and based within the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences. Originally trained as a PE teacher, she has extensive experience of lecturing in Further and Higher Education in sport science and sport coaching programmes at a number of levels since 1997. After completing an MSc in Exercise and Sport, she began teaching physiology and coaching disciplines at Manchester Metropolitan University. This led to a duel teaching and research role at MMU, where Alex completed her PhD on power and high-performance athletics in 2020. Her work draws upon poststructuralist and postmodern theory and sensibilities to take a contemporary and critical perspective in (re)conceptualising high-performance coach-athlete relationship(s). Alex positions herself as a critical sports coaching sociologist, also interested in community sports coaching and the ethics of qualitative research.

Liz Wright  

Elizabeth Wright is a Paralympic Medalist, the National Disability Affairs Reporter for the ABC, and disability allyship advocate

Moderator: Dr Laura D’Olimpio

Dr Laura D’Olimpio is Associate Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of Birmingham, UK and co-founder and co-editor of the Journal of Philosophy in Schools. Her first book, Media and Moral Education: a philosophy of critical engagement (Routledge, 2018) won the 2018 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia’s annual book prize. Her second book, The Necessity of Aesthetic Education is forthcoming with Bloomsbury and she is currently co-editing Educating Character Through the Arts, forthcoming with Routledge. Laura regularly contributes to The Conversation, and Radio National’s Philosopher’s Zone and The Minefield.


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