National Inclusion Week 2020 - What inclusion means to me: Dr Richard Buscombe

1st October 2020

As part of National Inclusion Week (28 September to 2 October 2020), and in line with the recently established Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee, BASES will be sharing stories from the EDI Committee Members on what inclusion means to them, to help raise awareness about Inclusion in the workplace.

National Inclusion Week 2020:

What does inclusion mean to me?

I think about inclusion in terms of what it means for me as a teacher, coach and member of society. On a surface level it is the provision of opportunity to engage regardless of any inherent or socially constructed restriction. Inclusion operates throughout a system from the point at which a person is considering joining a team, club or university through to the continued involvement of that person in a community post retirement or graduation.

What might influence one’s perception of whether an organisation is inclusive? This may operationalise through the images we use to market ourselves, team or Uni, through word of mouth and reports from alumni or in the words we use in advertising campaigns. Although inclusion is at the core of our professions, it plays out around the edges and in the subtleties of what we do and the way we communicate with others. Inclusion can be notionally achieved through the removal of physical and practical barriers but our best efforts in these areas may still not lead to a student or athlete feeling included. My experience is that inclusion occurs through connection be that with a person or organisation. I also believe that genuine connection can only happen in safe, supportive spaces where power differentials are acknowledged, and measures taken to reduce the ‘distance’ between co-actors.

I am grateful for those students and athletes who, over the years, have shared with me their views on my practice. I am always mindful that inclusion occurs through the eyes of the recipient so my best efforts in this area require constant checking, adjustment, and validation from those with whom I work.


Dr Richard Buscombe, BASES Accredited Sport and Exercise Scientist                                                  Member, BASES Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee                                                                          Senior lecturer, Sport and Exercise Psychology, University of East London 


BASES stands for the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences. BASES is the professional body for sport and exercise sciences in the UK.

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