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Jumpers for Goalposts; Experimentation, Improvisation and Play

This exhibition showcases football related research and creative output from across Loughborough University. Contributors from the Sports Technology Institute, Design School, Architecture, Sports Exercise and Health Sciences, Fine Art, Textiles and beyond, have kindly allowed us to share their work.


Over a period of 10 months curators Phil Barber and Mike Shaw have explored the campus, meeting lecturers and researchers, teachers, writers, professors, scientists, artists, engineers and designers. Using football as a connective thread, we discovered a dynamic ‘creative process’ that often transcends disciplines; A passionate and committed engagement in the testing and trying, the experimentation and play, the improvisation and imagination that leads to cutting edge developments and world-leading research. Beyond the differing faculties, locations, and terminology, is a spirit of ‘purposeful play’, of curiosity and creativity, ingenuity and originality, that connects all of our endeavours.

The result is not an expected exhibition about football, but instead an exploration of the paraphernalia required to make football work, be that balls, shirts, stadia, fans or pitches. For example, Dr Kerri Akiwowo’s ‘Afro-futurist Sports Jersey’ is a materially explicit commentary on the history of women's participation in sport, particularly black sportswomen, whilst Lauren Holmes’ research is at the cutting edge of increasing women’s access to sport through sports bra development. You can also play on a unique and bespoke foosball table; the figures have been redesigned by Design School students and others, doing away with generic, identical plastic moulds in favour of player designs that reflect disabled players amongst other new and fascinating figurines. Alessio Norrito’s ongoing research explores migration, racism and the ways in which migrants to Italy, from Africa, find a sense of home and place in football. Norrito’s research is particularly pertinent given the location of this year’s world cup and the human rights record of a number of the countries represented. Artist Rosanna Frith-Salem explores football through time, space and history and also interrogated the legitimacy of the tournament staging through a collaborative artwork in a workshop. Jumpers For Goalposts also explores our relationship to the game and the positivity it still has the potential to bring as it continues to evolve and develop.

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