Pieter Smets, a member of the DEMOS team, has more than 10 years of field and policy experience within urban settings in relation to sport, associational life and disadvantaged groups, has written several social projects and practice-based popularization publications, and is an often invited speaker/expert in relation to these issues.
Dēmos is a non-partisan public research and advocacy organization established in 2008 with the focus on social and policy developments in culture, youth work and sports. It publishes books and a magazine, organises symposia, work shops, cafés and other gatherings. Dēmos also does research and provides advice to organisations and governments, contributes to the development of policy and practices that focus mainly on groups and practices that are under-represented and underexposed in our society.
The key themes of the current project set up within Pieter’s Civil Society Fellowship are:
- Disadvantaged groups belonging to a ethnic (religious) minority background
- Organization of sport
- Genderroles and relations
- Urban challenges in relation to associational life (i.e. sport clubs)
Project’s main aim is to execute a comprehensive in-depth analysis of sport clubs in Brussels situated within attention areas (disadvantaged neighborhoods), with a focus on (1) challenges regarding superdiversity & gender and (2) innovative strategies in dealing with superdiversity & gender within organized club-based sport.
The organized sport ‘sector’ (i.e. community sports, sport clubs) in urban and superdiverse settings, such as Brussels, faces existential challenges, and this because of profound urban demographic changes and specific factors that are related to poverty, diversity and social exclusion. But also challenges which are inherently related to current sport provisions. The project aims to – from an empirical practice-based perspective – generate a deeper understanding of such challenges, with a specific additional focus on gender. And by doing so, it contributes to the public debate about the role of organized sports in superdiverse and changing societies in relation to disadvantaged and sociallyexcluded groups.
Pieter Smets is collaborating with the following two VUB-research centres: Sport & Society (SASO) and the Centre of Expertise Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality (RHEA).