Learning experiences of doing small grant events during Covid, by Philippa Davies


I am a PhD researcher at Cardiff University and WISERD and I was lucky to receive a VSSN development grant in 2020. I applied for the grant to disseminate the findings of my study to the policy sector which was the focus of my study; women leaders’ experience in Welsh sport. My results included women sport leaders’ experience and the factors which advantage or disadvantage them in their roles. The grant was originally going to fund some in-person sessions with sport leaders so I could feedback and discuss the results of my research. I wanted to hold in-person sessions so that leaders could attend, network and have the opportunity to discuss the results directly with me. In addition, one of the results of my research was the north/south divide in Wales. Leadership meetings tend to be south Wales focused and not held in north Wales. Therefore, I had planned to hold one session in south Wales and a further session in north Wales.


However, due to Covid, in-person meetings were cancelled and as such I had to change plans. With the help of the VSSN team, I re-designed the session into one online presentation with a feedback and question session for sport leaders. This was followed by a bilingual pdf of the results. I recorded the online presentation and made it available to watch on YouTube. Although I was disappointed to not be able to hold the in-person sessions, I think the online session was still useful. Leaders could attend the live online session regardless of geography and all be in the same session together and they were able to watch the recording of the session at a time of their choosing. The presentation was well received, and I got good feedback on the report. As a result of these activities I received in an invitation to join the Observatory for Sport in Scotland as a Research Associate. I was also invited to be interviewed live on the Gareth Lewis ‘Drive’ show on BBC Wales radio, which was a nerve-wracking but exciting experience. The whole experience of re-structuring my proposed activities to the Covid environment was a great learning experience and provided me with a great opportunity to think about how to include as many people as possible.