Pushing Boarders full talks now online

Visual notes from the first academic skateboarding conference

In case you missed the event itself when it hit London, you can now check out all of the Pushing Boarders full talks over on their website in video form. Pushing Boarders, in case you missed the hype around it, was the world’s first academic conference on skateboarding which took place in the capital last month and was well received by pretty much all who attended as far as I know – the perfect balance between in depth talks on a myriad of subjects relating to skateboarding in the 21st century and beer-fuelled evening street sessions on DIY kicker ramps.

The talks delved into a wide ranging of subject matters – below you can find the talk relating to ‘The Challenge of Writing About Skateboarding’, as obviously that’s the one which closely resonates with me – so scroll down for an idea of what to expect, then head to the site to watch at your leisure and feel those brain cells getting a workout…

You can also check out Dani Abulhawa’s write up of the event for more of a nudge to get involved next year.

Skateboarding might not seem like something you can study at university or write about in scholarly journals, but these three panelists have been doing just that for the last 30 years. This panel looks at the legacy and impact of their work from 1988 to 2018 and how skateboarding has changed and stayed the same from Ban This to Atlantic Drift.

Skate videos and photos are an integral part of skateboarding, but how do you capture the vibe of a session or the screech of a powerslide on an SF hill-bomb in writing? This panel explores the myriad of forms and styles that aim to express how skateboarding affects us and how skateboarders push against misrepresentation. How do you write lines about finding lines?

Prof. Neftalie Williams and Karl Watson take a look at the historical contribution of people of colour within skateboarding and discuss their own experiences, reflecting on the notion of a shared identity both as a skateboarder and as a person of colour, and the role of skateboarding as a tool for cultural diplomacy.

There has been a rise in voices advocating for the recognition and support of a broad gendered landscape in skateboarding in contrast to the white, hetero-masculine standard that has dominated it for decades.

This panel considers how a new wave of grassroots organisations, led by skaters, are opening up issues of social and identity politics and starting to run things differently.

As skateboarders, architecture shapes our behaviour through urbanism and design. With the rising visibility of female skaters worldwide, an international group of both former and current professionals, alongside recreational skaters explore how skateboarding not only influences our agency over public spaces, but as women, how this unique lens can become a lifelong vehicle of empowerment.

From Peru to PalestineAfghanistan to Athens, skate charities are harnessing the power of skateboarding to empower marginalised communities in new and innovative ways. Ten years ago, the concept of a ‘skate charity’ didn’t even exist. Today, this skater-led movement is thriving, but what’s next?

Skaters and the city have historically been at loggerheads over the defensive architecture and restrictions placed on public spaces, but things are changing. Skateboarders worldwide are beginning to win hard fought battles to protect iconic spots and construct the inclusive cities they desire. The question is: what do skaters want and need from the built environment?

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