Popular Entertainment Studies – Vol 2, No 1

The Popular Entertainment Studies eJournal applies an interesting range of theoretical perspectives to the broad spectrum of entertainment.  A new issue of the journal has been published which includes a paper I wrote on the impact of spectators on the experience of mountain bikers at community level events. It is exciting to see this work sit in conversation with explorations on other forms of entertainment, particularly those which lie within the performing arts.

I would be interested in hearing responses to this work from artists, bikers and participants of other forms of sporting or skilled practice.  This link will lead you to the journal’s website and full PDF copies of all articles. An abstract for my own paper is below.

I’d like to thank my PhD supervisor, Ian Maxwell, for his guidance with this and other work, and the other staff and students at the University of Sydney’s Department of Performance Studies for their support and encouragement toward the diverse, exciting range of research being undertaken there.

Sport, Entertainment and the Live(d) Experience of Cheering

Kath Bicknell


Sport is readily thought of as entertainment in the context of both live events and individual practice. Both experiences are widely consumed, produce excitement, satisfaction and a great sense of fun among participants. This paper uses phenomenological and anthropological methods to look at the embodied relationship between athletes and cheering at cross­-country mountain bike events to investigate the experience of sport — understood as both entertainment and skilled performance practice — by both athletes and spectators alike. This work also allows for better understandings of the rehearsal processes of other types of popular entertainment, such as circus or dance, which also have a rigorous physical component in their development and execution but may not have an audience as vocal or articulate during the time of the performance as that on the sporting field.