Kath Bicknell

How do the skills you’re exploring now relate to the things you might do in the future? Or to answer a question I also get a lot: ‘What is it that you actually do again?’

Mark Parry shot a series of videos answering these questions for the Department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University in Sydney. It was initially developed as part of a third year undergraduate course called ‘Cognitive Science in the Real World’. The series interviews all kinds of interesting people about the professional work they do, shares advice for current students and cleverly reveals the smaller moments and interests that brought them to where they are today. Like any good content, it’s enjoyable and relevant to people with much broader interests as well. Read More

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What do we mean when we talk about the connection between bike, body and trail? How do small changes in bike set up change the way you move? How about a whole new bike?

My chapter, “Technology, Equipment and the Mountain Biker’s Taskscape,” was recently published in Women in Action Sport Cultures: Identity, Politics and Experience, edited by Holly Thorpe and Rebecca Olive. Drawing on theory from anthropology and phenomenology, this chapter looks at some of the behavioural and social implications of the cycling industry’s shift to design bikes with female riders in mind. It draws on my work as an academic in conjunction with my work as a product tester working for bike media.

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Abstract:

Research exploring risk in sport tends to focus on the relationship between behaviour and action from a psychological or subcultural standpoint. In this chapter I explore the variable ways technology mediates experiences between body and world, action and perception. I do this by drawing on insights from phenomenology and anthropology to investigate recent developments in bike design aimed at improving the ride experiences of female mountain bikers. This foregrounds the role technology and equipment can have on the development of confident ‘I cans’, demonstrating the impact equipment has not just on performance, but on behaviour and embodied perceptions of risk. By exploring the way new technology mediates individual and social experiences in mountain biking, this chapter reveals the dynamic relations between equipment, perception, cognition and performance.

The book brings together compelling perspectives from a range of academic disciplines on sports including climbing, parkour, snowboarding, surfing, mixed martial arts, roller derby and biking. It makes me proud to be a rider, and proud to be part of this growing, global research community as well. You can read more about the book, including previews of other chapters, here.

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If you can’t track down a copy of the book through a university library, but are interested to learn more, please get in touch.

Photos, including a couple of the local ride crew in Sydney: Kath Bicknell

 

How do you navigate a rock garden when you hit it for the very first time? How do you make sense of the performance capabilities of a new piece of equipment, or a whole new bike? Read More

On 1-2 October, a diverse collection of academics, industry, government, athletes and recreational riders will get together in Cambridge, New Zealand to talk about cycling. The Future of Cycling: Challenges and Possibilities symposium, hosted by the University of Waikato, will be held at the Avantidrome, New Zealand’s Home of Cycling. I describe this place to people on the Western Island as like the Australian Institute of Sport, but just for cyclists. Read More

At a time when funding is increasingly competitive and people have more choice than ever about how and where to invest their energy, how do the arts to compete? It’s no longer enough to create exceptional work and know that people will line up to witness it. We’ve entered an emotion- and experience-based economy where consumers have more options than ever before, and are more critical about what they get from participation in return. So how do we harness the energy of these audiences and keep the arts running high on the list of things that people choose to attend? The Audience Experience addresses this by examining multiple factors that lead to audience enjoyment, growth and participation. While each chapter offers key insights into this area of scholarship, the strength of the book is in bringing these elements together. In doing so, the authors offer an account of audience participation as active, localised, varied and complex.

(Bicknell, Kath, review of The Audience Experience: A critical analysis of audiences in the performing arts, ed. by Jennifer Radbourne, Hilary Glow and Katya Johanson, Austalasian Drama Studies 65, (2014): 326-330.) Read More