Black History Month: Race and Participation in Sport and Exercise

Friday 28th October

Join The University of Huddersfield as we celebrate Black History Month and explore race and participation within sport and exercise!


Join The University of Huddersfield as we celebrate Black History Month and explore race and participation within sport and exercise! Led by Leah Asante, a Senior Lecturer in Podiatry at the University, this ‘in conversation’ style panel event will discuss how race and ethnicity influence the way sport is accessed and experienced. Leah, Maggie, and Jermaine will reflect on their own careers within the sphere of sport and physical activity and what access, equality of opportunity, and creating a sense of belonging means to them. The aim of the discussion is to learn how we can better understand the challenges of racial disparities and improve participation for all. The event includes the chance to think about Black representation in sporting history, through the archival collections at Heritage Quay. Heritage Quay cares for two internationally significant collections of national sporting bodies, the Rugby Football League and England Netball, and participants will be able to look through papers, photographs and learn more about how archival collections shape our understanding of history.

Teas and coffee will be available.

This event is accessible by multiple lifts within Schwann Atrium. You can locate the lifts as well as clear routes and toilets via our accessible campus map.

Meet the speakers:

Maggie Birkenshaw

Maggie was born and grew up in Huddersfield. Her school years were spent at local primary and secondary schools where she achieved sufficient academic qualifications but excelled at sport, in particular netball. Maggie was selected to represent England at Netball and spent the following 13 years representing England various age groups and travelled around the world. Maggie joined West Yorkshire Police at age 20 – her policing career spanned 30 years and was extremely diverse. After retiring from the police, Maggie spent 2.5 years as the Security Manager at The University of Huddersfield and after leaving that role now works as a Netball Coach working with Elite athletes within the Netball Super League franchise Leeds Rhinos.

Leah Asante

Leah was born and raised in Scotland before moving to London to work as a Musculoskeletal Podiatrist. Growing up her interests lay in athletics before moving into the world of football. She is 1 of only 400 women to have achieved a UEFA B coaching license in football, and 1 of only a handful of black women. Leah used her profession within the sporting world to help sportsmen and women achieve greater results within their discipline. It was during this period that her interest in research was ignited, recognising that her experience in practice did not reflect literature, particularly amongst black sportsmen and women, and on the most part, did not exist. Leah moved to the University of Huddersfield in 2020 to work as a Senior Lecturer where she is currently working on her PhD.

Jermaine Akins

Jermaine Akins is a Health and Well-being Coordinator and Personal Trainer. Jermaine’s background has always been health, sport and fitness however last year he added story writing to his skill set. He self-published a children’s storybook named ‘Guess Who I Want To Be’ and was also featured in the ‘Windrush – Three Generations’ book. Jermaine has previously worked at The University of Huddersfield as a Personal Trainer and set up the ‘Girls Who Lift’ class there.