An innovative new conference is coming to the Gold Coast in June, the AIESEP World Congress 2022, co-chaired by Dr Sue Whatman, from GIER, and Professor Maree Dinan Thomspon from James Cook University.  


The AIESEP World Congress features a wonderful diversity of speakers and presenters from around the world. Keynotes include equity and critical race scholar Assistant Professor Tara Blackshear from Towson University, Professor Xiaozan Wang from the College of Physical Education and Health at East China Normal University, Dr Lars Borghouts from Fontys University of Applied Sciences and Professor Braden Hill, a Noongar (Wardandi) man from Western Australia who is Pro Vice Chancellor (Equity and Indigenous) and Head of Kurongkurl Katitjin, Edith Cowan University’s Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research.

The Congress is also honouring Professor Doune Macdonald, Pro Vice Chancellor (Teaching and Learning) from the University of Queensland, for her outstanding international contribution to physical education in giving the 2022 Cagigal Scholar Lecturer.

The Scholar Lecture will be hosted at the Hilton Surfers Paradise before the Closing ceremony and dinner. Delegates are coming from more than 30 countries, from doctoral students to university educators to highly acclaimed Professors working with UNESCO 

Dr Sue Whatman from GIER is co-chair

 Dr Whatman says that honouring Indigenous knowledges in physical education is one of the key themes for AIESEP, following on from a successful introduction to AIESEP 2021.  

Dr Whatman says:  

“for people submitting their research to a conference like this, we wanted to encourage those actively doing work on Indigenous knowledges in their respective countries. The hope is it will be embedded in the program for future conferences, and also enable Indigenous scholars to have more of a footprint in the physical education academy.” 


The conference includes a unique social program of nature trips, sports and cultural activities in and around Jellurgal (Burleigh Heads National Park) and has been supported by Destination Gold Coast. Activities will occur in the middle of the day, with the conference having a morning and an evening session, to incorporate international time zones. The conference is novel in that the fee for virtual and in person attendance is equal and by making this social program optional, it reduces registration fees.  

Dr Whatman says:  

“The organising committee has put a lot of collective brain power into this structure and we think it’s going to be a good test case for hybrid conferencing. If one thing lasts from COVID, it is the ability to reach people virtually, those who don’t have the ability to travel, which is a great, socially just outcome of conferencing. However, people have also said they miss human interaction, so we’ve come up with a design with Encore Chime Live that captures the best of both worlds, and reduces conference fees to be more accessible, realistic and affordable for a broader audience.” 

Jellurgal (Burleigh Heads National Park). Photo in the public domain.

The AIESEP World Congress aims to put the Australian physical education research scene onto the international map and showcase the breadth and depth of this group. Curriculum Studies in HPE, a Taylor and Francis hosted journal, are hosting a “meet the editorial board” session during the Congress. The idea is to reach more people in attendance to consider publishing in this journal, which recently went from a Q2 to Q1 ranking. 

Dr Whatman says:  

“We’re connecting the congress group to the Curriculum Studies in HPE journal, which is also the official journal of the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER).  A few years ago, the Editorial Board decided to rename and refocus the journal, so this is a good opportunity to increase awareness and researcher interest in this journal.” 

The AIESEP World Congress takes inspiration from the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in that it will highlight advances in policy and practice that signal important progress towards greater equity and social justice in Health and Physical Education (HPE), Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE), Physical Activity (PA) and Sport. Delegates will have a public transport pass to travel to and from venues, in keeping with the sustainability ethos of the Congress. 

The World Congress is occurring at a time when there is a vital need and unique opportunity to work across boundaries and explore the meanings and possibilities that arise when time, space and place are foci for re-framing thinking, research and practice. As the UN 2030 Agenda argues, it is about collective action, working together, and leaving no-one behind. 

To find out more and get involved with this great work, follow AIESEP on Twitter.