As Hull's first and only gay and inclusive rugby club, the Hull Roundheads RUFC are exploring the barriers and stigma that exists in sport to LGBTIQ+ participation, by working with a researcher to help document stories and translating these into a live performance.
The club are combining conversations with existing members alongside engagement from the wider LGBTIQ+ community to help design impactful approaches to story sharing and improved mental wellbeing. Hull Roundheads Chairman David Eldridge said:
"All interviews are semi-structured and largely guided by the interviewee's interests, which means there is a considerable degree of agency in topics that arise."
The primary researcher on the project is a playwright as well as an academic, with substantial experience of developing writing from life experiences. She has been guiding the interview process, advising the group and the project manager on the approaches to take in organic fact-finding conversations.
Initially estimating to conduct around thirteen interviews in the first stage, the project has now conducted twenty-five total interviews to gain as broad a range of perspectives as possible. The trust that has built between the researcher, project manager and club members has meant a number of additional members have volunteered to take part after hearing about the project.
The plan is to now work with the researcher to collate these stories and develop dramatic monologues to produce and perform to the community. Whilst the initial interview stage was more about fact-finding and exploring people's experiences, this next phase is set to be more collaborative and co-produced.
More recently, the project has also started to engage with a secondary researcher that works on projects with Hull University Sports to improve engagement of ethnically minoritized communities in Hull. The Roundheads will be gaining from the experiences and lessons they've learnt, and thinking about how they can apply this to their own approaches to widening inclusivity in rugby.
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