Dr Adam Benkwitz is Head of Sport and Health and Social Care at Newman University. He is also a Reader in the Sociology of Sport and Health and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). In 2019 Adam won a national ‘Advance HE Collaborative Award for Teaching Excellence (CATE)’, along with colleagues and students for their work on mentoring and learning analytics. He currently works on a range of research projects with partners including Rethink Mental Illness, Sport England, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT, where he is Chair of the Recovery Committee), Aston Villa Football Club Foundation, Birmingham MIND, Birmingham and Solihull Recovery College (for which he is Chair of the Advisory Group), Sport Birmingham, West Midlands Combined Authority, Birmingham County FA, as well as colleagues at numerous other HEIs. He leads the ‘Mental Health through Sport’ partnership (see MentalHealththroughSport.com). He acts as an External Examiner at Edge Hill University, acts as a reviewer of grants for the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), and Advance HE, as well as being a member of Birmingham City Council’s ‘Mentally Healthy City’ Forum. He currently supervises three PhD students, and he has been involved in numerous staff/student projects relating to student engagement, mentoring and enhancing the student experience via learner analytics.
Adam’s role as Head of Subject includes a range of responsibilities within the Faculty, in addition to the Institutional roles of Vice-Chair of Newman Health and Wellbeing Advisory Board, sitting on the Learner Analytics Steering Group, the Mitigating Circumstances Panel, the Timetabling Steering Group, and being part of the Mental Health First Aider programme.
Adam teaches and leads modules across undergraduate and postgraduate level, and also leads sessions on Newman’s doctoral student research programme.
His main areas of interest are mental health and sport; mental health and personal recovery; and the sociology of sport and health; in addition interests in student engagement and learner analytics; and the study of sport fandom.
Membership of Professional Organisations
- Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).
- Member of the International Sociology of Sport Association (ISSA).
- Member of the British Sociological Association (BSA).
- Member of the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT).
- Honorary Researcher with the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT).
Adam also acts a PhD supervisor for the following:
- Irfan Khawaja (2016-) – ‘Exploring Children’s Physical Activity Behaviours according to Location.’;
- Imran Ali (2016-) – ‘Exploring the development of the BSMHFT Recovery College’;
- Maria McArdle (2016-) – ‘Resilience and Youth Mental Health in Birmingham’.
Parkes, S., Benkwitz, A., Bardy, H., Myler, K., and Peters, J. (2020) Being more human: Rooting learning analytics through resistance and reconnection with the values of Higher Education. Higher Education Research and Development Journal, 39(1), pp.113-126 https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2019.1677569
Khawaja, I., Woodfield, L., Collins, P., Benkwitz, A., and Nevill, A. (2019) Exploring Children’s Physical Activity Behaviours According to Location: A Mixed-Methods Case Study. Sports, 7, 240. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7110240
Benkwitz, A., Morris, M., and Healy, L. (2019) An Ethnographic Study Exploring Football Sessions for Medium-Secure Mental Health Service-Users: Utilising the CHIME Conceptual Framework as an Evaluative Tool. Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Mental Health. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40737-019-00135-x
Benkwitz, A., and Healy, L. (2019) ‘Think Football’: Exploring a Football for Mental Health Initiative Delivered in the Community through the Lens of Personal and Social Recovery. Mental Health and Physical Activity. 17(1), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mhpa.2019.100292
Benkwitz, A., Parkes, S., Bardy, H., Myler, K., Peters, J., Akhtar, A., Keeling, P., Preece, R., & Smith, T. (2019) Using student data: Student-staff collaborative development of compassionate pedagogic interventions based on learning analytics and mentoring. Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport, and Tourism Education. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhlste.2019.100202
Benkwitz, A. (2016) The Perils of Ethnography: Studying Football Fan Rivalry in Birmingham. In: Purdy, L., and Molnar, G. Ethnographies in Sport and Exercise Research. London, Routledge, pp. 141-154.
Benkwitz, A., and Molnar, G. (2016) The Emergence and Development of Association Football: Influential Sociocultural Factors in Victorian Birmingham. Soccer and Society. DOI:10.1080/14660970.2015.1133409.
Miller, P., and Benkwitz, A. (2016) Where the Action is: Towards a Discursive Psychology of “Authentic” Identity in Soccer Fandom. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 23(1), 40-50.
Benkwitz, A. (2016) Brief Encounters with Qualitative Methods in Health Research: Ethnography. Cumbria Partnership Journal of Research, Practice and Learning, 5(1), 3-7. Accessed from: https://www.cumbriapartnership.nhs.uk/health-professionals/the-journal/volume-5-issue-1-summer-2016
Benkwitz, A. (2015) A Social History of Tennis in Britain [Review]. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 32(9), 1220-1221, DOI:10.1080/09523367.2015.1040611.
Benkwitz, A., and Molnar, G. (2012) Interpreting and Exploring Football Fan Rivalries: An Overview. Soccer and Society, 13(4), 479-494.
Grants & Funding Awarded:
£424,457 – Comic Relief ‘Ahead of the Game’ fund, “Moving lives, healthy minds” project. January 2020 – May 2023. In partnership with collaborators Sport Birmingham and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust.
£10,000 – MIND Sport and Physical Activity Regional Network Hub – West Midlands. November 2019 – December 2021. In partnership with lead collaborator Sport Birmingham.
£30,000 – Rethink Mental Illness & Sport England: Movement For All Tender. September 2018-December 2021, in partnership with colleagues at Nottingham Trent University.
£34,579 – Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) – Research Evaluation of the BSMHFT Recovery College, November 2015-September 2019.
£48,027 – Collaborative development of pedagogic interventions based on learning analytics, HEFCE Catalyst Fund: Innovations in learning and teaching, and addressing barriers to student success, December 2016-March 2018.
£2,500 – Academic Development Fund (School of Human Sciences), Evaluation of Football for Mental Health Service, in partnership with Aston Villa Football Club Foundation, November 2016-June 2017.
£852 – Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Award / HEA Funded Student / Staff Partnership – Student mentoring Project, January 2015-June 2016.
£845 – Academic Practice Unit – Student / Staff Partnership – Student Peer Mentoring Project, December 2016-June 2017.
£1,154 – HEFCE Funded Learning Analytics Project (Using Student Engagement Data) – Phase One, February 2017-June 2017.
£2,305 – Academic Development Project Fund (Faculty of Arts, Society and Professional Studies), Student Mentoring in a Mental Health and Football Project, in partnership with Aston Villa Football Club Foundation, October 2017-June 2018.
Benkwitz, A., & Hipkiss, R. (2019) Working in Partnership to Enhance Mental Health through Sport: Using the CHIME Framework. Allied Health Professionals Conference at BSMHFT, 15th March 2019.
Parkes, S., Benkwitz, A., & Bardy, H. (2018) Student-Staff Partnerships: Responding Compassionately to ‘Big Data’. 6th International Academic Identities Conference (IAIC), Hiroshima University, Japan, 20th September 2018.
Benkwitz, A., and Healy, L. (2018) Utilising the CHIME Conceptual Framework to Explore a Co-Produced Football for Mental Health Initiative Delivered in the Community in Birmingham, UK. 6th International Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise (QRSE), University of British Columbia, Canada, 5th June 2018.
Benkwitz, A. (2018) Evaluating the Lived Experiences of Medium-Secure Service-Users in a Football Therapy initiative. Secure Research Committee, BSMHFT, Birmingham, 15th March 2018.
Parkes, S., Benkwitz, A., and Bardy, H. (2018) Learning Analytics in the Student Centred University: Perspectives and Partnerships at Newman University. European First Year Experience (EFYE), Utrecht University, The Netherlands, 26th June 2018.
Benkwitz, A. (2018) Embodying Newman’s values through staff/student engagement with the community: The ‘Think Football’ mental health project in Aston. Learning and Teaching Conference, Newman University, 19th January 2018.
Bardy, H., Preece, R., Keeling, P., Benkwitz, A., Smith, T., Myler, K., Akhtar, A., and Parkes, S. (2018) Pro-active assessment of student activity: reflections on a pilot study into learning analytics at Newman University. Learning and Teaching Conference, Newman University, 19th January 2018.
Benkwitz, A. (2017) Mental Health and Sport: Reflecting on an Ethnographic Study of ‘Football Therapy’ Sessions in the National Health Service (NHS) in Birmingham, UK. The European Conference on Mental Health (ECMH), Berlin, Germany, 4th-6th October 2017.
Benkwitz, A., Hunter, H., and Ridge-Stearn, J. (2017) ‘Student peer mentoring: reflecting on on-going projects and seeking to inform learning and teaching practice’. Learning and Teaching Conference, Newman University, 20th January 2017.
Benkwitz, A. (2016) ‘Mental Health and Physical Activity: An Ethnographic Study of Football Sessions in Birmingham’. The 5th International Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise Conference (QRSE), at Chichester University, 1-3rd September 2016.
Clark, J., and Benkwitz, A. (2016) ‘The Development of the Birmingham Recovery College for Mental Health’. The Conference for the Launch of the ‘Mental Health Research and Innovation Hub’ at the National Centre for Mental Health, Birmingham, 23rd February 2016.
Benkwitz, A. (2014) ‘Reflecting on the Benefits and ‘Perils’ of Ethnography’. The 4th Annual International Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise Conference (QRSE), at Loughborough University, 1-3rd September 2014.
Benkwitz, A. (2014) ‘Reflecting on the Benefits and ‘Perils’ of Ethnography’. University of Cumbria’s Research and Enterprise Conference, 4th July 2014.
Benkwitz, A. (2014) ‘Conflict and Rivalry between Football Fans in the City of Birmingham: Using Ethnography to Explore Territoriality’. University of Bergamo’s (Italy) Etnografia e Ricerca Qualitativa, 5-7th June 2014.
Benkwitz, A. (2013) ‘Football Fan Rivalry in Birmingham’. University of Salford’s Tri-University Symposium on ‘Conflict Studies’, 25th April 2013.
Benkwitz, A. (2012) ‘Factors that underpin Football Fan Rivalry in Birmingham’. University of Cumbria’s Research and Scholarship Conference, 6th July 2012.
Benkwitz, A. (2012) ‘’The City is Ours’: Football Fan Rivalry, Space and Territory in Birmingham’. Liverpool Hope University’s Sport, Conflict and Reconciliation Conference, 28th April 2012.