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Digital cultures and young people
Mega events and urban space

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Personal profile

Area of academic expertise - outline

I have two main areas of research expertise. The first focuses on the contemporary significance of events and festivals (sporting and cultural) as markers of identity and mechanisms for the achievement of wider economic, social and cultural externalities.  Second, I have expertise in the affordances of digital and social media in enabling (and contraining) participation in civic life, including in educational settings and in democractic processes.   

Current research activities

I am co-investigator on a major UK/Canadian collaborative project exploring the role of sport events for persons with a disability in influencing community accessibility and community perceptions of disability. This work extends into exploring media representations of para-athletes and the impact of media narratives on the experiences of persons with a disability. I am also invovled in research exploring the role of major events in the transformation of urban space and continue to undertake research into the affordances of digital and social media as they impact on young people, older adults and those that are poorly represented by mainstream media. Finally I am a co-investigator on a major European mobility research project titled EventRights, which focuses on the impact of mega sport events on human rights.  

Desired research direction

My future research interests focus on two main areas of activity. The first area of interest is the contemporary significance of events and festivals (sporting and cultural) as markers of identity and mechanisms for the achievements of wider economic, social and cultural externalities. In this areas I'm interested in exploring further how events policies impact on urban civic space. I'm also interested in subjecting the rhetoric around the social value accruable from major events to critical scrutiny, especially around the impact of these events on the human rights of the most vulnerables parts of the population.  

The second area of research relates to the affordances of digital culture, especially related to understandings of digital citizenship, participation and the role of everyday digital media platforms and practices in enabling (or restricting) voices within an increasingly saturated media landscape. 

Other areas of expertise available for knowledge exchange

I can bring expertise in impact and outcome evaluations having undertaken several projects in recent years. 

I can bring expertise in the development of strategy and policy for organisations in their use of digital and social media, including digital storytelling techniques.

External positions

Deputy Editor, Event Management Journal

Jul 2021 → …


  • GV Recreation Leisure
  • Digital cultures
  • Social media
  • mega events
  • cultural policy
  • festivals


Dive into the research topics where David McGillivray is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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  • Research Impact Award - Gold Medal

    McPherson, Gayle (Recipient) & McGillivray, David (Recipient), 3 Apr 2014

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)