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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, Annals of Leisure Research

Jul 2015 → …


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

Fingerprint 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.

  • 6 Similar Profiles
event Social Sciences
sport Earth & Environmental Sciences
Sports Social Sciences
major event Social Sciences
disability Social Sciences
digital media Social Sciences
Olympic Games Social Sciences
Commonwealth of Nations Earth & Environmental Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2000 2019

Disorganised host community touristic-event spaces: revealing Rio’s fault lines at the 2016 Olympic Games

Duignan, M. B. & McGillivray, D., 3 Sep 2019, In : Leisure Studies. 38, 5, p. 692-711 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Olympic Games
public space

Mega sport events and spatial management: zoning space across Rio’s 2016 Olympic city

McGillivray, D., Duignan, M. B. & Mielke, E., 21 Apr 2019, In : Annals of Leisure Research. p. 1-24 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Olympic Games
key event

Models of collective working: insights on the Scottish context

Docherty, C., Fairburn, S. & McGillivray, D., 31 May 2019, In : The Design Journal. 22, Supplement 1, p. 277-293 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstract

Flexible structures
12 Downloads (Pure)

Repurposing the (super)crip: media representations of disability at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

McGillivray, D., O'Donnell, H., McPherson, G. & Misener, L., 6 Jun 2019, In : Communication and Sport.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
discourse analysis

Sport events, space and the ‘Live City’

McGillivray, D., 1 Feb 2019, In : Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning. 85, p. 196-202 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

urban policy
Commonwealth of Nations


Research Impact Award - Gold Medal

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

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Commonwealth of Nations
local participation
Community participation

Activities 2018 2018

  • 1 Participation in workshop, seminar, course

Spring into Methods: Participatory Action Research in the Field

David McGillivray (Organiser), Julie Clark (Speaker), Graham Jeffery (Speaker), Nicholas Jenkins (Speaker), Alison McCandlish (Speaker), Sarah Noone (Speaker), Colin Clark (Speaker), Elizabeth Gardiner (Speaker), Katarzyna Kosmala (Speaker), Lee Ivett (Speaker), Iain McGillivray (Speaker), Krisztina Lakoi (Invited speaker)
25 Apr 201827 Apr 2018

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course



deliberative democracy
social reality