PhD Student Chris Russell

PhD Student chris-russell

PhD Student

Contact Details

tel: 01905 542635

Chris is studying for a PhD exploring dementia, sport and identity. The context of the research is people living with dementia who continue to engage in regular physical activity following diagnosis. The settings for the study are leisure and fitness centres.

Chris Russell is also Programme Lead for the Post Graduate Certificate in Dementia Studies, at the University of Worcester.

Previously, Chris developed and then led the Foundation Degree in Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester. Chris is a qualified social worker, with twenty years experience, and he employed this to lead teaching modules on Masters and Undergraduate level professional social work courses at the Universities of Worcester and Gloucestershire.

Chris is a member of the Executive Committee of the Leisure Studies Association. This is multi-disciplinary meeting and communication forum open to researchers, practitioners and students in all areas of leisure studies around the world. Chris’ future research interests include investigating how leisure, sport and physical activity might contribute to enhancing the citizenship of people with dementia living in residential and hospital care. Chris is also interested in the context of family carers and how leisure might enable them to strengthen personal agency and that of those whom they support.


Post Graduate Certificate in Research Methods (2018), University of Worcester.

Post Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (2013), University of Worcester.

MSc Applied Social Studies (1997), University of Oxford. 

BA Honours Sociology & Politics (1992), University of Hull. 

Professional Bodies and Experience 

Leisure Studies Associations (Executive Committee Member)



Publications and Dissemination

Peer Reviewed Journals

Evans, S.C., Julie Barrett, J., Mapes, N., Hennell, J., Atkinson, T., Bray, J., Garabedian, C., and Russell, C. (2019) ‘Connections with nature for people living with dementia', Working with Older People, https://

Russell, C. (2016) ‘People with Dementia, contributing to learning and teaching in higher education’ Dementia: the international journal of social research and practice.  Dementia, 0(0) pp.1–6. doi: 10.1177/1471301216685460

Practice Publications

Russell, C. & Xu, Q. (2015) Lived Experience at the Centre of Learning. The Australian Journal of Dementia Care 4 (5), 18-19

Russell, C. & Xu, Q. (2015) Lived Experience at the Centre of Learning. The Journal of Dementia Care 23 (4), 18-19


Mackian, S. Russell. C, & McCalla, L. (2013) “Preparing to Lead” In Mackian, S. & Simons, J. Leading, Managing, Caring: Understanding leadership and management in health and social care. Open University, 1-27.

Book Reviews

Russell, C. (2017) Book Review: Sport, leisure and social justice, edited by L. Long, T. Fletcher, & B. Watson, London and New York, Routledge, 2017, 227 pp., UK £105.00 (hardback), ISBN: 978-1-138-96045-9. Annals of Leisure Research. ISSN Print: 1174-5398 Online: 2159-6816

Public Engagement Events

2nd October 2019, International Council on Active Ageing, Active Ageing Week, Worcester, UK.  ‘People living with dementia and their families engaging in sport and physical activity. Learning from research and practice.’

20th May 2019, The Beautiful Mind, Pint of Science Festival, Worcester, UK. ‘Can do, if you’ll give me the chance – people with dementia and their families engaging in sport and physical activity, how this feels and what it means’

Invited Conference Presentations

Russell, C. (November, 2016) Sport, Identity and Dementia. Mental Health Issues, Cradle to Grave. Worcestershire Health & Care Trust and the University of Worcester, University of Worcester.

Russell, C. (July, 2012) What the Care Act Will Mean for Social Work? The Future of Social Work Conference. University of Gloucestershire.

Refereed conference presentations

Russell, C. (July, 2019) Leisure Studies Association Annual Conference, Abertay University, Dundee “Exploring the identity of people with dementia as they engage with the activities of community-based leisure and fitness centres. Implications for scholarship and practice”.

Russell, C. (June, 2019), College of Health, Life & Environmental Sciences Research Seminar, Family Care Symposium. “Research that explored the experience of people with dementia and carers taking part in physical activity at their local leisure centre.” University of Worcester, United Kingdom.

Russell, C. (November, 2018) 12th United Kingdom Dementia Congress. Brighton, United Kingdom.  “Exploring the experiences of people affected by dementia who spend time engaging in physical activity within their local leisure centre”

Russell, C. (July, 2018) European Congress of Adapted Physical Activity 2018 (EUCAPA), University of Worcester, “Considering whether and how leisure centres and gyms can act as innovative resources for people with dementia and their families”

Russell, C. (July, 2018) British Society of Gerontology Annual Conference, Emerging Researchers in Ageing, Finalist, Three Minute Thesis Competition, Manchester Metropolitan University, “Leisure centres and people with dementia, so much potential, so much we still need to find out…”

Russell, C. (June, 2018) World Congress of Sociology of Sport, University of Lausanne, “Exploring the experiences of people with dementia using leisure centres. The transformative power of this new learning for the offering leisure centres make to individuals and their local communities”

Russell, C. (July, 2017) Enacting leisure in the context of dementia and identity: the role and significance of community leisure centres. Leisure Studies Association Annual Conference, Leeds Becket University, Leeds.

Russell, C. (June, 2017) The community leisure centre as a resource for people with dementia: explorations of individual and social identity. Poster presentation. Postgraduate Research Student Conference, University of Worcester, Worcester.

Russell, C. (June, 2017) Challenging Myths and Stereotypes – man with dementia helps me understand how to pole- vault. Images of Research Competition, University of Worcester.

Russell, C. (November, 2016) “Experts by Experience Tutors” – people with dementia contributing as tutors on a University course in the UK. Excellence in Dementia Research and Care.  26th Alzheimer Europe Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The Link Group. (November, 2015) People with Dementia and Carers Contributing to Teaching. Learning from Each Other. 10th United Kingdom Dementia Congress. Telford, United Kingdom. 

Russell, C. (October, 2014) People with Dementia Contributing to Teaching and Learning at Higher Education level. Dignity and Autonomy in Dementia. 24th Alzheimer Europe Conference, Glasgow.

Russell, C. (October, 2013) Improving Practice in Dementia - involving the people who matter most. People, Policy and Practice. Research in Focus Conference, the University of Worcester

Poster Presentation

Russell, C. (June, 2019) Postgraduate Research Student Conference, University of Worcester. Poster presentation: “Exploring the identity of people with dementia who engage with the activities of community-based leisure and fitness centres”