Edition number 5; dateline 1 February 2008

Rose or Dave: what’s on your business card

The new calendar year marks the beginning of the second volume of The Leisure Review and as we reach this minor milestone and publish our fifth issue I’m pleased to say that there is still plenty of material to get our teeth into, many articles written and being prepared, subjects and projects to cover, individuals and organisations to whom we feel compelled to talk. I’m grateful to all those who have helped to date and to all those who continue to take our calls and give up their time to talk to The Leisure Review.

In this issue, silos – working in them, thinking within them, protecting them – make a number of appearances. Even from the hot tub Kay Atkins has been able to spot them; Steve Franks addresses them in our interview with the Swimming Teachers’ Association; Nick Reeves tells of wrestling with them as his organisation seeks to bring artists, environmentalists, engineers and scientists together. All agree that silos are not welcome.

It reminded me of conversations we had when discussing the possibility of launching a new magazine for the leisure, culture and sport sector. It seemed that the organisations and companies with an inclination to produce publications for those working in this area had either insufficient finance or insufficient interest to publish the articles we wanted to write. However, we felt pretty sure that we couldn’t be the only people who were still fascinated by and passionate about an industry that brought a wide variety of specialist pursuits together with common purpose. We knew that there were plenty of people who understood the commonalities of parks, pools, sport and museums (to name only a few) even while accepting the specialist knowledge and skills required to manage, develop and deliver them. We knew they were there because we had worked with them and spent long nights in various meeting rooms, hotel bars and restaurants discussing the issues. We hoped that enough of them would still want to read about the sector from this perspective, whatever it was they called it.

As we know, what you call it can be important but all too often proves not to be as important as one first thought. Just as one might agonise over what one might call a new professional body for such a sector, we wondered and worried about what a magazine might be called. We could agree on our aim (in all its ungrammatical glory) – “to be the journal of choice for members of the profession we belong to, care about and fear for” – but finally we settled on the name because it’s got a ring to it rather than because it represents an accurate statement of the state of the industry.

The “fear for” bit is not unrelated to the whole silo issue. We may well have got the title wrong as ‘leisure’ seems to have all but disappeared as a description of what we do. However, the concept of all the things that make life liveable, the things without which (as one former ILAM president memorably put it when well off the record) “this place would be a right shit-hole”, is still valid and worth protecting. It is odd that just as we seem to be arriving at the point that we always wanted to reach – central to the health debate, recognised as a key component of education, understood as an essential element of community development and economic renewal – the silos within the sector seem to be staking their own particular claims.

So we’ll continue to call it ‘leisure’ because it looks nice on the masthead and trips off the tongue. You can call it a rose, after the Bard; or you can call it Dave, after the TV channel. But what we must all do is understand that by operating as a whole we can achieve so much more.

Thanks again for reading The Leisure Review.

Jonathan Ives



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