The BAMSA team is made up of core staff, a steering group, research associates, volunteers and members of the wider bridge community.

All the core staff work part-time for BAMSA, and there is a large number of people whose contributions have assisted the project. Currently there are opportunities to participate in the project either as a researcher or as a volunteer.

Staff

Professor Samantha Punch
Professor Samantha PunchChair of Sociology
Samantha is Professor of Sociology in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling. Since 2013 she has been developing the sociology of mindsport as an academic discipline with a focus on the social interactions and dynamics of the card game bridge. Sam is an international bridge player, representing Scotland on the women’s team (qualifying for the Venice Cup in 2019), the mixed team (2019) and the open team (Camrose 2013, 2016-18, 2020-21; Europeans 2021). In November 2017 with Marek Malysa she founded the Bridge and Science Committee of the World Bridge Federation. She is currently the education convenor of the Scottish Bridge Union. She launched Bridge: A MindSport for All in 2019 and currently leads and supervises various BAMSA projects. Her previous research interests include youth, childhood and the family which inform the sociology of bridge in relation to intergenerational participation in the mindsport.

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Dr Miriam Snellgrove
Dr Miriam SnellgroveBAMSA Honorary Research Fellow
Miriam is a BAMSA Honorary Research Fellow in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling. She completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 2013 and then worked in teaching and research at Bristol University and the University of Stirling. Miriam’s sociological fields of study are everyday life and the familiar, time and qualitative research methods. Miriam is not a bridge a player and brings her ‘outsider’ knowledge to the sociology of bridge. For BAMSA, she has been working on the elite player interview data for Bridging Minds including papers on strategic interaction, bridging time and gender. Miriam led on Bridging Covid and will be part of the advisory group for the Bridging Schools project.

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Jordan Maclean
Jordan MacleanResearch Assistant
Jordan is a PhD researcher in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling. His doctoral research has developed a new socio-material perspective to the sociology of coaching, using football as the key case study. He joined the BAMSA team in late 2020 and is currently working on Bridging Sociology, Bridging Covid, and Bridging Insights, a new project for 2021.

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Zoe Russell
Zoe RussellResearch Assistant
Zoe is an interdisciplinary PhD researcher in sociology and heritage studies in the Faculties of Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities at the University of Stirling. Her PhD examines the intersections between people and their environments and she has also studied criminology, health and social policy, and social research methods. With BAMSA, Zoe has been working on Bridging Minds papers related to identity, emotion and the work-leisure experience for elite players of tournament bridge.

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Dr Camilla Barnet
Dr Camilla BarnetResearch Assistant
Camilla is a Research Assistant in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling. Her interests are quantitative methodologies relating to gender and stratification inequalities. For BAMSA she is designing a primary survey that will be sent to bridge organisations globally. She is also collating and analysing a range of secondary data on bridge playing for  Bridging Organisations.

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Kevin Judge
Kevin JudgePhD Researcher
Kevin is a PhD researcher in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling. His doctorate on the sociology of bridge investigates barriers and opportunities in relation to the process of learning bridge and draws on data from a UK-wide survey and interviews with bridge teachers and learners.

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PhD Supervisors
The sociology of bridge PhD is supervised by Professor Samantha Punch (sociology, UoS), Professor Catherine Hennessy (leisure and ageing, UoS), Dr Greg Mannion (education, UoS) and Dr Dom Wilson (EBED). Thanks also to supervisory input from Dr Louise McCabe (social gerontology, UoS) and Dr Caroline Small (EBED).
PhD Funders
The funding partners for the sociology of bridge PhD are English Bridge Education and Development (EBED), Scottish Bridge Union, Irish Bridge Union, Northern Irish Bridge Union, Welsh Bridge Union and the University of Stirling.

Steering Group

Marianne Harding
Marianne Harding
As an advocate for research into the social, intellectual and health benefits of bridge, Marianne Harding has supported BAMSA since its launch. Marianne is dedicated to introducing young people to the game because of her conviction that children that learn bridge acquire a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts and greater social skills compared to youngsters that only play computer games. Marianne is employed by the Norwegian Bridge Federation (NBF) where she is responsible for recruitment and training. As a key BAMSA partner, NBF is collaborating on the Bridging Schools project. Marianne plays bridge for Norway on the women’s and mixed teams.

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Stephen Peterkin
Stephen Peterkin
Stephen Peterkin is a classically trained pianist and a Scottish national bridge player. With Samantha Punch he has played ten Camrose events and in 2014 they won the Commonwealth Nations transnational teams. Stephen assists BAMSA with transcribing, editing and proofreading, desk research, poster design and spreadsheets. He was event pianist at the Keep Bridge Alive evening and provides musical entertainment at other BAMSA events. In October 2018 Stephen helped set up and run the University of Stirling Bridge Club which attracts an intergenerational mix of university staff, students and local residents.
Tim Rees
Tim Rees
Tim is a Welsh international bridge player, currently living in England. Tim has won most of the main English and Welsh events, including in one year the Welsh Cup, Crockford’s Cup and the Gold Cup (2001). With Samantha Punch, Tim won the Scottish Cup in 2018. Tim has been supporting BAMSA in various roles, including background research, proofreading and editing. For the Pro-Am Pairs event in February 2020, Tim (in conjunction with Simon Cocheme) wrote the BAMSA Bulletin which contained a record of the event and a commentary on many of the hands played.  

Research Associates

Dr Marek Malysa
Dr Marek Malysa
Marek Malysa is Vice President of the Polish Bridge Union and a member of the Seniors Committee of the European Bridge League and the World Bridge Federation. In November 2017 with Samantha Punch he founded the Bridge and Science Committee of the World Bridge Federation. Marek led the Bridge 60+ project which helped launch 310 bridge clubs for the elderly in Poland and he is chairman of the council of the Bridge to the People Foundation which funds research into the social and health benefits of bridge. Marek has been the non-playing captain of the Polish under-20 team in European and World Championships and he was coach to the Polish women’s team at the European Championships in Opatija in 2016. He has been involved with BAMSA from the beginning and his contribution includes setting up biennial international academic bridge conferences.

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Dr Ashley Rogers
Dr Ashley Rogers
Ashley played a key role in promoting BAMSA’s sociology of bridge research with catchy straplines and quirky ways to showcase the bridge community through social media. Ashley’s previous academic work on gender inspired her to investigate relationships within the game and contribute to the Bridging Gender project. Eventually the lure of bridge proved too much for her and she started to take lessons – although she quickly realised that counting is not one of her strengths. She is now a lecturer in criminology and criminal justice at Abertay University.

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Dr Tihana Brkljačić
Dr Tihana Brkljačić
Tihana is scientific advisor at the Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb and Associate Professor at the Catholic University of Croatia. Her main scientific interests include wellbeing research and study of play and communication. She teaches an Introduction to Bridge course at Zagreb University, and has published several papers on the personality and wellbeing of bridge players. With Marek Malysa and Samantha Punch she has participated in all the bridge conferences and hosted the academic bridge conference in Croatia in December 2019. Tihana collaborates with BAMSA by sharing her bridge research and contributing to the Bridging Organisations project. She organises the annual bridge Pula Festival in Croatia.

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Akiko Yanagisawa
Akiko Yanagisawa
Akiko is a visiting research fellow at Waseda University Research Institute for Sports Business, a member of the Japanese national women’s bridge team and a member of the Japan Contract Bridge League. She has been involved in the sport sector for some years and worked on the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and Tokyo2020. Alongside her interest in physical sports, she is also promoting the mind sport of bridge in Japan where the bridge population has been shrinking and the management of clubs has been challenging. Akiko completed her MA thesis at Waseda University on the promotion of contract bridge as a mind sport. Professor Samantha Punch of the University of Stirling and Anna Gudge of the World Bridge Federation assisted Akiko in the early stage of her MA research. Akiko currently works as senior trade advisor at the British Embassy in Tokyo.

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Jose Julio Curado
Jose Julio Curado
Jose Julio Curado learned bridge as an undergraduate at the University of Coimbra and is now a certified bridge teacher and a member of the organising committee of the Coimbra Regional Association for Bridge. He is listed on the European Bridge League Tournament Directors Official Register and he directs international tournaments in Portugal and across Europe. Now studying for a PhD at the Open University of Portugal, Jose is researching the sociology of bridge from a global studies’ perspective.

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Dr David Scott
Dr David Scott
David came across the work of BAMSA at the 2019 Leisure Studies Association conference, and was fascinated by the findings that the BAMSA researchers presented. It soon became clear that his work on confidence in sport was relevant to the issues being considered by the BAMSA team. Since then, David has worked with Samantha Punch to investigate the role of emotions and physicality within bridge. His insights have helped position bridge as a mindsport. David is a lecturer in sport development at Abertay University.
Research Assistants
Numerous researchers have contributed to Bridge: A MindSport for All since 2013. In the early days when initial work was self-funded, Samantha Punch relied on the generous support of student volunteers from the University of Stirling who were keen to develop their research skills. Special thanks to Mark Brownlie, Catriona Galbraith and Jenny Galbraith for helping with the sorting and coding of the elite interview dataset.

The  Bridging Minds project is indebted to Elizabeth Graham for her transcriptions, data analysis and write-ups in relation to the gender material.  She used this data to complete her Masters thesis at the University of Stirling in 2015 (‘Intellectual Contests? Gender Inequality and Identity in the Game of Bridge’), which won the Dee Amy-Chinn Gender Studies prize for best dissertation.

Other doctoral students also carried out part-time research for BAMSA: Beth Cairns, Catriona Galbraith, Diarmuid McDonnell. Others conducted literature reviews: Rosie Ashworth, Jess Cleary, Charlotte McPherson, Kane Needham, Cate Pemble, Madalina Radu.

University of Stirling
Colleagues at the University of Stirling have contributed in diverse ways. In the Faculty of Social Sciences: Alison Bowes, Louise McCabe, Ian McIntosh, Liz Forbat, Sarah Galloway and Alasdair Rutherford. Many thanks to Christina Ballinger, BAMSA’s first mindsport officer, who contributed to the development of the website and international conference. In the fundraising team: Kerry Bryson, Caroline Darke, Lesley Dugan, Federico Ippoliti, Hazel McIlwraith and Daniel Wright. The University of Stirling itself has generously supported the research since the beginning.
Research Participants
Last but not least, BAMSA is very grateful to the players who gave up their time to be interviewed, to all the survey participants, to those who submitted diary accounts in relation to  Bridging Covid and to our future research participants for  Bridging Organisations and Bridging Schools. BAMSA’s achievements would not have been possible without the contribution of so many people.

Supporters

Bridge Players

Many people from the bridge world have supported the project. At English Bridge Education and Development: Caroline Small and Dom Wilson. At Stirling and Union Bridge Club: Moira Bain (transcribing) and Iain Taylor (editing). At the American Contract Bridge League, Stephanie Threlkeld and Wendy Sullivan provided space for BAMSA-related activities as did Gordon Rainsford of the English Bridge Union.

Volunteers

Several people assisted with BAMSA’s first book (Bridge at the Top: Behind the Screens to be published in 2021) including Alan Goodman, Ray Lee, Alan Shepherd, Brian Short, Sally Sparrow, Laura Woodruff and Christina Ballinger. For help in developing the website, BAMSA is very grateful to Guy Mortenson. For disseminating research findings, many thanks to Jianping Zhu for translating BAMSA documents into Chinese. Many thanks to Michael Xu for his contributions to the Bridging Covid project, including assistance with the sorting and coding of some of the cheating data.

Bridge Editors

BAMSA has benefited from coverage in many bridge publications. Thanks to Shireen Mohandes (Mr Bridge and the magazine of the American Bridge Teachers’ Association), John Carruthers (International Bridge Press Association), Paul Linxwiler (American Contract Bridge League Bulletin), Liz McGowan (Scottish Bridge Union News), Alex Coyne (Great Bridge Links), Christina Lund Madsen (MMT Bulletin) and Suzi Subeck (USBF Bulletin).

Photographers

Special thanks to photographer Francesca Canali whose photographs are enlivening the website, and to the World Bridge Federation for permission to use Francesca’s photos of WBF events. Many thanks also to Peg Kaplan for the use of her photographs. Other photos on this website have been taken by members of the BAMSA team. If you have photographs of bridge events and bridge players that you’d like to share with BAMSA, please contact [email protected].

Keep Bridge Alive

Large numbers of people contributed to the Keep Bridge Alive fundraising event in February 2020. See the full list of supporters on the Keep Bridge Alive website.

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Opportunities

PhD Applications

BAMSA welcomes sociological or interdisciplinary PhD applications on a range of themes. A key area is research that focuses on bridge education in order to increase the number of children and young people learning and playing bridge in schools, universities and bridge clubs throughout the world. Historically, part of the appeal of bridge has been its face-to-face contact during a game, but for children and young people the digital world is central and the bridge community is starting to adopt online approaches and new marketing strategies. For more information, contact [email protected].

PhD Topics

Potential doctoral topics include: sociology of bridge; intergenerational approaches to promoting bridge and mindsports; developing life skills and transferable skills through mindsports; intergenerationality, health and social benefits; youth participation; digital approaches; growth and sustainability of the global bridge community. There is no funding available from BAMSA, but members of a supervisory team led by Professor Samantha Punch are prepared to work with potential candidates to develop a PhD proposal and funding application. UK students may apply for ESRC funding, and international students may have access to funding from their own governments or relevant organisations. For more information, contact [email protected].

Volunteers

BAMSA is a charitable project and welcomes the contribution of volunteers, bridge players and non-bridge players. Voluntary tasks include transcribing, proofreading, desk research and data analysis. For more information, contact [email protected].