The development of the BAMSA team has been reliant on grants and donations – constantly evolving and changing in the light of the successful fundraising. We exceeded our initial target of £45,000, thanks to the crowdfunding and different grants and sponsorship from around the world. Players from more than 30 countries have contributed, of which 10 made significant contributions, and further funds were donated by national bridge organisations.
This steady growth has enabled us to establish a new field of research, which is a great achievement. When I look back on a process that began in 2013 with a single contribution of £300, I could never have anticipated the springboard effect of that first donation, the work that has grown out of it, and the collaborations it has enabled with stakeholders around the world.
Internationally, BAMSA’s reputation continues to build. In 2017 Marek Malysa from Poland and I set up the Bridge and Science Committee as part of the World Bridge Federation, which was an important milestone. Since then there have been three international bridge conferences, which bring together academics, practitioners and policymakers from the bridge world. The first two meetings were held at Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, Poland. In April 2017 the focus was Recreational Activity and Bridge in Older People’s Lives. In December 2018 the focus was Play and Lifelong Learning. A year later the third conference was held at the Catholic University of Croatia, Zagreb, where the focus was Brain and Mind: Promoting Individual and Community Well-being.
The next international conference will be held virtually, organised by BAMSA at the University of Stirling from 28 June to 1 July 2021, with the theme Bridging Academia, Policy and Practice. The first BAMSA webinar will also take place in 2021: Professor David Scott conducted his PhD on the social world of bridge in the early 1990s and since then has built an academic career with a focus on leisure social worlds. On 11 March, David will reflect on the ways that research in bridge has shaped three decades of his work within the field of leisure studies.
Likewise, the opportunities for collaboration are also growing as the result of two grants from the Davenport Fund. The first is for research in schools in Northern Ireland and the second, Bridging Juniors, will develop comparative studies of the opportunities for youth and family bridge in Scotland and England.
Samantha Punch presents the Sociology of Bridge project to the Bridge & Science Committee of the World Bridge Federation