Now in its second year, Pushing Boarders is combining skate culture with academic rigour to push the scene forward.

Now in its second year, Pushing Boarders is combining skate culture with academic rigour to push the scene forward.

It comes as a surprise to many when I tell them that earlier this month I attended an academic conference on skateboarding. “I didn’t know they had those,” being the most common response.

Three years ago, a group consisting of Thom Callan-Riley of University College London, Sander Holsgens of Reverb Skateboarding, Stuart McClure of Long Live Southbank, Osh Tammas of Skateism, and Theo Krish and Charlie Davis of SkatePal, had the idea to bring together academics, journalists, and skaters for an annual conference exploring skate culture.

Last year that idea became a reality with Pushing Boarders making its debut in London. The team didn’t know what to expect, it was all an experiment and a work in progress, but following its success, the skating symposium went global. With the support of Gustav Eden, Skate Malmö, Bryggeriet and The Skateroom, the skating-hotbed of Malmö played host to the conference this year with the spotlight being shone on mental health in the community.

The Pushing Boarders crew set the standard high in London, and at this year’s conference in Malmö, curated panels on heritage, media, gender, sexuality, urban design and more, got people thinking and more importantly talking. Art historian and skater, Ted Barrow, sums it up nicely when he describes Pushing Boarders as the “best fucking conference”, so we asked some other attendees to sum up what they found so special about the weekend’s events too.

Charlie Davis
Founder of SkatePal, co-organiser of Pushing Boarders.
“We learnt so much, and we are so grateful to everyone who attended, who spoke—both publicly and privately—and who contributed their time, knowledge and experience to all of us.”

Jin Yob Kim, Editor of the Quiet Leaf
“Most people in skateboarding only have time to be in total skate mode for a small portion of the day. But at Pushing Boarders everyone is in it for a continuous amount of time –  skateboarding, talking skateboarding, and thinking skateboarding.”

Rachael Sherlock
Volunteer at Pushing Boarders, Rogue skateboards
“I’m excited to see where the future of skateboarding goes and being at Pushing Boarders made me confident that it is in the right hands.”

Amber May Edmondson
Founder, Women Skate The World
“Pushing Boarders allows us to come together and talk academically, brutally and casually about the issues we’re facing and how to push skateboarding forward, for everyone.”

Indigo Willing
Griffith University, Girls Skate Brisbane
“As a sociologist, refugee and mum in my late 40s, I’ve somehow made skating my life. Pushing Boarders shows skateboarders who care about deep, real stuff in this world they’re not alone.”

Enjoyed this article? Like Huck on Facebook or follow us on Twitter