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Programme and speakers


This international symposium created a great opportunity for sharing knowledge from multiple disciplines, encouraging dialogue between different sectors, and transferring that knowledge to the wider community. Such an approach brought a dynamic and vibrant flavour to our scientific program including international and New Zealand-based speakers, oral and poster presentations and panel discussions of experts from multiple fields.

We also had great opportunities for physical activity and social events that helped the delegates to enjoy what Dunedin and New Zealand have to offer.

Check out comments from symposium delegates

Click here to check out slides and podcasts from ALE 2017 Symposium presentations

Download symposium programme 

Download ALE 2017 Symposium proceedings (2 MB)

Additional Sessions

Working Lunch: Creating an Action Plan on Physical Activity for New Zealand
Tuesday, 29 August 2017, 12:15 pm to 1:00 pm

Session organized by the Ministry of Health New Zealand

Public lecture: “A Community‐Academic Research Partnership that Works: The BEATS Study”
Tuesday, 29 August 2017, 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Location: University of Otago, Archway 3 Lecture Theatre
Dr Sandra Mandic, School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago
Dr Enrique García Bengoechea, University of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Dr Susan Sandretto, College of Education, University of Otago
Mr Gordon Wilson, Dunedin Secondary Schools’ Partnership, Dunedin
Moderator: Prof Guy Faulkner, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Download poster (1.5 MB)
View podcast / audio-slides


The goal of this symposium was to facilitate and grow an international, multidisciplinary and multi-sector dialogue related to Active Living and Environment. Therefore, participants had an opportunity to learn from and exchange ideas with a range of international and New Zealand speakers and participants across the fields of health, transport, environment and sustainability.

International speakers:

Professor John C. Spence, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Professor Eduardo Generelo Lanaspa, University of Zaragoza, Huesca, Spain
Professor Guy Faulkner, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Associate Professor Palma Chillón, University of Granada, Granada, Spain
Assistant Professor Jennifer D. Roberts, University of Maryland College Park, MD, United States
Dr Enrique García Bengoechea, University of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Dr Debbie Hopkins, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

New Zealand-based speakers:

Mr Andrew Jackson, Ministry of Transport
Ms Claire Pascoe, New Zealand Transport Agency
Dr Anna Stevenson, Canterbury District Health Board
Ms Helen Gillespie, Department of Conservation
Professor Simon Kingham, University of Canterbury, Christchurch
Professor Claire Freeman, University of Otago, Dunedin
Associate Professor Melody Smith, University of Auckland, Auckland
Associate Professor Michael Keall, University of Otago, Wellington
Dr Alex Macmillan, University of Otago, Dunedin
Dr Sandra Mandic, University of Otago, Dunedin
Dr Christina Ergler, University of Otago, Dunedin

Details about speakers and their presentations are provided below:

Speaker_John SpenceDr. John C. Spence, Professor and Vice Dean

Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

“To sit is human, to move is divine: A tale of cultural evolution and progress traps”

Professor Spence has expertise in theories of health behaviour, research methods, and population health. His research focuses on the benefits and determinants of physical activity and how physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour are related to obesity. Recent work has examined the role of policy initiatives for promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior in Canada. For instance, he has led evaluations on the effectiveness of tax credits and a micro-grants program to support children’s access to physical activity and sport.

Speaker_Eduardo GenereloProfessor Eduardo Generelo Lanaspa

Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport, University of Zaragoza, Huesca, Spain

“CAPAS-Ciudad/CAPAS-Cité: A Transcultural Physical Activity Promotion Program (Spain/France)”

Professor Generelo’s current research examines strategies for promotion of physical activity in Physical Education classes taught in schools. He is a director of the Department of Corporal Expression at the University of Zaragoza, lead researcher of the EFYPAF research group (Educación Física y Promoción de la Actividad Física / Physical Education and Promotion of Physical Activity) and a member of the Pyrenean Center for the Improvement and Promotion of Physical Activity and Health.

Speaker_Guy FaulknerProfessor Guy Faulkner

School of Kinesiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Canadian Institutes of Health Research-Public Health Agency of Canada (CIHR-PHAC) Chair in Applied Public Health

“Examining the Built Environment and Active Travel in Toronto: Lessons from the Canadian BEAT Project”

Professor Faulkner’s research has focused on two inter-related themes: the development and evaluation of physical activity interventions; and physical activity and mental health. He was the principal investigator on Project BEAT (Built Environment and Active Transport; funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research) which was a multidisciplinary research programme examining relationships between school transport and the built environment in Toronto, Canada.

Speaker_Palma Chillon_2Associate Professor Palma Chillón

Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Granada, Granada, Spain

"The PACO (Cycle and Walk to School) Study: Design, planning and preliminary results"

Assistant Professor Palma Chillón focuses on researching active commuting to school and she is the principal investigator on three projects on this topic: Safe Routes to School in Granada, Teaching Urban Cycling in Young and Adults and the PACO (Cycle and walk to school) Study. She was a visiting researcher at the University of North Carolina (United States) (2009-10) and University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) (2013).

Speaker_Jennifer Roberts_1Assistant Professor Jennifer D. Roberts

University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD, United States

“Active Living Among Washington, DC Area Youth”

Dr. Jennifer D. Roberts’ research interests focus on the relationship between the built environment and physical activity in addition to its impact on obesity and other public health outcomes. More specifically, much of her research has explored the dynamic relationship between environmental, social and cultural determinants of physical activity and using empirical evidence of this relationship to infer complex health outcome patterns among adults and children. Dr Roberts is the Director of the Public Health Outcomes and Effects of the Built Environment (PHOEBE) Laboratory

Speaker_Enrique GarciaDr Enrique García Bengoechea

Visiting Fellow, Institute of Sport, Exercise, and Active Living, University of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Affiliated Researcher, Department of Family Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

“Towards community ownership of physical activity promotion initiatives in the Indigenous community of Kahnawake”

Dr García’s main research interests are community-engaged physical activity and health promotion, and youth development and socialization in sport. He was formerly a Research Associate with the Alberta Centre for Active Living in Edmonton, Canada, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Speaker_DebbieHopkins_2016_2Dr Debbie Hopkins

Research Fellow, the Transport Studies Unit, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom

“The Mobility and Modality of Adolescents”

Dr Hopkins is a human geographer and environmental social scientist interested in the energy implications of the movement of goods and people. Debbie is a Research Fellow in Low Carbon Mobility and Energy Demand at the Transport Studies Unit, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, and a Junior Research Fellow in Geography at Mansfield College, University of Oxford.

Speaker_Andrew JacksonMr Andrew Jackson

Deputy Chief Executive, Ministry of Transport, New Zealand

“Transport – a new way forward"

Mr Andrew Jackson is currently Deputy Chief Executive of the Ministry of Transport. His previous role was Deputy Secretary Competition, Trade and Investment in the Ministry of Economic Development of New Zealand. Prior to that, Mr Jackson held various roles in the British public sector including work on the UK’s Foresight programme which sought to bring science to bear on policy challenges.

Speaker_Claire PascoeMs Claire Pascoe

Cycling Delivery Manager, New Zealand Transport Agency

“Boosting transport’s contribution to health”

In her current role, Claire is responsible for the culture change elements of the national cycling programme in New Zealand. In her previous position as senior cycling advisor, she played a lead role in the Urban Cycleways Programme development and delivery. Claire has been immersed in the world of cycling for over eight years in a variety of roles, including local government transport planning, community advocacy and programme development, cycle skills training and now as a cycling delivery manager. Over the years, she has developed a number of programmes that have successfully encouraged more people to take up cycling.

Speaker_Anna StevensonDr Anna Stevenson

Canterbury District Health Board

“Translating research to policy and practice: Implementation of Health in All policy approach in Canterbury, New Zealand”

Dr Anna Stevenson is a New Zealand trained Public Health Physician. Before training in public health she worked in family medicine in cities and rural locations around New Zealand. Dr Stevenson led the reorientation of the Canterbury District Health Boards Public Health Unit, Community and Public health, to an organisation committed to using a Health in All Policies approach with a clear focus on Determinants of health, Equity, sound use of Evidence and honouring the Treaty of Waitangi (DEET) in all our work.

Speaker_Helen GillespieMs Helen Gillespie

Healthy Nature Healthy People Project Coordinator, Department of Conservation, New Zealand

“Healthy People Healthy Nature – Growing a movement”

Helen has worked in health, sport and conservation for many years. Helen grew up spending a lot of time outdoors and did not appreciate that it was not like that for everyone. Now as a relative urban dweller with a young family she has an appreciation for the challenges that face most of our population. Helen’s love for nature has taken her from the backyard with her children - getting up close with critters in the concrete cracks to the top of mountains running for New Zealand. She is very passionate about the health and wellbeing benefits from being in nature.

Speaker_Simon KinghamProfessor Simon Kingham

Department of Geography, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

“Benefits of and barriers to creating healthy and active urban environments”

Much of Professor Kingham’s research over the years has looked at urban environment and health with a significant focus on transport. Professor Kingham directs the Geospatial Research Institute and the GeoHealth Laboratory at the University of Canterbury, is a member of the Canterbury Regional Transport Committee (a regional committee mandated by central government to drive transport policy) and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Transport and Health.

Speaker_Claire FreemanProfessor Claire Freeman

Department of Geography, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

"Creating biodiverse cities for active lives from childhood to old age"

Professor Freeman's interests are in environmental planning including sustainable communities, planning for children and young people and planning with nature. She mainly teaches in the Master of Planning Programme at the University of Otago.

Speaker_Melody SmithAssociate Professor Melody Smith

University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

“Neighbourhoods for Active Kids: Participatory GIS to understand neighbourhood environments for children’s activity”

Aspirations for neighbourhoods where children can be independently mobile, where people can get around safely by walking and cycling, and where social and physical well-being is prioritised and facilitated are key drivers of my research. Most of this work involves the integration of objective measurement of behaviours and outcomes (e.g., accelerometry, inclinometry, GPS, GIS), as well as person-centred methods (participatory planning, online mapping). I am fortunate to work with amazing researchers and students across a range of innovative projects that contribute to understanding the links between built and social environments and health and well-being in children and their families.

Speaker_Michael KeallAssociate Professor Michael Keall

Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand

“Encouraging cycling and walking in New Zealand: Evaluation of the Model Communities Programme"

Associate Professor Michael Keall is an injury epidemiologist who is interested in home injury prevention, road safety and exposure assessment (assessing structural environmental risks). He is a principal investigator in two major research programmes hosted by the University of Otago, Wellington - He Kainga Oranga and the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities.

Speaker_Alex MacmillanDr Alex Macmillan

Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

“Achieving policy and institutional change for healthy sustainable transport"

Dr Alex Macmillan’s research applies epidemiology and complex modelling tools to policy change for health, equity and sustainability in cities. She is especially interested in collaborative learning processes that achieve institutional and policy change for climate-friendly, active transport. Dr Macmillan is a public health physician and senior lecturer in environmental health.

Speaker_Sandy MandicDr Sandra Mandic

School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

“Multidisciplinary and multi-sector approach to Active Living research: Insights from Otago, New Zealand"

Dr. Mandic’s research focuses on multidisciplinary and multi-sector approach to physical activity and health with the links to transportation, built environment and sustainability. Her academic training and professional experiences span Europe, Canada, United States and New Zealand. She is the academic leader of the Active Living Laboratory and the principal investigator on the Built Environment and Active Transport to School: BEATS Study.

Speaker_Christina Ergler_1Dr Christina Ergler

Department of Geography, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

“The nature of children’s seasonal play: a case study from Auckland, New Zealand"

Dr. Ergler’s research interests are at the intersection of geography, sociology and public health and centre on how physical, social and symbolic environments shape and are shaped by the way people play, live, age fall ill and recover in particular places. She has published numerous theoretical and methodological pieces to alert stakeholders and communities to the socio-spatial, structural and experiential dimensions of people’s health and wellbeing in transforming urban environments.