Olympic gold medallist shooter receives Honorary Doctorate from BU

A world record holder sports shooter, who won gold at the London 2012 Olympics, has received an Honorary Doctorate from Bournemouth University.

Peter Wilson MBE – who grew up in Sherborne, Dorset –  received the accolade during the Business School graduation ceremony.

Peter took a Gold Medal in double trap shooting at the 2012 Olympics, won the World Cup in 2011 and 2012, and holds UK and World records. He was awarded an MBE in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List for services to shooting.

He said he felt “honoured” to receive the Doctor of Arts award from BU.

“I couldn’t quite believe it, I still can’t quite believe it,” he said.

“It’s a bit like the Olympics all over again – your heart’s racing, your blood’s up and you’re just so excited and really honoured.

“It’s great to come back. My roots are here, my family’s here and so I feel very privileged, very humbled.”

Peter added that he works closely with local schools to promote sports, and believes it’s important for students to stay active and healthy while at university.

“Find a sport that you enjoy playing and just take part – whether it be team or individual,” he said.

“I think it’s actually quite healthy – it gets you out of the house and away from study for that small segment of the week, and gives you a bit of a breather.”

He added that his advice to the graduating students was to push themselves and do everything they could to reach their best.

“It’s a tough world out there, so it’s not easy – you’ve got to find something you love, you’ve got to be passionate about it and you’ve got to push yourself to be the best you can be.

“I spoke about that a little bit to all of the graduates and parents about that one motto which drove me through the Olympics – and that is do everything in your power to get the best possible result out of yourself.”


More than 5,000 graduates from across Bournemouth University were handed their degree certificates in six different ceremonies at the Bournemouth International Centre.

Professor John Vinney, Vice-Chancellor of Bournemouth University, said: “Bournemouth University takes great pride in our Honorary Graduates.

“We recognise people who have excelled in their chosen field who will act as inspirational role models, both for our graduates and their families at the awards ceremonies and for our whole student body in the coming years.”

2012 Paralympics changed perceptions of disability, BU study finds

The London 2012 Paralympic Games led to greater confidence and less anxiety in talking about disability and disabled sport, a Bournemouth University (BU) study has found.

The study was commissioned by Channel 4, broadcasters of the 2012 Paralympic Games, and was completed by the Creative Enterprise Bureau, a marketing consultancy based in BU’s Media School which involves staff and students from the Corporate and Marketing Communications academic group.

They found that viewers were genuinely surprised by how emotive and thrilling the games were, and began to see sporting excellence rather than only the disability.

Over the course of two years they conducted in-depth interviews with participants – based in London, Bournemouth and Newcastle – about their thoughts and experiences of disability and disabled sport.

“The focus was on experiences and the stories that people had,” said Dr Dan Jackson, senior lecturer in Media and Communication at BU, who helped coordinate the study.

“We wanted to speak to a whole cross-section of people, so the interviews included disabled people, people with direct experience of disability and disability sport, people with an interest in sport and TV watching, and people who had no interest at all.

“We were most interested in how this massive sporting event impacted on people’s lives.”

The participants were interviewed in four phases before and after the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and Dan said that, before the event, there did not seem to be much change in the way people were talking about disability and disabled sports.

“There were a lot of barriers – people didn’t know how to talk about it,” he said.

“Many people did not have experiences of disability because it was very rarely on our screens. There was not a great deal of knowledge or interest in Paralympic sport.

“But there seemed to be a lot of good will towards it – people saying “It should be on TV, it’s a worthwhile thing, but I won’t really go out of my way to watch it.”

However, after the London 2012 Paralympic Games, people’s perceptions and experiences of disability and disabled sport seemed to change.

The study found:

  • The Paralympics had a noticeable impact on the way disability was talked about; there was greater confidence and less anxiety in talking about disability sport.
  • Genuine and palpable surprise at the emotional reactions generated by watching the Paralympics – viewers seemed genuinely surprised at just how emotive and thrilling the Paralympics were.
  • A shift from expecting to see only the disability to primarily seeing sporting excellence. This was accompanied by a shift away from sympathy and pity to thrill and excitement associated with watching live sport
  • A reduction in expressed sense of discomfort when watching people with disability on TV.
  • Disabled participants were acutely aware of the ‘buzz’ generated that made disability momentarily trendy and fashionable, and that a general sense of ‘admiration’ appears to have displaced sympathy, pity or fear in how able-bodied people interact with disabled people. But they were sceptical of whether this would last long-term.

Dan said: “We couldn’t find anyone who hadn’t experienced any of the Paralympics – even if they hadn’t watched it directly, it was second-hand through the news or other people.

“While the summer of sport, particularly the Olympics, was quite moving for the whole country, it had a huge impact and was the central focus all summer, and the Paralympics benefited from that.

“But for some people it suffered, as it seemed to be considered an afterthought.”

He added: “Some of the people who were least likely to watch and enjoy it, got beyond that and beyond the disabilities and were watching it as a sport just like any other sport.”

Around half of the Corporate and Marketing department at BU helped with the study, along with final year Marketing, PR and Advertising students.

Dan said it was great to be involved with such a high profile project, and that they were now hoping to write a book around the findings.

“One of the great parts of it from our point of view was that it was a really good project that involved so many people in our department,” he said.

“The 2012 Olympics and Paralympics were massive for the country and it only seemed to really hit home when we started quite how big a deal this whole thing was.

“To be part of that and doing the research on that was great.”