Skateboarding might not seem like something you can study at university or write about in scholarly journals, but these three panelists have been doing just that for the last 30 years. This panel looks at the legacy and impact of their work from 1988 to 2018 and how skateboarding has changed and stayed the same from Ban This to Atlantic Drift.
Panel: Iain Borden, Becky Beal, Ocean Howell
Chair: Thom Callan-Riley, Stuart Maclure
Skate videos and photos are an integral part of skateboarding, but how do you capture the vibe of a session or the screech of a powerslide on an SF hill-bomb in writing? This panel explores the myriad of forms and styles that aim to express how skateboarding affects us and how skateboarders push against misrepresentation. How do you write lines about finding lines?
Panel: Paul O’Connor, Asa Backstrom, Gregory Snyder, Sander Hölsgens, Kyle Beachy, Dwayne Dixon, Tara Jepsen
Chair: Ted Barrow
Prof. Neftalie Williams and Karl Watson take a look at the historical contribution of people of colour within skateboarding and discuss their own experiences, reflecting on the notion of a shared identity both as a skateboarder and as a person of colour, and the role of skateboarding as a tool for cultural diplomacy.
Panel: Neftalie Williams in Conversation with Karl Watson
There has been a rise in voices advocating for the recognition and support of a broad gendered landscape in skateboarding in contrast to the white, hetero-masculine standard that has dominated it for decades.
This panel considers how a new wave of grassroots organisations, led by skaters, are opening up issues of social and identity politics and starting to run things differently.
Panel: Anthony Pappalardo [Author & Journalist], Marie Dabbadie [Xem Skaters zine], Dani Gallagher & Kirsty Tonner [Girl Skate UK], Oisin Tammas & Moch Simos [Skateism]
Chair: Dr. Dani Abulhawa [Sheffield Hallam University]
As skateboarders, architecture shapes our behaviour through urbanism and design. With the rising visibility of female skaters worldwide, an international group of both former and current professionals, alongside recreational skaters explore how skateboarding not only influences our agency over public spaces, but as women, how this unique lens can become a lifelong vehicle of empowerment.
Panel: Elissa Steamer, Louisa Menke, Jaime Reyes, Alexis Sablone, Lucy Adams, Maria Falbo
Chair: Jilleen Liao
From Peru to Palestine, Afghanistan to Athens, skate charities are harnessing the power of skateboarding to empower marginalised communities in new and innovative ways. Ten years ago, the concept of a ‘skate charity’ didn’t even exist. Today, this skater-led movement is thriving, but what’s next?
Panel: Oliver Percovich [Skateistan], Tobias Egelkamp [Skate Aid], Arne Hilerns [Make Life Skate Life], Charlie Davis [SkatePal]
Chair: Will Ascott & Ruby Mateja [Free Movement Skateboarding]
Skaters and the city have historically been at loggerheads over the defensive architecture and restrictions placed on public spaces, but things are changing. Skateboarders worldwide are beginning to win hard fought battles to protect iconic spots and construct the inclusive cities they desire. The question is: what do skaters want and need from the built environment?
Panel: Gustav Svanborg-Eden [Skate Malmo], Chris Lawton [Skate Nottingham], Alexis Sablone [Pro Skater], Daphne Greca [Brixton's Baddest Skateshop], David Knight [DK-CM Architects]
Chair: Ocean Howell, Stuart Maclure [Long Live Southbank]
In June 2018, a unique line-up of pro-skaters, community groups, NGOs, policy-makers and academics came together to present a series of talks and Q&As exploring the social impact of skateboarding worldwide.
Hosted at House of Vans London and Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.
Bringing together the most and least heard voices in skateboarding
Pro Skater & Brand Owner
Elissa is one of the most recognisable names in women’s skateboarding. She began skating in 1989 and went onto film some of the era’s most influential video parts for Welcome To Hell and Jump Off A Building. In 1998 she turned pro for Toy Machine and became the first female skater to win the inaugural Women's Street category at Slam City Jam.
Elissa has three X Games Gold Medals, won first place at The World Cup of Skateboarding and Triple Crown, and was the first female skater to be featured in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series. After a great run, Elissa has quietly walked away from competing and spends her days surfing, skating and running her brand Gnarhunters in San Francisco.
Founder & Executive Director, Skateistan
Oliver first skated in an empty pool at the age of six while growing up in Papua New Guinea. In 2007 Oliver moved to Afghanistan from Australia when his then girlfriend took a job in Kabul. Looking to explore, he would skate the city, and street-working kids would follow him around and ask to try. In 2008, Oliver founded Skateistan, a grassroots 'Sport for Development' project on the streets of Kabul.
Today, Skateistan is an award-winning international organization with Skate Schools and programs running in Afghanistan, Cambodia and South Africa. Through their innovative programs, Skateistan aims to give youth the opportunity to become leaders for a better world.
Pro Skater & Author
Karl is a professional skateboarder from San Francisco, known for his laid back style and massive smile. Karl has spent over two decades on four wheels, riding for companies like Mad Circle, IPath, Organika, and Expedition One before focusing on nurturing upcoming talent in skateboarding.
Karl currently manages the Adidas flow team and in 2017 teamed up with cartoonist Henry Jones to create My First Skateboard, the first children's book about skateboarding.
Former Pro Skater and Professor, University of Oregon
Ocean is a retired professional skateboarder (Birdhouse, H-Street) and Associate Professor of History at the University of Oregon. His writing on skateboarding has been published in the Journal of Architectural Education, Space and Culture, and the Harvard Design Magazine, and has been quoted in the Congressional Quarterly (US), the New York Times, and the Guardian (UK).
His book, Making the Mission: Planning and Ethnicity in San Francisco, was published in 2015. He is currently at work on a digital mapping project about the history of unrealised urban plans, in collaboration with Stanford University.
University of Southern California
Neftalie is a PhD Candidate at the University of Waikato in New Zealand and Lecturer of skateboarding business, media and culture at USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism in Los Angeles. His research uses skateboarding culture as a lens to examine issues of diversity, identity, youth and mass culture, education and public diplomacy.
Neftalie is a research fellow at USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society and the LA84 Foundation. Neftalie is an academic skateboarding envoy for the United States, is Chairman of the College Skateboarding Educational Foundation and received the 2015 USC Black Alumni award for his work in skateboarding diplomacy.
Founder, Girl Skate India
Atita found skateboarding in Bangalore, India at the age of 19 and went from being India’s first female skateboarder to volunteering on skatepark projects with Make Life Skate Life and becoming an ambassador for the Vans India team.
Atita started Girl Skate India as a platform to encourage more women in India to get involved in skateboarding. She recently joined pro skaters Lizzie Armanto and Vanessa Torres as part of a panel discussion about female skateboarding at the House of Vans Brooklyn.
A household name in UK skateboarding, Lucy is a well travelled pro skateboarder and the Chair of Skateboard England. At the top of the British skate scene since 2009, winning the UK Skateboard Champs and Girls UK Skate Jam numerous times, Lucy has been a tirelessly upbeat presence in UK skateboarding for years now. Lucy's efforts to make skateboarding more accessible for girls includes setting up Brighton based She-Shredders coaching sessions.
In 2017, Lucy celebrated over twenty years in the game with a Pro Model on Lovenskate, a 12 page interview in Grey Skate Mag, and a new part 'Master of Camouflage'.
Former Pro Skater
A pioneer in her own right, at the age of 16 Jaime became one of only three female skateboarders to earn a cover of Thrasher Magazine. Featured on the April 1994 issue, her 360 flip at A'ala skatepark in Honolulu was her first skate photo in a magazine. Jaime has had parts in over 15 skate videos including for Thrasher, Zoo York, multiple 411 VMs and most notably in Real’s Non Fiction (1997). Jaime turned pro for Rookie skateboards and had a signature pro shoe model for Gallaz footwear. In 2003, she made contest history by being the first person from Hawaii to place at the X Games.
After stepping away from skating professionally In 2009, Jaime has spent the last three years steadily returning to skating.
City University, New York
Gregory is an Associate Professor at Baruch College, City University of New York. His research focuses on urban subcultures such as graffiti writers, musicians and professional skateboarders, with an emphasis on subculture theory, urban space and issues of social and racial justice. He is the author of Skateboarding LA: Inside Professional Street Skateboarding (NYU Press, 2017) and Graffiti Lives: Beyond the Tag in New York’s Urban Underground (NYU Press, 2009).
Gregory lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn with his wife and daughter. He cannot skateboard at all so he rides track bikes.
Founder, Onto Sneakers
Jileen is a skateboarder and founder of Onto, an independent sneaker brand based in New York City. She grew up in San Francisco, spending her formative years exploring and immersing herself in street skateboarding. Slamming on hills, running from undercover cops, and learning to ollie while pro skaters were doing kickflip melon grabs down legendary gaps several feet away are all part of her resume.
Jilleen started Heavy Discussion as a panel series designed to increase traffic to global issues by directly involving the communities that inform Onto. Heavy Discussion has held three successful panels in New York City to date, with the last two examining aspects of skate culture that specifically affect women in skateboarding.
Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
Iain is Professor of Architecture & Urban Culture, and Vice-Dean Education, at The Bartlett, University College London. His new book Skateboarding and the City: a Complete History will be published by Bloomsbury in February 2019.
Iain was part of the original thinking behind the Buszy skate space at Milton Keynes, helped heritage-list Rom skatepark, advised on the new multi-storey Urban Sports Park skatepark in Folkestone, and has been a key instigator of Crystal Palace skatepark where London’s first full tile-and-coping pool in 40 years has just opened. His favourite move is the classic frontside air.
Sheffield Hallam University
Dani is an artist-researcher and Senior Lecturer in performance at Sheffield Hallam University. She began skateboarding in 1998 after becoming fascinated by the front cover of Sidewalk Surfer on a shelf at her local WHSmith newsagent. Dani’s practice-as-research PhD focused on the subject of gendered play in public built environments, primarily based on her experiences as a female skateboarder.
Dani is currently writing a book on ‘girl’ as a conceptual category within skateboarding, practised by female, gender-non-binary and male skateboarders. Dani is also an ambassador for the skateboarding charity, SkatePal.
GIH School of Sport & Health Sciences
Åsa is Senior Lecturer at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in Stockholm. Her research has a socio-cultural perspective on informal learning and also its societal consequences, particularly focusing on youth, femininity, bodies and place. She has researched various aspects of skateboarding in Sweden for two decades and was a skateboarder in the late 70s.
Key interests are epistemology and research methodology, particularly sensory and visual ethnography, which shows in publications like Knowing and teaching kinaesthetic experience in skateboarding: An example of sensory emplacement (2014).
Gustav is a skateboarder from Sweden and the Official Skateboarding Coordinator for the City of Malmö. Gustav grew up skating in the supposed ’dark ages’ of pressure-flips and is best known in the London skate scene for his immaculate nollie down the famous London Bridge steps in Blueprint's Waiting for the World.
Gustav previously worked for Bryggeriet, the first school of skateboarding in Europe and now uses Malmö taxpayer’s money to help grow skateboarding and promote Malmö as a cultural and skate-friendly city.
Hudson River Museum
Ted is the Assistant Curator at the Hudson River Museum, while working to finish his PhD in Art History at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His research interests outside of history focus on the Gilded Age(s) and the intersection between history and the built environment.
His writing about skateboarding has appeared in Thrasher, Transworld Skateboarding, Jenkem Magazine, Slap, and the New York Times. In addition to his PhD, he is devoted to the equally-pointless task of writing a skateboarding memoir. His satirical instagram page (@feedback_ts) is disturbingly popular.
Co-Founder, Free Movement Skateboarding
Will is a co-founder of Free Movement Skateboarding, a charity bringing skateboarding to the refugee and local population of Athens, Greece via a portable skatepark. Having studied International Development and with a background in youth work and disability support, Will applies methods of managing challenging behaviour to support some of the most disadvantaged young people in Europe through skateboarding.
Will has been skateboarding for 15 years and likes doing skids as much as he likes teaching kids to do them.
Kyle is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Roosevelt University, in Chicago. In the long trudge toward his second novel, forthcoming, he found escape by writing essays about skateboarding as a process of memory, ontology, and literature. These essays have been published in journals including, and listed here from highest-brow to lowest, The American Reader, The Point, The Chicagoan, The Skateboard Mag, Deadspin, and Jenkem.
He was eleven when he began skateboarding, is now nearly forty, and will be dead or immobilized before he stops.
Writer & Photographer
Marie is a French transgender skateboarder, photographer, writer and multimedia artist based in Malmö, the queer capital of Sweden. They founded Xem Skaters, an international genderqueer skate zine in 2016 as a tool to educate skateboarders in diversity and open paths for individual identity building within skateboarding. They have been documenting the female and genderqueer skateboarding scenes extensively since 2010.
California State University
Becky is a Professor of Kinesiology at California State University, East Bay where she teaches courses in the sociology and philosophy of sport. She has been researching the cultural and political dynamics of lifestyle sports, especially skateboarding, for over 25 years. Her love of art draws her to these sports because they are often creative spaces with democratic underpinnings where individual style, self-governance, and cooperation matter.
Her most recent work is a multi-authored book of a 4-year ethnography about skateboarding and urban communities titled Moving Boarders: Skateboarding and the Shifting Landscape of Urban Youth Sport.
Founder & Executive Director, SkatePal.
Charlie is the founder of SkatePal, a non-profit organisation that supports young people in Palestine through skateboarding. Having grown up skating in the famous Bristo Square in Edinburgh, Charlie first visited Palestine in 2006, volunteering as an English teacher before realising that the kids were far more interested in his skateboard than his grammar skills!
After several years of teaching and travelling in Palestine and surrounding countries, Charlie studied an MA in Arabic at Edinburgh University with the aim of pursuing a career in the Middle East. SkatePal is now celebrating its fifth year and Charlie is currently based in Spain to escape the nonstop rain and greyness of Scotland.
Alexis is amongst the most respected female street skateboarders in the world. Since capturing the attention of the skateboard world in 2002 with her part in PJ Ladd’s Wonderful Horrible Life, she went on to claim 3 X Games gold medals in women’s street, and is currently one of the only pro females on several all male teams including New Balance Numeric and WKND skateboards.
Alexis has managed to balance an academic life alongside her skate career, earning degrees in Architecture from Columbia University and MIT. Alexis also works as an artist and animator for WKND skateboards, a design consultant for New Balance Numeric, and is trying to finish a 300 page graphic novel.
Co-founder, Re-verb Skateboarding
Thom is a skateboarder and PhD student at the Bartlett School of Architecture researching nostalgia and collective memory in skateboarding. Thom co-founded Re-verb with the aim of promoting skater-led academia, creating collaborations with skate charities and industry and providing an ongoing space to research and write about skateboarding.
Thom worked as a skateboard instructor and director at Woodward Camp where key roles included teaching kids to drop-in, bomb hills and letting skateboarding make you smile. A wallride induced slipped-disc has re-ignited his quest to find some flatground skills.
Founder of COPSON
Maria is a skateboarder from Italy and founder of the lifestyle brand COPSON.
Maria has always been heavily influenced by skateboarding since taking it up at the age of eleven. On a year out from her Fashion Marketing degree in Manchester, Maria spent a summer skateboarding in Barcelona and launched COPSON STREET as a blog to host her inspirations at the time – focusing on skate, style, and ambient music. It naturally grew to encapsulate the life around skate subculture and has now evolved into a lifestyle brand. Maria is currently based in London and hosts 'The Copson Golden Hour' on NTS Radio.
Founder, Girl Skate UK
Danni is a skateboarder from Sheffield and founder of Girl Skate UK.
Now in its fourth year, the platform is the leading promoter of female skateboarding across the UK, inspiring other women to get involved and showcasing upcoming talent of skateboarders like Josie Millard and Rianne Evans.
Co-founder, Brixton’s Baddest Skateshop
Daphne moved to London in 2007 from her home town of Athens where she worked as a writer, photographer and pornographer. In 2015 Daphne co-founded Brixton's Baddest, London's youngest skate shop, serving the skate-community of South London. Daphne has become a key player in the Friends of Stockwell Skatepark organisation where she supports the local skate scene by campaigning and fundraising. Daphne works tirelessly to empower young women and support grassroots skateboarding.
Head of Projects, Skate-Aid
Tobias is a skateboarder from Münster, Germany who began working in the skate-charity sector while volunteering in Cape Town with German NGO Skate-Aid in 2014.
Enlightened by the positive effects skateboarding was having on young people in South Africa, Tobias continued working with Skate-Aid and was soon offered a full time position. Currently based in Berlin, Tobias now manages the projects of Skate-Aid across Germany and internationally.
Executive Director, Make Life Skate Life
Arne is a skateboarder from Germany who enjoys flat terrain with a preference for anything that doesn’t require an ollie! In 2012, Arne travelled to India to help build the Holystoked skatepark, which inspired him to set up his own organisation Make Life Skate Life along with fellow skater Jon Chaconas. Since then, MLSL have built free-access community skateparks in Bolivia, Jordan, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Nepal and Morocco.
Arne is currently preparing for the next MLSL project, Suli Skatepark in Iraq, due to be completed in May 2018.
Co-founder, Re-verb Skateboarding
Sander is a skateboarder and filmmaker currently working on dust and deserts in Southern California. He recently finished his PhD research on Korean skateboarding at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, and now works at Leiden University as a visiting scholar.
He co-founded Re-verb to critically discuss skate culture and its ambivalent relation to virtual kickflips. His most recent publication is Hell and Marble: Inside South Korea's Skate Scene on Vice.
Founder, Skate Nottingham
Chris is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Nottingham Trent University. A lifelong skateboarder (with out-of-control obsessions for the late 90s, Blueprint, Gino Iannucci, Mixtape era Zooyork and the continuing work of Josh Stewart), Chris is currently feature writer for Caught in the Crossfire.
Chris co-founded Skate Nottingham CIC to try and put skateboarding at the heart of more inclusive social, cultural and educational development in the grand old former industrial city of Nottingham.
Long Live Southbank
Stuart is a skateboarder and urban planning graduate whose keen interest in interpreting the urban form took him to study in Copenhagen, where he was taught by some of the world’s leading architects and urban designers.
Leaving behind rainy street missions, but not Long Live Southbank emails, Stuart moved to San Francisco to work as a policy researcher at a leading urban design think tank. Stuart returned to the UK in 2017 to work full time on the current Long Live Southbank campaign. Stuart is committed to exploring the benefits of high quality urban design and supporting the access to free creative space in our cities.
Former pro skater & Photographer
Louisa is a photographer and retired pro skater who was born in Algeria and grew up in Hoogeveen, Holland. In 2009 Louisa travelled to Afghanistan with fellow pro skater Kenny Reed and the pair released ‘Some Time to Smile’, a book documenting the work of Skateistan at their first skate school in Kabul. Although she doesn’t skate professionally anymore, Louisa can be found shredding the streets of her current home town, Barcelona, on a daily basis.
University of Hong Kong
Paul is a Research Assistant Professor in Sociology at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. His key research interests are in religion, ethnicity, social theory, and of course skateboarding. After more than 30 years skateboarding he continues to have a passion for no complys and impossibles, just a couple of the tricks he has not yet lost.
His research has looked at skateboarding in East Asia, skateboard philanthropy, and middle-aged skateboarders. Paul is currently pursuing themes of religion and ethnicity in his work on skateboarding.
Anthony is a New York based writer, author, and content creator. As a teenager in Massachusetts, he self-published music and skate centric zines, eventually becoming a regular contributor to Slap Magazine in the mid-90s. Throughout the ‘90s he wrote for several print publications, as well as toured and recorded with In My Eyes, a hardcore punk band signed to Revelation Records.
After moving from Boston, MA to New York City in 2002, he has written and produced several books and his writing and video work has appeared in several outlets, including Huck Magazine, Monster Children, Transworld Skateboarding, and VICE, where he was also the site’s first weekend editor.
Oisín is editor-in-chief of Skateism, the world’s first diversity skateboarding publication, which focuses on giving an online and print platform to the underground and overlooked in skateboarding culture. Specialising in LGBTQ+, female, non-western, DIY and charitable projects the world over, Skateism aims to address the discrepancy in media coverage of diverse groups in skateboarding.
Oisin is also Comms Manager for skate charity Free Movement Skateboarding, and will this year begin a PhD on Irony at UCL, which means he’s also going to have to learn how to juggle.
Moch is a skateboarder based in Athens who co-founded Skateism, the world’s first diversity skateboarding publication in 2012 through a combination of skate-centric graphic design and sticker experiments. With 22 years on a board behind him, as art-director he has guided Skateism into an online and print magazine for the underground and overlooked in the culture, specialising in LGBTQ+, female, non-western, DIY and charitable projects the world over.
Today Moch produces artwork which has been shown in skateboarding exhibitions across Europe.
Co-Founder, Free Movement Skateboarding
Ruby is a co-founder of Free Movement Skateboarding, a charity that provides skateboarding workshops on a mobile skatepark for refugees and locals in Athens, Greece.
Ruby sees skateboarding as a creative and empowering activity that can enhance confidence and tenacity in many other aspects of your life. With the girl skate scene in Athens just starting to take off, it is the perfect place to be. Free Movement’s workshops promote skateboarding as a gender-neutral activity, which is for anyone and everyone to enjoy.
Director, DK-CM Architects
David is a designer and author. He is a director of DK-CM, an architecture and research studio based in East London, and a Visiting Lecturer at the Royal College of Art School of Architecture, where he is also completing a PhD on the politics of the English planning system in relation to popular discourse.
DK-CM recently joined the Greater London Authority’s Architecture Design Urbanism Panel and won a Special Mention in the European Prize for Urban Public Space.
Author and Stand-up Comedian
Tara Jepsen is a writer, performer, and skateboarder living in Los Angeles, California. Her novel "Like a Dog" was published by City Lights in September of 2017. Tara co-founded queer skateboard brand Pave the Way Skateboards.
Photography by: Emil Agerskov & Wade Trevean