My name is Samantha Punch and as an international bridge player and Professor of Sociology at the University of Stirling I’m asking for your help to ‘Keep Bridge Alive.’
The University of Stirling is launching the ‘Keep Bridge Alive’ campaign to establish the Sociology of Bridge and contribute to the sustainability of the game. The campaign will run from 4 February to 31 March 2019.
Today, fewer people are playing bridge and there is a fear within our bridge community that the game will become extinct if we don’t recruit a new generation of players.
As players we know that bridge is great for our well-being, for healthy ageing and for social connection, but we're failing to communicate and demonstrate these benefits beyond the bridge world in ways that entices others to join our bridge community.
One of the problems is that not enough younger people are taking up the game, and we’re all getting older – so the time is right for us to develop research to address this issue of a declining bridge community…
What is the Sociology of Bridge?
Sociology is a way of exploring and understanding how society works. So the sociology of bridge is about understanding how the bridge world works – what motivates players, opportunities for skill development and the dynamics of the game.
By doing research which highlights the benefits and skills that playing bridge provides, we can develop an evidence base to persuade governments and employers to consider investing in getting more bridge into schools, universities and local communities.
As players we're aware of how bridge helps us to keep our brains fit and alert, as well as opportunities to socialise and have fun. Social connection is the number one factor (more important than diet or exercise) in terms of having a longer, healthier and more meaningful life, so the social element of bridge helps us to age well.
Bridge also gives us a wider range of skills that are useful in other areas of life and which employers often look for:
- concentration and focus, problem-solving, analytical thinking
- partnership skills such as communication, cooperation, patience, empathy and emotional control.
These are things that are not easily learnt at school nor in any other single game. Bridge is unique in that it combines all these different elements, which is what makes it so attractive. By setting up the Sociology of Bridge, we will raise the profile of the game and increase its visibility within society.
Furthermore the University of Stirling has a world leading reputation for its research into ageing and living well.
Zia Mahmood International Bridge Player - “Professor Punch’s research at the University of Stirling on the benefits of bridge is just what the bridge world needs to attract new players to our amazing card game. I totally support the Keep Bridge Alive Campaign which hopefully will become a global campaign by generating momentum to get people together to tackle the sustainability issues that the game faces.”
How Can You Help?
We need players, bridge clubs and organisations, and other supporters to join us in the Keep Bridge Alive campaign so we can publicise and promote bridge more widely.
The money raised will go towards funding two part-time researchers to work alongside Professor Punch. This new research team will explore interactions within bridge regarding well-being, healthy ageing and social connection. We will also produce a library of accessible materials aimed at different audiences, including schools, to encourage growth of the game and help shift the image of bridge. Ultimately we aim to launch a global collaborative research project focussing on the benefits that bridge contributes to health and well-being, leading to the long-term sustainability of the mind sport.
Please join us by contributing to the Keep Bridge Alive Campaign so that more people, including your children and grandchildren, can share the benefits of this endlessly fascinating mind sport.
Thanks and hope we meet at the bridge table soon.
** We would love to hear from you - if you are leaving a comment do let us know which country you are from and if you are a bridge player.