Dr David Holland-Smith


School School of Social and Health Sciences

Department Division of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Contact info

+44 (0)1382 30 8187


After qualifying in youth and community work, David worked in Warrington as a social worker in juvenile justice.  In 1988 he moved to Scotland to take up a post in  Community Education as an Outdoor education specialist.  He worked in Outdoor Education from 1988 to 2001. David was a member of the Scottish Advisory Panel on Outdoor Education and was a specialist in environmental education, community development,  and experiential education. From 2001 to 2005 David worked in rural community development in Highland Perthshire.

     David joined the Division of Sport and Exercise Science at Abertay in 2005. His role as Programme Tutor included responsibility for the BSc Coaching and Sports Development (2005 -2007), BSc Honours Programme pathways (2007- 2013) and BSc Performance Golf (2011 – 2015). He was also a member of the School’s Teaching and Learning committee, Ethics committee and Partnership committee. He has taught on modules including sport management, sports development, and community sports development, social science of sport, research methods, performer improvement and development, and dissertation supervision. In addition to developing the undergraduate sports programmes, he has collaboratively developed a postgraduate MBA programme in sports development with the Dundee Business School. David taught  on  sport management and development modules and supervised MBA dissertations. David has supervised Masters by Research (MBR) and has successful completions.

    David is an active member of a curriculum development team working on embedding sustainable development. David collaboratively developed an elective module: ‘Acting Locally: Sustainability in Scotland’. His main role has been to develop transformative reflective pedagogic practice and experiential content. As part of his broader academic collaboration across the higher education sector in Scotland, David is a member of ‘Design in Action’ (Chiasma) programme which brings together academics and industry specialists in applying design process and thinking to address barriers to participation in outdoor sports.

    David is a senior fellow of the higher education academy (SFHEA) and is a mentor for the ‘Going for Gold’ programme of professional accreditation at Abertay. 

   David has an academic research interest in the area of adventure, risk and aletrnative sports.

Academic Qualifications

PhD.  Doctor of Philosophy 2018 University of Abertay.  Class, Gender and Habitus: A 'Boudieuian' Perspective of Social Reproduction and Change in the  Contemporary Sports Field with a Focus on Adventure Climbing.

SFHEA. 2016. Senior Fellow of The Higher Education Academy

Dip. Psych (Open) 2003 Open University. Post Graduate Conversion Diploma in Psychology. Graduate Basis for Chartered Status  British Psychological Society.

MEd (Hons) Master of Education 1992 University of Dundee.

P.G. Cert Youth Community. Post Graduate Certificate in Youth and Community 1987. University of Birmingham.

B.A. Geography 1982. University of St Johns. York.


Professional Coaching Awards

Mountain Instructor Award (1998). 

Winter Mountain Leader (1998).

Mountain Instructor Certificate Training  (1999).

Mountain Ski Leader Award (1999).

Nordic and Alpine Ski Leader (1994).

BCU level 5 Coach Inland Kayak Training (1999).

Trail Bike Leader (1998).


David  teaches applied social science ( psychology, sociology, politics and  philosphy) in a sport and exercise context. 

Research Interests

David has a PhD by publication. Class, Gender and Habitus: a Bourdieuian perspective of social reproduction and change in the contemporary sports field with a focus on adventure climbing.

His publications have  focused on sociological perspectives related to identity and class in adventure sports. 

Postgraduate research superivsion (2016-18)

Mbr Supervision: Biographical perspectives on coach development in Rugby. Completed 2017.

Mbr Supervision:  But I Have to Make the Team! An autobiographical Inquiry of Intercollegiate Sports (Golf) in the USA. Completed 2017.

Research students

Dave is happy to supervise Masters by Research (MBR) students with an interest in adventure and lifestyle sports and invites prospective students to contact him (D.Hollandsmith@Abertay.ac.uk) for further information and to discuss potential project ideas. 

Lorimer, R., and Holland-Smith, D. (2012). Why coach?  A case study of the prominent influences on a top level UK outdoor adventure coach. The Sport Psychologist. 26, 571-583.

Holland-Smith, D., and Olivier, S. ( 2013) ‘You don’t understand us!’ An inside perspective on adventure climbing, Sport in society: Cultures, Commerce, Media and Politics. London. Routledge.

Holland-Smith, D., Love, A. and Lorimer, R. (2013) British Surfers and Their Attitudes Toward the Environment. Ecopsychology, vol 5, no2, 103-109. Mary Ann Liebert.

Whitaker, C.G. and Holland-Smith, D. (2014) Exposing the darkside, an exploration of the influence social capital has upon parental sport volunteers. Sport, Education and Society, vol, no, 00-00.n Routledge.

Holland-Smith, D. (2015). ‘All the places we were not supposed to go’:
a case study of formative class and gender habitus in adventure climbing, Sport, Education and Society, DOI: 10.1080/13573322.2014.994177

Holland-Smith, D. (2016). Social Capital, social media and the changing patterns of participation in climbing, Sport in Society. Routledge. DOI: 10.1080/17430437 2016 1269078.

Holland-Smith, D. (2017). Social Capital, Social Media and Gender Class Reproduction. Women, subcultures and the changing patterns of participation in climbing. In Kilvington. D and Price, J (Eds) Sport and Discrimination. Routledge, 230-244. Book Chapter.

Conference presentations

Holland-Smith, D. (2015). Tackling discrimination and barriers to participation in outdoor adventure sports through design thinking and new technological innovations. Sport and Discrimination. University of Sunderland, May, 2015. Conference Presentation.

Holland-Smith, D. (2014). Gender and the somatised body in adventure climbing. Women's History Scotland Annual Conference, Abertay University. September 27th, 2014. Conference Presentation.

Samuel. A., Holland-Smith, D. and Gilmour, D. (2014). Embedding Education for Sustainable Development in the Abertay Curriculum. Teaching and Learning Enhancement Conference, Abertay University. October 1st 2014. Conference presentation.

Holland-Smith, D. (2018). Hysteresis and Social Change in the Contemporary Climbing Field. 3rd Sport and Discrimination Conference, September 3rd 2018. Oxford Brookes University.






More Information


Research grants

Carnegie Trust ( Small Grants £ 2000 ) 2006.

Cross cultural influences on participation in extreme sports.


Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Peer reviewer for:

Sport and Society.

Journal of Sport and Social Issues.

Leisure / Loisir.

Journal of Adventure Education & Outdoor Learning.

Meet the rest of the team

Dr Rhiannon Lord

Dr Rhiannon Lord

Division of Sport and Exercise Sciences | Lecturer

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Mrs Helen McHardy

Mrs Helen McHardy

Division of Sport and Exercise Sciences | Lecturer

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