Personal profile

Research interests

Dilemmas of Doing Diversity (DiDi): practices and politics around DEI policy-making in sports and recreation

Since October 2022, Kay has been involved as PhD candidate within the NWA-funded research project "Dilemmas of Doing Diversity". In their project on D&I practices and politics in sports and recreation, they specifically look at processes of policymaking and -implementation from a governance perspective, problematizing the ways policy practitioners in sports “do” Diversity and how this translates into and from (D&I) policy. More specifically, they look at practices of policy professionals and how they collaborate with various societal sports initiatives. Their research focuses primarily on grassroots sports initiatives. Previous research has shown that such initiatives can play an important role in creating inclusive (sports) spaces – although these initiatives themselves are also not without their own exclusionary mechanisms. By talking to policy- and sports professionals, and by participating in grassroots sports initiatives, their hope is to collect stories that can provide insights into the diversity dilemmas that these professionals encounter. How do they organise their work? What difficult or challenging situations do they sometimes find themselves in? What decisions do they make in their work? And how do they operate in a broader policy context in which certain policies ought to be implemented?


Kay Mars holds a Master of Science in Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies (Radboud University) and a Master of Science in Human Geography (University of Amsterdam). With a specialization in ‘Diversity, Multicultural Citizenship and Urban Geographies’, their latest thesis project revolved around the mapping of urban queer sexualities in Porto Alegre (RS), Brazil. Main themes in their projects include Queer Spatiality, Homeplace(s), Homonormativity, Critical Queer Geographies, Intersectional Theory, and Engaged Scholarship. Ethnographic research methods such as in-depth (group) interviewing and participant observation, as well as creative and engaged research methods, have been central in most of their research projects. 

Kay has been involved in the Migration and Diversity Centre at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam from 2017 until 2019, where they coordinated seminars, forums, and academic workshops on issues related to Migration and/or Diversity. As project coordinator and junior researcher/teacher, Kay has been involved in the Refugee Academy at the Institute of Societal Resilience and the department of Sociology at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, from 2019 until 2022. Currently, Kay is involved as PhD candidate in the NWA-funded research project "Dilemmas of Doing Diversity: practices and politics around Diversity Equality & Inclusion (DEI) policy-making in sports and recreation", at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences. 


Their field of interest includes:

  • Activist/engaged scholarship
  • Intersectional Theory
  • Queer Studies
  • (Urban) Ethnography
  • DEI Policy Making & Policy mainstreaming
  • Sport Sociology


As teacher, Kay has been involved in various thematic as well as methodological courses, on both BA-level and MA-level. They also (co)-supervise BA- and MA-thesis projects for students in Sociology and Public Administration.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • Sociology
  • Engaged Scholarship
  • Diversity
  • Inclusion
  • Policy
  • Equity
  • Public Administration
  • Ethnography
  • Activist Scholarship
  • Engaged Pedagogy
  • Sport
  • Recreation
  • Qualitative Research


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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