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Past Conferences


When : Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7 December 2023

Where : Auckland, New Zealand

Conference dates

Our 30th Anniversary Conference took place in Auckland, New Zealand, the week prior to the 17th World Leisure Congress. The event ran over three days from Tuesday 5th to Thursday 7th December, 2023, following a Higher Degree Research Student Hackathon event held on Monday December 4th.

Conference theme

The conference theme was ‘Leisure for Life’, with submissions invited from scholars and practitioners undertaken research that explores the everyday consumption and production of leisure time and leisure activities across our lifespan. The goal was to celebrate the 30th birthday, (re)establish connections, following the loss of the 2021 Conference, and to generate new conversations about the future of leisure in tomorrow’s world.

Celebrations and conversations

The conference was co-chaired by Professor Heike Schänzel and Dr Richard Wright, and co-hosted by two interdisciplinary schools within two different Auckland University of Technology faculties. Members of the School of Tourism and Hospitality (Faculty of Culture and Society) worked alongside the School of Sport and Recreation (Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences) to deliver a celebration that attracted 96 submissions and 80 attendees from all over the world.

Those wanting to know more, can still connect with the organisers at anzals@aut.ac.nz


When : Wednesday 11 to Friday 13 December 2019

Where : Queenstown, New Zealand

Conference dates

The main conference will take place in Queenstown, New Zealand from Wednesday 11 to Friday 13 December 2019, and there will be a special session for Higher Degree Research (HDR) students on the afternoon of Tuesday 10 December 2019.

Conference theme

The conference theme is ‘The Diversity of Leisure’ and we call for contributions that highlight the breadth and depth of research and industry experience in the area of leisure and leisure studies. This theme was deliberately chosen as we wish to (a) encourage a diverse mix of scholars to participate, and (b) showcase the wide variety of leisure-related research being carried out across disciplinary boundaries. However, we believe the notion of ‘diversity’ in the title carries a deeper, more fundamental meaning which in turn connotes a significant responsibility on us as organisers.

Celebrating diversity

Diversity not only means the diversity of research being carried out in the field of leisure studies and related areas. It also means diversity in the geographic location of that research, and giving voice to the diverse range of scholars carrying out that research. We want to create a conference that celebrates this diversity, which signals the need for it to be accessible and inclusive. We desire to be transparent in our decision-making, therefore we have included a discussion of why accessible and inclusive conferences are important, what this ‘looks like’ for ANZALS 2019 and how we have sought to achieve this through conscious planning. Find it on the About tab.


Theme: Leisure for Social Change

When : 4 to 7 December, 2017

Where : University of Tasmania – Sandy Bay campus, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

Description :

ANZALS 13th Biennial conference

Having mounted a case for leisure as a human right at the 12th Biennial ANZALS Conference in Adelaide 2015, we now explore leisure as an agent for social change.  The 13th Biennial ANZALS Conference calls on all to review leisure as a social change agent at individual, community and societal levels in a rapidly changing world.

This event will seek to build on the long tradition of ANZALS conferences by asking presenters and attendees to reflect on and discuss both the positive and negative roles leisure plays across a number of significant global, regional and local issues. The conference will provide an avenue for the dissemination of leisure studies research that cuts across a variety of domains such as business, health, the environment, tourism, events, education and disability as well as transport, planning, policy, place management and infrastructure.

The conference is a collaboration between the Institute for Regional Development, the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, the Faculty of Health, the Tourism Research and Education Network (TRENd) and the University College.


Theme: Leisure as a Human Right

When : 9 – 11 December 2015

Where : School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia

Description :

ANZALS 12th Biennial conference in December  2015 at University of South Australia, Australia

The right to access and participate in leisure is enshrined in a number of international conventions and declarations beginning with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) – Articles 24 & 27. While there has been global consensus that access to leisure is a human right, there still remain a number of challenges and issues that individuals, communities and nations face in relation to fulfilling this right.


Understanding leisure in a complex world: Promoting a Critical Leisure Studies

When : 4-6 December 2013

Where : Monash University, Peninsula campus, Australia

Description : 

In this context, our conference theme addressed two intertwined issues:

  • that social, cultural and economic diversity and polarisation is increasing across, between and within global regions; and
  • that this complex environment presents an opportunity for leisure academics to develop a more critical and inclusive leisure studies.

The key question we had for delegates of this conference was where does leisure fit amongst these significant issues and what can leisure studies offer in response to the challenges our society is now facing? We have argued for many years the importance and benefits that can be accrued to society from leisure at a community, family and individual level. How does this now fit within societies affected by such extensive social problems? Can leisure itself in the form of ‘dark’ or ‘deviant’ leisure be part of the problem? Through this conference, we called for a critical interrogation of the place and value of leisure within a rapidly changing global society.


Challenging Leisure: Australia and New Zealand Association of Leisure Studies

When : 6‐8 December 2011

Where : Department of Tourism and School of Physical Education, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Description :

“The demand for and the provision and consumption of leisure is becoming ever more diverse. At the same time the world is facing up to the reality of finite resources.

It is against this backdrop that academics, industry practitioners, and public bodies are being challenged to understand and react to the changing face of leisure and society in a cohesive, productive, and sustainable manner. At the same time leisure studies, as a maturing discipline, is being challenged to re-situate itself within academia and to redefine its relationships to a plethora of disciplines and study areas.

Paralleling this is a re-conceptualisation of the position of leisure in society as the mirage of the leisure society is pushed into history and lifestyle choices and work demands vie for attention from the general public and policy decision makers.

The result is challenging and exciting times for leisure studies scholars and the aim of ANZALS 10th biennial conference is to provide a forum for academics, industry practitioners, and public bodies to come together to explore the challenges and opportunities facing leisure and to examine possible avenues of future interest and value to all three. While looking forward another challenge is to ensure that the lessons learnt in the past by those interested in leisure are fully utilised as we look to an exciting future.”


Other Conferences

2010, Exploring new ideas and new directions, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
 2008, Leisure Is the Key: Unlocking People & Communities, Melbourne VIC, Australia
 2005, Kangaroo and Kiwi Kulture – Impacts on the Leisure Experience, Tauranga, NZ
 2003, Leisure, Change and Diversity, Sydney, NSW, Australia
 2001, Leisure Futures, Leisure Cultures, Fremantle, WA, Australia
(held in conjunction with the 3rd Women in Leisure International Conference)
 1999, Leisure Experiences: Interpretation and Action, Hamilton, New Zealand
 1997, Leisure, People, Places, Spaces, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
 1995, Leisure Connexions, Canterbury, New Zealand
 1993, The State of Leisure: First ANZALS Conference, Brisbane, QLD, Australia


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