Category Archives: Talks

Olympic history talk at Perins School, Alresford

Last week, I gave two talks for the Year 8 students at Perins School, Alresford, as part of the school’s Arts Festival. It’s a specialist sports college so they have a good grounding in all things Olympic, and I talked to them about the history of the Olympic Games in Britain, concentrating on the 1908 and 1948 London Olympic Games. After the talk, I was invited to judge an Olympic-themed photography competition that some of the students had taken part in.

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Sports Heritage Network conference at Lord’s cricket ground

On 19 April 2012, the Sports Heritage Network is holding its first conference. Co-organised by the University of Southampton, De Montfort University, and the World Rugby Museum, this prestigious event will be held at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London. I’ve been invited to give one of the keynote talks, which will be on London’s Olympic history. Other keynote speakers include Jonathan Edwards, Olympic triple jump gold medallist and a member of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, while broadcaster John Inverdale will chair proceedings. Speakers will come from the worlds of sport, broadcasting, business, politics, and universities, and will include Sir Menzies Campbell, Guin Batten, Christopher Martin-Jenkins, Liz McColgan, Henry Olonga, and Tony Collins.

For further details and booking information, visit the Lord’s website.

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Goalposts and Googlies: sport and the English language

On 23 March 2012, I’m giving the keynote address to the English Language Student Conference at the University of Winchester. This is a one-day conference for all students of English, from A-level to Masters, and papers are being given by undergraduate and postgraduate students from the universities in England, Wales, Poland, and Iran. My paper will explore some of the links – historical and contemporary – between sport and language, and will include a discussion of what we mean when we say ‘Olympic’. I will also take part in the plenary session, hosted by the English Project.

For more information, contact Dr Carolin Esser-Miles at the University of Winchester

 

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Hampshire and the Olympic Games

On Friday 2 March 2012, I’m giving the Annual Local History Lecture for the Hampshire Field Club & Archaeological Society. The title is “Hampshire and the Olympic Games: a local history of a global event”. There will be refreshments form 7.30 pm and the lecture will start at 8pm at the Hampshire Record Office, Sussex Street, Winchester. The evening will include an opportunity to buy signed copies of The British Olympics. There is no charge, but spaces are limited so if you wish to book, please contact Gill Rushton, c/o Hampshire Record Office, Sussex Street, Winchester, SO23 8TH.

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Olympic events at the Bishopsgate Institute

From April to July 2012, the Bishopsgate Institute in London is hosting a series of talks and events on the Olympic Games, called Capital Games. They start on 29 April with a guided walk around the Lower Lea Valley, and end on 4 July with a talk about the legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games. The speakers include academics,  journalists,  London guides, and sports policy makers.

I’m involved with the event on Thursday  7 June, when I’ll be joining Matt Rogan, author of Britain and the Olympic Games: Past, Present, Legacy, and David Miller, author of London 2012: The Official History of the Olympic Games and the IOC 1894-2012, for a talk entitled “The Past and Present London Games”. We will be comparing and contrasting the 2012 Olympic Games with 1948,when public debt in Britain was higher that today and athletes were on rations, and with 1908, which saw the Games held at the world’s first purpose-built Olympic stadium. We will also take a look at the National Olympian Games of 1866 to see how far they were a template for Coubertin’s version of the Olympic Games.

You can book tickets for this and the other events here.

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Olympic History event for Anton Junior School, Andover

In January, I’m running a couple of events on London’s Olympic history for the children at Anton Junior School in Andover, Hampshire. We’ll explore the history of the 1908 and 1948 Olympic Games, comparing costs, venues, sports, and the countries involved between these Games and 2012, and there’ll be a special word on Andover’s brief moment of Olympic glory, when the 1948 torch relay went through the town on its way from Wembley to Torquay. Then I’ll set up a creative writing project for the Year 5 and 6 children, getting them to write stories based on moments from Olympic history. Anton Junior School has already done a great deal of work on the Olympic Games, with an innovative scheme of work for Key Stage 1 and 2, and I’m looking forward to working with the dynamic teaching team in developing this work.

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Olympic History lecture at for FIFA Master students at De Montfort University

On Wednesday 15 December, I’m taking part in a special event for FIFA Master students at De Montfort University, Leicester. I’m giving a talk on London’s previous Olympic Games, those of 1908 and 1948, and making comparisons and contrasts with the 2012 Olympic Games through such themes as venues, sports, and legacies. Other speakers at the event, which is designed to give the students a multi-angled view of the 2012 Olympic Games, will be Dennis Oswald, Head of the IOC’s Coordination Committee for the 2012 Olympics, and Jonathan Edwards, British Olympian and member of the Executive Board of LOCOG.

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Sport and Knitting

Woollen swimming costumes 1920s style

In 2008, Winchester School of Art hosted a ground-breaking international conference on knitting, called In The Loop. I was lucky enough to be invited to study the School’s knitting archive, which contains all sorts of goodies for sports historians, particularly an unrivalled collection of knitting patterns for sports clothing from across the 20th Century. I gave a paper at that first conference, and it proved so popular that I have since talked about sporting knitting patterns as a keynote speaker at conferences in Bolton, Malmo, Leicester and elsewhere. There was an In The Loop 2 in 2012, and now In The Loop 3 is being planned for 5-7 September 2012.

I’l be giving a keynote paper on knitting and the Olympic Games, and we are hoping to get a range of other papers on knitting in sport, alongside the conference’s other themes on knitting’s cultural history. The conference will take place at Winchester Discovery Centre, and its organisers are Nick Coates and Linda Newington.

If you want to find out more, please contact the Conference Administrator, Judith Horgan, on J.A.Horgan@soton.ac.uk.

 

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The British Olympics at the University of Winchester

On Friday 4 November 2011, I’m giving a talk at the University of Winchester on The British Olympics. It is part of the University’s 12 for 12 Project, a series of Olympic-themed events which was launched in October by former Olympic swimmer Kathy Read and is being co-ordinated by Richard Cheetham, Lecturer in Sports Coaching at Winchester. The talk is part of the Enrichment Week for Sport students, and will also be open to History students.

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Guildford Book Festival

 

Olympic shooting at Bisley, 1908

Last night, I gave a talk on The British Olympics at the Guildford Book Festival. I explored the diversity of Britain’s Olympic past, and looked at some of the local history of the Olympic Games, including the Army’s shooting range at Bisley, where most of the shooting for the 1908 Olympic Games took place. The audience was great, and the discussion was very productive. The talk was at Surrey Sports Park, the University of Surrey’s impressive new facility at the edge of Guildford.

Big thanks to Jo Baker and her colleagues for organising the event and for the hospitality, and to One Tree Books of Petersfield for looking after the book sales.

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