Category Archives: Conferences

Sports History conference at De Montfort University, 5-7 September 2016

This September, I am hosting the annual conference of the European Committee for Sports History (CESH) at the International Centre for Sports History and Culture, De Montfort University. the conference will take place on 5-7 September inclusive. papers are welcome on any subject linked to the history of sport, physical education, and physical culture, and they can be delivered in any European language. For full details, including the Call for Papers and directions on submitting an abstract, please visit CESH’s site.

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Festival of History and English at West Suffolk College

On Wednesday 27 January, West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmund’s will be holding its first Festival of History and English, with speakers from both subject areas giving papers on a range of themes for current and prospective students and anyone with an interest. I’ll be speaking on Britian’s Olimpick, Olympic, and Olympian History, 1612-2012. Other speakers and their subjects are Rebecca Pinner of UEA on ‘Arrows, Wolves and Wuffings: Finding St Edmund in East Anglian Churches’, John Gardner of Anglia Ruskin on ‘Poetry, Protest, Rebellion and Repression in Britain in after Waterloo’, Dilwyn Porter of DMU on ‘The ‘Daily Mirror’, its readers and their money, c.1960-2000′, Emily Crane of King Edward IV School on ‘Art, Literature and Film in post-colonial India: The Legacy of Rabindranath Tagore’, and Adrian May of the University of Essex on ‘The Poet and Song’.

Click here for full details of the Festival.

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Sport and Leisure History seminars in London

The new series of Sport and Leisure History Seminars at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) starts on Monday 12 January. This is an excellent series that brings together postgraduates, academics, curators, and freelance historians to look at a wide range of themes in the history of sport and leisure. It’s run by the London branch of the British Society of Sports History South Network. Sessions take place in Room 104 of the IHR in Senate House, starting at 5.15pm. The seminars for this terms are as follows:

12 Jan: Suzanne Lenglen to Serena Williams: An Object-Focused Investigation into the Role of Fashion in Women’s Tennis Dress, Suzanne Rowland (University of Brighton)


Patriotism, Pathos and Pride: Interwar Cinema-going in the Naval Port Town of Portsmouth, Dr Robert James (University of Portsmouth)

‘Young Men with Beards and Young Women in Homespun Cloaks’: London’s Early Art Cinemas and their Audiences, Dr Chris O’Rourke (University College London)

9 Feb: Producing Public History: How the National Football Museum Created ‘The Greater Game: The History of Football in World War One’, Dr Alex Jackson (National Football Museum)


Promoting Wellbeing through Leisure: The Case of the Turkish bath in Victorian Britain, Charlotte Jones (University College London)

A ‘Murderer’s Paradise’: Leisure and the Treatment of Criminal Lunatics in Late-Victorian Broadmoor, Dr Jade Shephard (Queen Mary University of London)

9 Mar: ‘I Saw My Name on the Board’: Race, Gender and the Summer Olympics, 1932-1948, Dr Stanley Arnold (Northern Illinois University)

23 Mar: ‘A Fortune in a Thrill!’: Early Amusement Parks in Britain, 1900-1939, Dr Josephine Kane (University of Westminster)

Full details are here. Follow @BSSH South on Twitter.

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Sport and Leisure history workshop

On Saturday 14 June, the University of Winchester will be hosting the Summer Workshop for the South of England Sport & Leisure History Network, part of the British Society of Sports History (BSSH). The event will bring together scholars who are working on a variety of aspects of sport and leisure history, in a friendly and informal atmosphere. The papers will be arranged around three themes: Leisure in Wartime; Leisure, Sex & Sexuality; and Leisure and National Identity. The full programme is as follows:

Rafaelle Nicholson (Queen Mary University of London), ‘Even the World of Sport Suffered a Feminine Invasion’: Women’s Sport in Second World War Britain

Simon Young (University of Winchester), The Moscow Olympics and Soviet Foreign Policy, 1975–1980

Michael John Law (University of Westminster), Sex in the Car Park: The Impact of Changed Mobilities on Sexual Behaviour in the Interwar Home Counties

Leo Bird (University of Sheffield), Innuendo and Double-Entendre in Popular British Comedy, 1945–1960: Moral Ambiguity in Post-War Britain

Rory Magrath (Southampton Solent University/University of Winchester), The Inclusive Masculinities of Premier League Academy Footballers

Geoffrey Levett (Birkbeck, University of London), George Newnes and Pierre Lafitte: New Leisure Journalism and National Identity in 1900s Britain and France

Dion Georgiou (Queen Mary University of London), Remembering ‘Cool Britannia’: National Identity, Race and Nostalgia on Britpop’s ‘20th Anniversary’

I’ll be rounding things off with the keynote on Football Diplomacy. The event is free (though lunch is not provided), and will run from 9.30-5.00. If you would like to attend, please email by Wednesday, 11 June 2014.

Follow @BSSHSouth on Twitter.



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BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme

I’m going to be on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 on 19 April, discussing the history of sport and politics. I’m scheduled to be on sometime between 8.40 and 9.00. Then it’ll be straight from Broadcasting House to Lord’s, where I’m giving a keynote paper about the Olympic Games to the Sports Heritage Network‘s conference.

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Sport and the City conference, University of Westminster

An idealised view of men and women on the 1908 Olympic Games diploma

On 24 April, I’ll be speaking at the University of Westminster’s Sport and the City conference. My paper will be on sport and gender at the 1908 London Olympic Games. Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the IOC and its preseident at the time of the 1908 Games, was famously reactionary when it came to gender politucs. As he wrote in 1912,

‘In our view, this feminine semi-Olympiad is impractical, uninteresting, ungainly, and, I do not hesitate to add, improper. It is not in keeping with my concept of the Olympic Games, in which I believe that we have tried, and must continue to try, to put the following expression into practice: the solemn and periodic exaltation of male athleticism, based on internationalism, by means of fairness, in an artistic setting, with the applause of women as a reward.’

And yet at the 1908 Olympic Games, women competed in five sports, more than at any of the previous three Olympic Games: lawn tennis, archery, ice skating, yachting, and motorboat racing. There were also demonstration events in gymnastics and diving. These Games thus form a fascinating case study in the history of gender issues at the Olympic Games. The fact that they were held in a London where the Suffragettes were demonstrating for the right to vote, and in which a quiet but influential debate over the legal status of homosexuality was going on, makes them truly fascinating.

The University of Westminster has a long history of involvement in the Olympic Games, as it is the successor to the Polytechnic, which helped to run the 1908 Games and which provided many Olympians. The conference will celebrate this, while also allowing shcolars to explore other links between sport and cities.


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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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The Material Culture of Sport, 2012 Conference

The Design History Society’s annual conference for 2012 will be on the theme of The Material Culture of Sport. It will bring academics and parctitioners from a range of areas together, with strands that will include the links between sport and architecture, transport, urban design, clothing, media, and so much more. Keynote speakers will include Iain Sinclair and Iain Macrury. You can get the full details, including the deadline for abstracts, here.

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