BSSH Archive Project
Our Society is now almost forty years old, certainly old enough to attract the attention of researchers interested in its development and in the development of sports history more generally.
BSSH stalwart Malcolm Maclean, chair from 2007 to 2010, has donated a collection of documents relating to his work with the Society and these have now been deposited at the Archives and Special Collections Department at the Kimberlin Library, De Montfort University, Leicester, who have kindly agreed to help us develop a BSSH archive.
We are now looking to build on this solid foundation, a process kindly being facilitated by Dil Porter (email@example.com). He would welcome contact from any members who may be able to contribute to the archive.
The next in-person conference is expected to take place at St Mary's University, Twickenham, the planned venue for 2020, and the dates have been confirmed as Thursday 26 and Friday 27 August 2021.
The symposium will take place at the British Library, 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB for a full day, the specific timings to be announced in due course. Registration for speakers is free and lunch and refreshments, including a post-event reception, will be provided free of charge.
The event will have four panels over the day with a mixture of speakers from the history and heritage sectors, as well as attendees from the public, to a maximum of forty people. The BSSH will provide one panel (or equivalent number of people spread over the day) of BSSH members with the relevant experience to speak about their research on a specific Paralympic or Olympic sport with an emphasis on methodology and the role of archives in their research.
Members of the British Society of Sports History are invited to send a 200-word abstract of a 15-minute paper to Geoffrey Levett at firstname.lastname@example.org by 3rd April 2020. Potential speakers who are not currently members of the Society can apply but must join the Society before the deadline has passed.
The BSSH welcomes applications from members of any cultural, national or academic background to contribute to the diversity of research presented at the symposium and strongly encourages women, BAME, disabled and LGBTQI academics to respond to this call for papers.
Download the full call for papers here.
The BSSH is delighted to announce the award of several grants to support the research and dissemination of sport history.
Postgraduate and ECR research grants
These have been awarded to Tanya Jones of the University of Texas at Austin (PGR), both Dan Feather of Liverpool John Moores University, and Verity Postlethwaite of De Montfort University (ECR). Details of their research will follow later in the year.
Two groups of scholars are being supported to present BSSH panels at conferences: Professor Dave Day, Dr Sam Oldfield and Lydia Furse at the Leisure Studies Association Conference, and Dr Gary James, Dr Katie Taylor and Iain Adams at the North American Society for Sport History Annual Convention.
Small events funding
Four small event proposals have been awarded funding:
- Helena Byrne, to support a conference at the County Museum Dundalk
- Dr Geoff Levett, to support a conference on Olympic and Paralympic history and heritage at the British Library
- Lizzie Richmond, for an exhibition at the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath
- Dr Wendy Toon, to offer bursaries to a Women in Sport Conference at the University of Worcester
Click here for details of how to apply for the next round of research grants.
The Lord Aberdare Literary Prize is awarded each year by the British Society of Sports History for the best book on any aspect of the history of sport in Britain or for the best book on any aspect of sports history written by a British author. The British Society of Sports History appoints a panel of three judges to consider submissions. The Prize will be awarded at the Society’s conference (to be held in Twickenham on 27th and 28th August 2020) and the winner will be invited to present a paper to the conference the following year (in 2021). The Society would welcome submission of any books published in 2019 that meet the criteria outlined above.
Please note that the book must have a 2019 publication. Reprints, new editions and paperback editions of books previously issued as hardbacks before 2019 are not eligible. Pre-released books with advance publication dates of 2020 that appeared in 2019 are ineligible until next year and will be held over. Edited collections and symposia do not qualify.
Should you wish to enter any books for the Aberdare prize this year, please confirm your intentions to the chair of the panel, Richard Boddie, by email:email@example.com. Please use ‘ABERDARE PRIZE SUBMISSION’ as the subject title of your email. You will receive a response with the names and postal details of the three members of the judging panel and should forward a copy of your nominated title to each of them by the deadline given below. The deadline for submissions is 30th April 20120 (late entries will not be considered).
The winner of the Sport in History Undergraduate Essay Prize for 2019 was Alex Riggs of the University of Nottingham for his ‘Part time athlete full time serious thinker’: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Arthur Ashe in the ‘long 1970s’. He was supervised by Dr Joe Merton, Lecturer in Twentieth Century History.
Alex said, ‘I really enjoyed researching this dissertation because it allowed me to combine my interest in sport with historical research and led me to fascinating insights about the evolution of both activism by African-American athletes after 1968 and the nature of African-American politics in the same period. I'm shocked and delighted to have won the prize, and would like to thank the British Society of Sports History judges, my supervisor Joe Merton for the nomination and his help throughout the year, as well as my friends and family for their support during the process.’
To read Alex's paper, click here.
The judging panel would like to express their congratulations to Alex, and their thanks to all supervisors who submitted students’ work for the prize. Details of the 2020 prize will be publicised early next year and we hope to have another strong selection of papers to review.
Sidelines, touchlines and hemlines: Women in Irish Sport (call for papers)
County Museum Dundalk, Jocelyn St, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Rep. Of Ireland.
Friday 28th February 2020
We invite paper submissions from across the disciplinary spectrum for a conference on Sidelines, touchlines and hemlines: Women in Irish Sport. This is an open themed conference. Submissions based on original research are welcomed from scholars of any disciplines related to Irish women in any aspect (including participation, administration, promotion or journalism) of sport or physical recreation in Ireland or overseas.
Keynote speakers (to-date):
Dr Katie Liston, Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute, Ulster University.
Individual or joint presentations of 20-minutes.
Abstracts of 250 words, including:
Full title: as it will appear in the conference programme
Outline of the context; identification of core themes/argument of the paper and broad theoretical and/or methodological approach adopted as appropriate; significance of the research
Also include your preferred title/name; affiliation; email address and short biography of 50 words.
Abstract submission deadline: 15th January 2019
It is hoped that the final proceedings will form the basis of a special edition of the Studies in Arts and Humanities journal to continue the discussion women’s sport in Ireland and the need for further research in this area.
Abstracts must be emailed directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
The winner of the Lord Aberdare Literary Prize for 2018 (awarded 2019) was Dr Richard Mills, for his book The Politics of Football in Yugoslavia: Sport, Nationalism and the State. We look forward to having Dr Mills give a keynote lecture at our 2020 conference at St Mary's University, Twickenham.
Shortlisted works (in alphabetical order):
Chris Bolsmann & Dilwyn Porter, English Gentlemen and World Soccer. Corinithians, Amateurism and the Global Game (Routledge, 2018).
Jeffrey Hill, Learie Constantine and Race Relations in Britain and the Empire (Bloomsbury, 2018).
Mike Huggins, Horse Racing and British Society in the Long Eighteenth Century (Boydell, 2018).
Benjamin Litherland, Wrestling in Britain, Sporting Entertainments, Celebrity and Audiences (Routledge, 2018).
Adam McKie, Women at the Wicket. A History of Women's Cricket in Interwar England (ACS Publications, 2018).
Richard Mills, The Politics of Football in Yugoslavia: Sport, Nationalism and the State (Tauris/Bloomsbury, 2018)
Mike O’Mahoney, Photography and Sport (Reaktion, 2018).
Sarah Hardstaff (@SarahHardstaff) received an ECR research grant to further her research project, 'Identity, Representation and Coming-of-Age in Football Fiction for Children'. Read all about it below!
Some years ago, before I became a researcher, I spent a day at the National Football Museum in Manchester. In the bookshop, I picked up Dan Lyndon’s biography of Walter Tull, one of the first black officers in the British Army and a professional footballer. I continued to look out for similar books throughout my PhD in children’s literature with the hope of one day carrying out a project on football books for young people.
Without wanting to perpetuate stereotypes about superstitious football fans, it really does feel like the stars have started to align for this project over the past few months. For example, I was lucky enough to see Dean Atta read from his new coming-of-age verse novel, The Black Flamingo, at the REIYL conference in Glasgow in August. The Black Flamingo references football in several poems, exploring issues of race, gender and sexuality in the beautiful game and society at large.
Then in September, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education released their findings that of all the children’s books published in 2018, only 7% featured a black or ethnic minority character (see ‘Reflecting Realities’: https://clpe.org.uk/library-and-resources/research/reflecting-realities-survey-ethnic-representation-within-uk-children). The equivalent figure for my growing collection of football books for children from the last twenty years is closer to 100%. What might these books contribute to discussions about diversity, representation and identity in children’s literature?
Thanks to the BSSH’s support, I’m one step closer to answering this question. I was able to spend a day at the National Football Museum’s archives in Preston, receiving a warm welcome from Peter Holme and Dr Alex Jackson. The archive’s many treasures include novels, poetry collections, annuals, magazines, non-fiction and product tie-ins. From the broad range of media and genres I looked at, spanning the 1800s to the present day, emerged a surprisingly persistent set of storylines and themes in common, such as mystery and detective tropes, barriers to participation (injuries, social class, gender) and, increasingly in the later texts, football as a rags-to-riches profession.
Having the opportunity to explore these materials has helped give me a sense of the historical context and continuity of football books, as well as a greater appreciation of how much the footballing world and its culture have changed over the past twenty years, especially for female players and fans. This was an immensely valuable research trip and I’m now more excited than ever about the next steps of the project.