Call For Papers | British Society of Sports History Annual Conference | St Mary’s University, Twickenham, August 26–27, 2021. Call ends May 17, 2021

This is an open themed conference. Submissions based on original research are welcomed from UK and overseas scholars and can relate to any aspect of sport, physical recreation, education and culture, as considered from an historical perspective. Please note that we intend to host the conference in person. Plans are, however, subject to changing guidelines issued by UK / English government. Should we be forced to modify plans we will keep attendees apprised of these modifications.

Keynote speakers

      • Dr Richard Mills (University of East Anglia)
        2019 Lord Aberdare Prize Winner.
      • Dr Claire Warden (Loughborough University)
        Sir Derek Birley Memorial Lecture.

Abstract submission

Abstracts are accepted as follows

      • Individual: a single abstract from an individual/co-researchers for 20-minute presentations.
        • Proposed panel: a set of abstracts (ideally 3, or 4 maximum) submitted by a representative for a group of individuals/co-researchers examining a single topic or theme (session 90mins, including c.30 minutes questions/discussion).

Abstracts should be c.200 words, including

      • Full title: as it will appear in the conference programme.
        • Outline of the context and/or academic literature informing the research as appropriate; 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 (c.50 words).

Abstract submission deadline: Monday 17th May 2021. Abstracts must be emailed directly to Dr Charles Little of St Mary’s University at . Please include your own name within the subject line of the email.

BSSH Doctoral and Early Career Research Workshop

The British Society of Sport History invites submissions for a pre-conference workshop in St Mary’s University, Twickenham on Wednesday 25th August, directly preceding BSSH’s 2021 annual conference. Open to PhD students and early career researchers who have submitted a paper to the main conference and who are interested in meeting with peers, presenting their work, and receiving peer review, the Workshop serves as a dedicated research forum. We hope, in particular, to present the work of a number of scholars who are new to the BSSH annual meeting.

In order to ensure useful peer review process, the workshop is limited to ten spaces. In addition to the submission of a full conference abstract, interested applicants must send a 2,000-word paper (a section from a chapter, proposed article etc.), or general overview of their research project, to Katie Taylor at Monday 17th May 2021. P.hD and ECR applicants are reminded that registration fees are not charged for them to present at the BSSH. Katie will be happy to answer any questions you may have about this event.

At the workshop, participants will present a ten-minute overview of their submitted proposal before receiving peer feedback. Each participant will be required to read five participant’s papers so that group reviews can be given. The workshop offers an excellent opportunity for P.hD. students and ECRs to receive feedback on their work while also encouraging and helping other’s work.

Conference information


Registration will open shortly via the St Mary’s University online store. Members will be informed when this is available.


      • Full delegate: £120 for both days / £70 for one day.
      • Retired/unwaged £70 for both days / £40 for one day.
      • Postgrads & ECRs presenting: Free.

BSSH will pay the conference fee for presenters who are students or within 3 years of completing a PhD who do not hold a full-time academic post.

Please note all presenters must be BSSH members. Membership can be taken up at the time of registration (£40 full membership / £20 concession). To join please visit

Conference Dinner

A conference dinner will be held in the Waldegrave Suite at St Mary’s on the evening of Thursday the 26th of August. The cost for this will be £45 per person.


On-campus accommodation is available at St Mary’s University for the nights of the 25th and 26th of August. These are single en-suite rooms in student accommodation and will cost £60 per night (including breakfast).

Please note that these rooms are available for these two nights only, and cannot be booked for a longer stay.

If you wish to make a longer stay in London (perhaps utilising the bank holiday long weekend immediately following the conference), or if you are considering bringing family or friends with you, we suggest the following options:

      • The Alexander Pope Hotel is the nearest hotel to the campus – just an 8-minute walk away (
      • There are Travelodges nearby in Twickenham and Teddington, both of which are a 20-minute walk from St Mary’s. There is also a bus from Teddington that stops outside the campus.
      • If you’d prefer to stay in Central London, you can reach St Mary’s by train from London Waterloo station. Trains take 35 minutes to reach Strawberry Hill station from Waterloo and run every half an hour.

Childcare Bursaries

This year, the BSSH is also trialling the offer of a small number of bursaries of up to £100 to contribute towards the costs of childcare, or other caring responsibilities. These are open to those wishing to present and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you would like more details, please contact BSSH Vice Chair, Dr Conor Heffernan (

BSSH Conference Prizes 2021

If you wish to be considered for either of the below prizes, please indicate this when you submit your paper abstract.

Richard Cox Postgraduate Prize

This prize is awarded for the most promising work submitted by a new researcher in sports history. To be eligible, authors should be engaged in full time or part-time postgraduate research or be within 1 year of completing their research degree. Co-authored papers will not be considered.

The winning paper will be awarded £200, and the researcher will be invited to submit their paper to the Society’s peer-reviewed journal Sport in History.

Prize for Best Paper on Sporting Inequalities

Recognising the need to encourage research in new areas of sports history, the British Society of Sports History Committee are establishing a new prize to reward outstanding work in one of the following under-researched areas:

      • Sport and black / ethnic minorities.
      • Sport and LGBTQ communities.
      • Women and sport.
      • Disability sport.

Papers should be largely focused on the British context. Academics at all career stages are encouraged to apply. Postgraduates are eligible but may not apply if they are also under consideration for the Richard Cox Postgraduate Prize.

The winning paper will be awarded £200, and the researcher will be invited to submit their paper to the Society’s peer-reviewed journal Sport in History.

The Assessment Process for the Prizes

The written paper must be submitted to the conference organisers a month prior to the first day of the annual conference. A panel of judges will be selected by the BSSH Committee which will assess both the content of the papers under consideration and the presentation.


While we encourage the submission of different kinds of papers, to be eligible for a prize, papers must be a maximum of 6,000 words. Style should be consistent throughout, i.e footnotes where appropriate, and a separate list of references. Papers should be no smaller than size 12 Times New Roman and 1.5 or double spacing. Name and contact details of author, paper title, and a short abstract with keywords must also be included on a separate page (please follow Sport in History conventions).

Award of the Prizes

The winner of both Prizes will be announced during the conference.

Any questions concerning the Prizes should be sent to BSSH Vice-Chair, Dr Conor Heffernan (

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