In October and November 2021, the United Kingdom will host the sixteenth Rugby League World Cup tournament, with 21 different nations participating in elite men’s, women’s, and wheelchair competitions. It will be one of the first major international sporting events to be staged since the global Covid-19 crisis and will play an important role in shaping the future of international sporting events. In collaboration with event organisers, this conference is being held alongside the World Cup to celebrate the power of sport to bring communities and nations together, to critically reflect on the impact of the pandemic on sport and society, and to consider the position of sporting events in a world that will continue to be shaped by pandemic.
Since the first modern Olympics in 1896, major sporting events have played a pivotal role in the development of sport as a global phenomenon. These events have also shaped and been shaped by broader forces like wars, colonialism and its aftermaths, health crises and other significant historical events. They are some of the most watched media spectacles, creating sporting stars and icons and fond memories for fans and spectators. But there remain ongoing questions about the economic, social and environmental impact on local and national communities, and the responsibilities of providing meaningful benefits for host cities and countries.
This joint conference, hosted by the University of Huddersfield School of Music Humanities and Media, Heritage Quay and RL Cares, aims to bring together scholars from around the world to present their research on the futures and legacies of major international sporting events, their role in the wider sporting and cultural fields, and their relationship to wider politics and society. In particular, the conference provides an opportunity to examine how we interact and engage with sporting events and their environments in a world that is still experiencing the pandemic, and how this might influence future events.
The organisers invite proposals for 20-minute papers that include but are not limited to:
- Histories and legacies of world cups and major international sporting events, particularly in times of crisis and recovery.
- Future directions for sports and international event research during and after the pandemic, including the opportunities and responsibilities elite sport will play in rebuilding social, cultural, and economic life.
- Broadcasting, documenting, and recording events, focusing on archives, material culture, museums, and exhibitions.
- The relationship between international sporting events, sporting bodies and fans, spectators and local communities.
- The importance of accessibility and inclusivity in international sport, particularly in relation to the women’s, wheelchair and physical disability world cup and sporting tournaments.
Proposals for three-paper panels are also welcome. Please send a 300-word abstract by 30th June to Dr Rob Light, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organisers: Dr Ben Litherland, Dr Claire McCalmey, David Smith and Dr Rob Light.