On Thursday 5th of June our team sheet included the names Dr Chris Stride and Dr Jean Williams, as they talked us through their inspiring academic research.
First up was Dr Chris Stride a statistician-cum-academic from the University of Sheffield, who has spent the past four years (along with colleagues Ffion Thomas and John Wilson) compiling a database of all the sporting statues around the world.
Chris took us around the world in eight footballing statues, and explained what the statues might say about the society that erected them; they can help to re-affirm a club’s identity (something sports marketing have been keen to exploit), but more than this they represent civic identity and art history.
The project has collected information on over 1,000 statues from all over the world, and though they’re sure there must be a few they aren’t aware of, you won’t find a more comprehensive and intriguing database anywhere.
We’ll never look at a statue in the same way again.
You can see the full database and the various publications the team have written on the subject here: From Pitch to Plinth
And follow on Twitter here: @SportingStatues
DMU’s Dr Jean Williams, kicked off the second half, talking us through the history of the World Cup poster, explaining how they provide an interesting insight into the growth of the game itself.
Jean has been amazingly busy in the build up to the World Cup this year, curating the National Football Museum’s History of the World Cup in 24 Objects (along with another FOFI speaker David Goldblatt) and organising a series of lectures entitled ‘Road to Rio’, both led by the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University.
As far as FOFI is concerned Jean Williams is the quintessential voice for football in the build up to the World Cup and you should really try to keep tabs on what she’s up to. It’s sure to be brilliant!
To see the History of the World Cup in 24 Objects exhibition online, click here: History of the World Cup in 24 Objects
To keep up to date with all Jean’s excellent work, including books she’s written, follow her on Twitter here: @JeanMWilliams
Brain muscles well and truly flexed we all retired to the communal bath (or pub, as it’s sometimes referred to), to carry on the discussion.