#ASSH2013 Three Days in Canberra

Sporting Traditions XIX is taking place in Canberra this week.


Sport historians have converged on Canberra to discuss a range of topics around the overall theme of A New History for A New Century?

Day 1 was held at the University of Canberra in the INSPIRE Centre. Senator Kate Lundy opened the Conference.


On Day 2, the Conference moved to the BAE Systems Theatre at the Australian War Memorial.


The day ended with the Conference Dinner at Manuka Oval. The after dinner speaker was long-time ASSH member and Centenary of Canberra History Adviser, David Headon.

Day 3 of the Conference will be held at the Australian Institute of Sport.


The Conference is part of the celebration of Canberra’s Centenary. The idea of having three venues was to share with delegates some of Canberra’s iconic attractions. All three venues were chosen to reflect a sub theme within the overall Conference theme of finding ways to share sports history with new audiences, particularly young people.

Information about the program and a copy of the Conference abstracts can be found here.

Photo Credits

INSPIRE at the University of Canberra (Rowan Peter, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Australian War Memorial ( Caroline Ramsden, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Acrobats (Edgar Crook, CC BY-NC 2.0)


Missing in Action: #ASSH2013 A Welcome to Sporting Traditions XIX

dscf7409I am unable to attend the Opening Day of Sporting Traditions XIX Conference in Canberra.

My colleagues Bruce Coe and Robin Poke have been remarkable in covering for my absence from the Organising Committee in recent weeks.

My NISS colleague Stuart Semple will speak on my behalf at the Opening Ceremony.

This what I had hoped to say.

Opening Remarks


Good morning and welcome.

I apologise for my absence today.

I am very grateful to Stuart for speaking on my behalf.

Two years ago, I was delighted when Bruce and Robin suggest we commit to hosting Sporting Traditions XIX in Canberra to celebrate the city’s centenary.

From the outset I was keen to link the Conference to a discussion about the forms sport narratives take. The theme of the Conference was chosen modestly but with considerable passion … A New History for a New Century? We did insert a question mark as an invitation to explore the theme.

My admiration for ASSH’s work has transformed my own practice. Supervising Bruce Coe and Robin Poke has given me a wonderful opportunity to engage in Socratic-like conversations about the forms sport history takes.

I have tried to share my interest in the possibilities of digital forms of narrative with Bruce and Robin. My paper at this Conference on Produsing Narratives is intended to be a contribution to what is a delightful and challenging Day 1 at Sporting Traditions XIX.

My hope is that by exploring and engaging with digital forms we can share a New History with students, researchers and readers stimulated to explore sports history.

My thinking has been transformed by a remarkable innovation shared by John Branch’s New York Times’ story, Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek.

John Branch is a sports journalist. He won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for the story.

Snow Fall is an interactive story that offers readers a multimedia digital experience. It has images, video, maps, moving explainer graphics and image slideshows. The main story is presented in chapter-style stages. Readers can choose whether or not to click on video and slideshows to explore the content further.

My hope was that I would be able to support the three days of the Conference with a range of digital alerts and open sharing.

If you are on Twitter I hope you will see tweets about #assh2013 throughout the three days of the Conference.

If I do manage to rejoin you for Thursday and Friday I hope we can converse about these issues.

I am delighted to say there is nothing new in this argument! In his discussion of the Republic of Letters, Tim Kastelle observes:

The fundamentals of innovative thought haven’t changed since the 18th Century – it’s always been aggregate, filter and connect. The great thinkers of earlier times corresponded extensively because it helped them aggregate information from a wide variety of disciplines and sources. Once they did this, they had to be skilled at filtering the data to figure out what was useful, and then they had to connect up the filtered data to create innovative ideas.

I do think the INSPIRE Centre at the University of Canberra is a perfect venue to engage with the 21st century forms the 18th century practices have taken.

Welcome to you all ex absentia.

Photo Credit

Mapping the Republic of Letters