‘Gwlad, Gwlad: Sport, More Than a Game’ - Wales football manager to headline Swansea conference on sport and identity

A unique and world-class team of sports stars, clubs, speakers and panellists will gather at Swansea University on Thursday, April 14, for a one-day conference on how sport reflects our identity.

Welsh flagAhead of Euro 2016, Wales football manager Chris Coleman will join Keith Wood, W2 Consulting, broadcaster and former Irish Rugby International, and representatives from Barcelona FC, Swansea City FC, Munster RFC, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), the Scottish FA, the Danish Super League, and sportsmen and women, managers, administrators, academics, and fans to discuss how identity impacts how people see us and how we see ourselves.

The ‘Gwlad, Gwlad: Sport, More Than a Game’ conference, which takes place in the Taliesin Arts Centre at the University’s Singleton Park Campus, is organised by the School of Management in partnership with the University’s European Institute of Identities and International Dynamic Destinations, Populous Architects, W2 Consulting, and Edwards Holidays.

Through case studies and panel discussions, the conference, chaired by Professor Laura McAllister, Chair of Sport Wales, will explore and discuss the relationship between sport, sports teams, and the ‘fields of dreams’ stadia that accommodate these teams, with the identities, branding and positioning of their host cities, regions and nations.

It will also recognise that sport, especially team sports, amount to nothing unless there is the full participation and commitment of the fans.

One of the academics leading the conference, Dr Alan Sandry of Swansea University’s European Institute of Identities, said: “Our conference title, ‘Gwlad, Gwlad’, is a segment from Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, the Welsh national anthem.  With its follow up line, “Pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad”, the singer professes their faithfulness to their country.  This allegiance, in public form, is fundamental to the notion of national representation; identity at its pinnacle, one could argue.

“Equally, however, on a more localised scale, we also witness participants and fans showing ‘fanatical’ support for their village, town, city or regional teams, and their respective identities. Thus, we can trace a multi-layered effect.

“With that as a backdrop, some key questions arise about the social, cultural, political and economic conditions in which each and every one of us, as sports activists and practitioners, find ourselves: How can we nurture, and maintain, sporting, and community, relationships that bind us closer together?

“The ‘Gwlad, Gwlad: Sport, More Than a Game’ conference will offer a platform for discussions, conversations and networking. We will all learn a bit more about our favourite sport, and find out some interesting facts, or hear some forthright opinions, on lesser known sports.”

Professor Terry Stevens, Conference Director, said: “The School of Management is keen to explore all aspects of the way in which the business of sport impacts on our lives.

“Sport and our sports teams are vitally important in shaping our local and national identities; they are major factors in the way the world sees us and the way we see ourselves.  Sporting success is generally associated with an uplift in civic pride, consumer expenditure as well as heightened levels of tourist and investor awareness.

“Our objective in hosting this conference is to open up these ideas and discussions with the whole community. As a result, we are pleased to make this free of charge to anyone interested in attending.”

The conference, which will take place from 9am until 16:30pm, is open to all and entrance is free of charge. Donations to Sport Relief 2016 will be accepted on the day.

Free tickets for the conference can be booked through the Taliesin Arts Centre Box Office, Tel: 01792 602060. The Box Office is open Monday – Friday from 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 1pm and 1.30pm – 4pm and on performance evenings until late, or alternatively online via the website here. 

For more information on Swansea University’s School of Management click here.