In October I had the privilege of being invited to speak at the ‘Equine Cultures in Transition’ International Conference at Södertörn University, Stockholm, Sweden and I have to say I have never been to a conference quite like it. The venue was luxurious and historic and the catering and organisation were both second to none, remarkable in itself but what really set this conference apart was the truly inderdisciplinary nature of the symposium. Who new that horses could form a part of really high level research in disciplines as diverse as sociology, sociological anthropology, photography, choreography, law and gender studies? The common ground with all the participants was a love and appreciation of the horse and its unique place in contemporary society but the quality of the research and the effort put into designing these studies and mining the corpora of data was inspiring. Many thanks to Mari Zetterqvist Blokhuis and the team for putting that on. I know they are looking for an institution to take this forward next year so if you are interested please do contact Mari at Södertörn. Participants and speakers came from Canada, the US, Brazil, Australia, the UK, Norway, Sweden and Finland to name a few and the networking opportunities were unmatched if you research with horses. Many thanks as well to the Equine Research Network (EqRN) for making us all aware of the conference. You can find them on Facebook as well as the web. I also discovered the Equestrian Social Science Group through the conference, well worth joining.
Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised I used the opportunity to present a paper which had a ‘pop’ at the slavish adherence to ‘strict liability’ in integrity regulations in horse sport. A conference paper in similar vein I gave in 2015 was picked up by a US publishing house who have asked me to submit a book proposal based on my PhD thesis so hopefully my ideas will make it out to a wider audience before too long.
At De Montfort University we are hosting a conference on 11th April 2017 – ‘Horses, Society and the Law: Past, Present and Future’, the call for papers is out and again we aim to make this conference as multi-disciplinary as possible because so many disciplines intersect with the law and shape it. this is an extract from the call:
Horses may appear to be an anachronistic part of 21st century, mechanised society. But in fact, horses continue to contribute significantly to national economies as well as playing an integral role across many sectors of society, and in so doing are both influenced by and influence the content of the law. This symposium explores the relationship of horses, society and the law across many positions, including, for instance, the use of horses in the rehabilitation of juvenile and adult criminal offenders, the role of the horse in national identity, modern popular culture and cultural heritage, in sport, and in leisure and recreation activities, and in the preservation of public access to bridle paths and other green common areas….
Confirmed keynote speakers include Sophie Wells, OBE (Para – equestrian gold medallist at London and Rio Paralympics) and Dr Georgina Crossman (LOCOG member of staff and National Technical Official at the Rio Paralympics). Contact the conference administrator, Katie Scott on firstname.lastname@example.org or my co-convenor Dr Sarah Sargent at Sarah.Sargent@buckingham.ac.uk for queries on content.