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Knowing the Score conference to explore music and sport links


Experts in music and sport will discuss the dynamic and creative relationship between these fields at the Leeds Beckett University hosted, Knowing the Score conference at The Emerald Headingley Stadium on 26 June.

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From team songs sung after a match to Arthur Honegger’s 1928 ‘Rugby’ symphonic movement, from terrace chants to Neil Hannon’s ‘Duckworth-Lewis Method’ concept album, sport and music have always been inextricably linked. Both produce moments of community, transcendence, and emotional resonance and both are vital components of the past, present and future of modern culture.

As part of the conference, a brand-new song commission prize has been launched.

Open to any UK resident, entries can come in any musical style or discipline but must feature lyrics featuring a narrative about sport. The song commission includes a cash prize for the winning entrant plus the chance of performing winning song live at the conference.

The winning entrant will also have the opportunity to record the song within one of Leeds Beckett University’s state of the art studios with mentoring by Ken Scott, Leeds Beckett academic and legendary engineer / producer for acts such as The Beatles, David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Elton John & Supertramp.  

Leeds Beckett University Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Slee, said: “The conference coincides with our major investment in new facilities for both music and sport at the university. 

“Together with internationally renowned programmes of research and teaching this reflects our commitment to culture in its many forms in the build-up to the Leeds 2023 cultural festival.”

The conference, in partnership with the Fields of Vision sport and art network, features a diverse programme of events including academic papers investigating the links between music and sport. There will also be a new work of contemporary performance overseen by internationally renowned performance practitioner, author and academic Teresa Brayshaw.

Leeds Beckett University’s Dean of the Carnegie School of Sport, Pete Mackreth, said: “The Carnegie School of Sport has a strong commitment to interdisciplinary research and we are delighted to be working with colleagues in the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts for this conference.  The relationship between music and sport is often not recognised, and so undervalued. 

“However, music is within the fabric of sport and physical activity, with elite performers listening as part of their pre-match preparation, recreational runners listening for motivation, fans adapting music anthems to become football chants, and many us associating both success and defeat with a past World Cup or FA Cup team song.” 

Senior music lecturer, Sam Nicholls, will curate the Music & Sport Knowing the Score song commission prize through Music:Leeds, a not-for-profit organisation which aims to be a centralised point to support, develop, grow and promote music across the city of Leeds.

The conference’s keynote speaker is Anthony Clavane, Guardian columnist and award-winning and critically acclaimed writer whose previous three books - Promised Land, Does Your Rabbi Know You’re Here? and Moving The Goalposts: A Yorkshire Tragedy - have all sought to view identity through a sporting prism.

Anthony Clavane said: “The conference is a unique opportunity to view sport through the prism of music. These, to many, have been the two most important forms of popular culture of the past 50 years. They engage, entertain and provide a lens through which to understand contemporary Britain and its place in the world.”

Doug Sandle, Founding Chair of Fields of Vision – the arts in sport said: "The music and sport conference is another contribution by Fields of Vision to the arts in sport, a national  group of researchers, academics, artists, sports people and those interested in  bringing the arts and sport together. Fields of Vision is delighted once again to be in partnership with Leeds Beckett University for what promises to be a very significant and enjoyable event."

The Music & Sport Knowing the Score Conference will take place between 09:30 and 17:15 on Wednesday 26 June in the Lewis Jones Suite at The Emerald Headingley Stadium.

Further conference information please visit the university’s online store.

Tickets are priced £20 and £25.

The Music & Sport ‘Knowing the Score’ conference call for papers terms and conditions is here

The Knowing the Score conference song writing commission terms and conditions are here

The conference is part of Leeds Beckett University’s Beyond series of cultural events and exhibitions between April and June.

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