Tuesday, 6 November 2007
Play the Game Conference in Iceland
Last week I attended the Play the Game conference in Rekjavik. Arriving in Iceland you are struck by the landscape – it really is like nothing you have seen before. As you leave the airport there are no trees, in fact not much of anything except beautiful rock formations topped with a dusting of snow.
The Conference itself was fantastic. Its focus was on sport, and particularly issues around good governance, but its constituency was much more diverse than many of the law conferences I often frequent, with ex professional sportspeople, well known journalists and consultants mingling with academics from fields as diverse as economics, physical education, law and marketing.
It really was the sort of conferences that all conferences should aspire to. As my friend and colleague, Steve Greenfield, put it; ‘if Carlsberg did conferences they would be like this’ – fitting given that playthegame is an initiative founded by three main sports organisations from Denmark and supported by the Danish Government. Details of playthegame can be found below:
The fact that the conference was important and accorded some gravitas was seen by the fact that the President of Iceland opened the conference and speakers were of the caliber of Dick Pound from WADA, Sunday Times journalist David Walsh, author Andrew Jennings and recently retired professional footballer Shaka Hislop amongst others. Details of the speakers and some of the papers are available on the website.
The days were long – starting at 8.15 and finishing at 10.00 at night, and even then there was the option of a worthy sport related film to watch! A particularly innovative idea was to get student journalists to run a parallel website called the pulse. This included videoed interviews with participants at the conference, an interactive section where attendees at the conference and beyond were able to post comments and responses and other great ideas that made the conference truly interactive and made you really feel part of the conference. See http://www.thepulse2007.org/ to get an idea of this.
Finally, as all academics know, the mark of a good conference is in its freebies, usually a T shirt or perhaps a bag. Unsurprisingly, playthegame trumped this with a superb Cintamani jacket, seen above sported by the organiser and Director of playthegame, Jens Sejer Andersen at a windy, wet and cold Gulfloss on the conference outing (thanks to conference photographer Niels Nyholm for the photo). See http://www.cintamani.is/ if you too want to look like this!
I will return to some of the issues raised at this conference in later posts, but suffice to say it provided much food for thought and lots of potential and possibilities...