This page has been put together with independent researches into sports history in mind. It aims to help you find ways to share your research and to make you aware of grants and awards open to independent researchers. If you have ideas for information to add to this page, please do get in touch with Katie Holmes, the Independent Researcher Representative for the British Society of Sports History. 

For a list of resources to help you pursue your research, see here.

The Society has lots of members who are independent researchers. They include people who are researching sports history because of a personal interest or family connection, and people who have worked or studied at universities in the past. 

Getting Published 

Playing Pasts describes itself as "the online magazine for sport and leisure history." It accepts contributions from as wide a range of sources as possible, including independent researchers. The only stipulation is that contributions touch on some aspect of sport or leisure history. Articles can be submitted here:

The British Society of Sports History has a partnership with Playing Pasts, and we encourage our members to publish there. You can have a look at over 150 articles published by members, many of them independent researchers, here:

Guest articles or blog posts on websites relevant to your research can be a good way of reaching a wider audience. 

Sport in History is the official peer-reviewed journal of the British Society of Sports History. It publishes original, peer-reviewed research on the history of sport, leisure and recreation. Members of the society receive the journal as part of their membership. Sport in History welcomes submission of articles by independent researchers. 


Presenting at a conference is an excellent way of sharing your research, making connections, and becoming part of a community of sports historians. 

The British Society of Sports History's annual conference is held in August. There is a wide range of presentations by independent researchers as well as by academics. Presentations are typically 15 or 20 minutes long with time for questions afterwards.

The International Football History Conference - covering 'football' in its widest sense - is held annually and independent researchers are always welcome. 

Grants and Prizes Open to Independent Researchers

Grants and prizes provide money to help with the costs of research. They also help to raise your profile as researcher and endorse the value of your research. 

Grants are often for specific purposes and may have restrictions on how they can be spent, for example, on travel and hotel costs related to your research, but not on meals. 

Prizes generally come with a cash award which the recipient may use as they see fit. 

Although many grants and prizes are restricted to academic researchers, there are some which are open to independent researchers. Some of the British Society of Sports History's prizes and grants are open to independent researchers. You have to be a members of the Society to apply for these. See: Research Prizes and Funding for Research and Events

Sports history often crosses over with other disciplines and it's worth looking at grants or prizes that may be available from other societies. For example, the Women's History Network makes annual grants to independent researchers working on women's history outside of academia. 

Membership of the British Society of Sports History 

We aim to be an inclusive and friendly society. When we surveyed members in 2023, independent researchers told us that they valued being part of a wider community with similar research interests and feeling connected and aware of what's going on in sports history research. 

If you aren't a member of the British Society of Sports History, please do consider joining us. Membership gives you free access to our quarterly journal, Sport in History, and reduced registration costs for our annual conference. 

Membership of Other Societies 

One of the problems that independent researchers often encounter is a feeling of isolation. Fortunately, there are numerous societies where you can find fellowship and expertise. Some, such as the Cricket Society, publish their own bulletins and journals and these welcome contributions from members on historical themes. 

Local history societies are also useful in this respect, and many provide further outlets for publications. Check with your local library or record office or the website of the British Association for Local History:

For a list of resources to help you pursue your research, see here

Please do get in touch if you have any feedback or ideas for information to add to this list or if you would like to know more about the British Society of Sport History. 

Katie Holmes, 

Independent Researcher Representative on the Board of Trustees