Burnley's former international goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis handed guest speaker role at UCLan conference

A Burnley-born former England women's footballer is the guest speaker at an upcoming women’s football conference at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Rachel Brown-Finnis
Rachel Brown-Finnis

Rachel Brown-Finnis will take part in a panel discussion as part of the Women’s Football 2020 – A Field of Dreams conference.

Former Liverpool and Everton goalkeeper Rachel, who is now a television pundit, will be joined by a variety of experts including senior staff from the Football Association and Gail Newsham, the world’s leading expert on the famous Dick, Kerr Ladies.

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The event, which is taking place at UCLan’s Preston Campus on May 27th and 28th, is being organised by the UCLan Dick, Kerr Ladies Centre for Women’s Football Studies.

UCLan’s Professor Alethea Melling MBE, who is the joint-lead of the conference, said: “The purpose of the conference is to connect the past to the present and provide a platform for shaping the future.

“The conference will be of interest to anyone involved in the playing, coaching, and organisation of the women’s game, as well as those exploring the history of Women’s Football. We will be placing a strong emphasis on the engagement and development of young people, who will be invited to share their ideas and experiences.”

During the conference, a world premier historical installation and exhibition of Dick, Kerr Ladies memorabilia will be on display, including exclusive and previously unheard stories from the players involved in the women’s game from 1917 to 1965.

There will be a first screening of Muslim Sports Woman of the Year 2019 Zuleikha Chikh and Preston North End Women’s Team junior player Lily Huskisson’s road trip around the UK, exploring the origins of the game, and uncovering the ‘hidden’ history, with some real surprises.

Coaching masterclasses will also take place during the two-day event, with special rates for volunteers, students and coaches. Stands and posters from organisations and clubs with an interest in the game will be welcome.

All proceeds from the conference will go to the UCLan Dick, Kerr Ladies Centre for Women’s Football Studies to focus research on inclusion. It will help fund junior researchers, who face financial restrictions, in contributing valuable insights into barriers faced within the women’s game.