A former Olympic swimmer and internationally-renowned human rights campaigner has been announced as keynote speaker for a major conference in Paisley.

Joanna Maranhão, who competed at four Olympic Games for Brazil, is to speak at the Leisure Studies Association Conference, which takes place at University of the West of Scotland (UWS) from 10th-12th July 2024.

A survivor of sexual abuse in sport, Joanna is now a researcher and advocate for athlete safeguarding.

She led a high profile campaign to expand Brazil’s statutes of limitation to allow survivors of childhood sexual abuse to report and seek justice, which eventually established a new law, bearing her name – Law Joanna Maranhão.

She will be part of a panel alongside Professor Louise Mansfield and Dr Robyn Smith of Brunel University, looking at rights, responsibilities and resistance in sport.

The discussion will be chaired by Dr Chloe Maclean, Lecturer in Sociology at UWS.

Joanna said she is pleased to be part of the conference: “I look forward to visiting Paisley and UWS, to discuss a subject which has become increasingly prominent in recent years, yet on which there is still scope for us to do better.”

Dr Maclean added: “I am delighted that Joanna will be part of this conference, and at the calibre of speaker that we’ve been able to attract. It is a strong line-up, and a real privilege to bring this event to UWS and Paisley.”

160 people from 30 different countries will attend the conference, with delegates arriving from as far afield as Australia and South Korea.

It will be the first time the event has taken place in Paisley since 2014.

Conference co-organiser Sandro Carnicelli, Professor of Tourism and Leisure Studies and the Deputy Director of the Centre for Culture, Sport, and Events at UWS, said: “With the opening of the new Paisley Museum just around the corner, and the ongoing growth of the town as a leisure destination, this is a very appropriate time for UWS to be hosting this conference – which has historically made a notable economic difference in host locations.”

To find out more about the LSA Conference 2024, visit: https://ccse.uws.ac.uk/lsa-welcome.

Headline image: Joanna Maranhão,

By Ricky Kelly

Main writer for Renfrewshire News

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