#AIR2015: information about our sponsors

The preparations for Anglo-Iberian Relations, 1500-1850*, began around 18 months ago, when I first visited the beautiful town of Mértola in Alentejo. Our venues are booked, and our draft programme is now available.

Draft programme: http://events.history.ac.uk/event/show/13324

( * #AIR2015 is the inaugural meeting of what is planned as a biennial conference. In 2017 we aim to extend the timeframe at either end.)

We are extremely fortunate to have received generous support for this venture, and I’d like to take a moment to tell you a little more about our current sponsors. We are seeking and negotiating further sponsorship for various aspects of #AIR2015 but, in the meantime, I’d like to offer my hearty thanks to those who are already helping us launch this new conference.


First and foremost I must thank the Department of Arts and Humanities at Brunel University for their most generous support. As many of you know, conference organisation is a complex and time-consuming affair, and I would like to thank Prof. Thomas Betteridge (Head of Department) and Lisa Harris (Brunel Finance) for easing my burden. Thank you for all your support and guidance.


I would also like to thank the School of History at the University of Kent for their generous sponsorship. My co-organiser, the extremely talented and all-round-lovely-person, Valentina Caldari, is a PhD candidate in the School. Thank you, Valentina, for all your hard work during these preparations.  Your endless wisdom and wit are always appreciated.


The Municipality of Mértola has been extremely supportive of our new venture, and the town has welcomed us with open arms. A series of high-quality venues are booked for events during #AIR2015, and I thank all those involved in the preparations. Special thanks, in particular, go to João Serrão (Vice-presidente Câmara Municipal de Mértola) and his administrative team. It is a joy to work with you, and your help and generosity with your time are very much appreciated.


Me with Snr. Serrão, visiting the venue for our Conference Dinner (Mértola’s Castle). There will be a wine bar, tables set for our dinner, and entertainment a-plenty!



Some of you might be wondering where we sourced the image of Mértola used in our conference literature. This marvelous image of Mértola was taken by the talented photographer Roy Roos, and was actually the inspiration behind me first visiting the town. Roy has kindly allowed us to use the image for the conference.


If you’d like to know more about Roy Roos’ work, you can visit his website here:


He also has a Facebook page:


Think of Portugal and you often think of tiles (azulejos). They are ubiquitous – and stunning. Elizabeth Anjos has had a life-long love of Portugal’s tiles and they have become the inspiration for her work. Elizabeth produces stunning pieces of jewellery and sells them via her Etsy store, Átrio. There are a number of us who are attending #AIR2015 who are already familiar with Elizabeth’s work, and we are more than happy to advertise her wares at the event and in our conference pack. (Conference earrings or cufflinks, anyone?)


To find out more about Elizabeth and Átrio, visit her Etsy page here:


She also has a Facebook page:


If you’d like to know more about Portugal’s azulejo tradition, the following videos may be of interest.

Traditional Portuguese tiles being made by hand:

Azulejos across the country:

The amazing variety of patterns in Portuguese tiles:



Finally, I’d also like to reiterate my thanks to Porto Editoria for their generous sponsorship of our community outreach venture in Mértola. Over the last few months, students at Mértola’s school have been researching the history of relations between England and Portugal. The students have also taken part in our competition. They were asked to write an essay or create an artwork about any aspect of these relations that proved to be of particular interest to them. The entries submitted are amazing! We are still working through them all and I can tell it is going to be extremely difficult to pick winners from so many excellent pieces of work. Many thanks to all of the students who took part, and to all of the staff who have supported this venture so enthusiastically.

To learn more about Porto Editoria, see:


I do hope you can join us in Mértola! If you are unable to come to the conference, please do consider Mértola as a holiday destination. I’m certain you’ll love it…


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