September 2018 newsletter

A little hello from the PSA Parliaments Group team! We hope you had a nice and relaxing summer break and ready to start the term. In our September edition of our newsletter, we have a number of items, including:

  1. Our Conference – deadline passed
  2. Essay Competition – Winners!
  3. #PSA19 – general call for papers OPEN
  4. #PSA19 – specific calls for papers: e-petitions and party competition
  5. Event: Parliamentary Lawyers in the UK (Belfast)
  6. Event: Conference on parliamentary broadcasting
  7. JOB ALERT: Research Associate, Designing for Democracy
  8. Congrats to co-convener + new email address
  9. Request for blogs
  10. Recently on our blog

If you have any notices / messages you would like us to circulate to the group, please let us know (including events, new research projects, grants, publications, etc.). Or other ideas for the group and feedback for us, they’re welcome too!

Best wishes,
Marc (@marcgeddes), Louise (@LouiseVThompson) Alex (@A_Meakin) and Seán (@S_Haughey)

1. Our Conference – deadline passed

Just to note to anyone interested: we have received a lot of abstracts (slightly more than anticipated) and will now undertake a shortlisting process. We will aim to get back to anyone that has submitted an abstract as soon as possible, and by next week at the latest. Please look out for an email.

Thanks to all that have submitted something – clearly there is a lot of interest in studying, researching and analysing parliaments!

In the meantime, if you know that you want to attend the conference, please put the dates in your diary: 08-09 November, Belfast.

You can find all the information about our conference on our website – here.

Any questions, please get in touch with Marc:

2. Essay competition – results

We are pleased to announce the winner of our essay competition this year: Mercy Murugi Muroki from QMUL (nominated by Philip Cowley and Daniel Gover), with Katie Power from Surrey (nominated by Louise Thompson) as the runner-up. Read Mercy and Katie’s winning essays. They will receive their certificates at our conference in autumn.

All of the essays were judged by a panel of senior academics and clerks: Michael Rush (Emeritus Professor of Politics at the University of Exeter), Cristina Leston-Bandeira (Professor of Politics at the University of Leeds) and Martyn Atkins (clerk in the House of Commons). In particular, the panel described it as ‘an original, clear and compelling piece of work’, with excellent primary research demonstrated throughout.

We would like to thank everyone that took part, and especially for the judging panel who gave up their time to read through all the entries we received this year.

And an extra special thank you to Michael Rush, who has been chairing the competition for a number of years. He has indicated that this was his last time as chair of the competition. We are hugely grateful for all the work that Michael has done to support this initiative.

We are looking forward to holding this competition again next year, so please do look for a call in the autumn and spread the message far and wide! If you had any ideas about how to improve the competition, please get in touch.

3. #PSA19 – Call for Papers now OPEN

The PSA has announced details of the 2019 Annual Conference, which will take place between 15 and 17 April in Nottingham (Nottingham Conference Centre, Nottingham Trent University). As always, we hope to put panels forward from our group to build on the great success of last year’s conference in Cardiff!

If you are interested in presenting an individual paper as part of one of our group panels, please complete a Paper Proposal Form, with an abstract of not more than 250 words by Monday, 15 October. If you would like to put together a panel for the conference, please complete a Panel Proposal Form by the same deadline. We will be in touch within a week of this deadline to notify you if your paper/panel has been successful.

The call is open to all members of the group. There are no panel themes, so all paper and panel proposals are welcome. Postgraduate students are encouraged to apply. Those who wish to present would be eligible to apply to the PSA Postgraduate Access Fund for financial support to attend the conference. Last year we also had a number of practitioner panels – we welcome and want to continue this trend!

We had a really successful 2018 conference, with more papers and panels than before. So we look forward to hearing from you to make 2019 even bigger and better!

4. #PSA19 – Specific Call for Papers

We have received TWO requests from members for interest in joint panels, which we are happy to advertise here:

1. E-Petitions and New Forms of Engagement

Driven by a desire to increase participation and improve trust in the institutions of representative democracy, parliaments throughout the world are experimenting with new ways of engaging the public.  One such innovation is public petition, which – to varying degrees – enable members of the public to directly influence the legislative agenda.  This themed session seeks to bring colleagues together to explore the intentions, effects and (sometimes unintended) consequences of petitioning in terms of public engagement, legislative influence and policy impact.  If you are interested in presenting a paper, please submit a short abstract of no more than 200 words to Felicity Matthews at the University of Sheffield ( by 08 October 2018. The proposal for the themed session will then be submitted to the convenors of the Parliaments Group for full consideration.

2. New Dynamics of National and Transnational Party Competition in Europe

This JOINT CfP is organised by Greek Politics, Nordic Politics, Italian Politics, French Politics, German Politics, and Parliaments Specialist Groups to explore the changing dynamics of party competition and consequences for institutions (including parliaments). If interested, please see the full CfP HERE.

5. Event: Parliamentary Lawyers in the UK

Seminar Title: The Least Unified Branch? Searching for the Client and the Client’s Interest in the Legislature

Seminar Speaker: Dr Ben Yong – Lecturer in Law at the University of Hull & Honorary Research Associate at the Constitution Unit (UCL)

Seminar Details: Dr Yong will discuss his findings as the Principal Investigator on a Leverhulme Trust Funded Project (Legal Advice to Legislatures – Supporting a Professionalising Legislature). His seminar will traverse the provision of legal advice to all 4 UK legislatures.

Date, Time & Venue: 8 November 2018; 4-5pm; the Senate Room at the Queen’s University of Belfast, BT7 1NN.

Registration is free but must be completed in advance via the following Eventbrite link.

Any questions about this event can be directed to Mr Conor McCormick, who is a Lecturer in the School of Law at the Queen’s University of Belfast:

6. Event: Conference on parliamentary broadcasting

As part of a conference next February on parliamentary communications a session is currently pencilled in to take place on parliamentary broadcasting. The Media Relations Office of the House of Commons would be interested in hearing from anyone with academic expertise in this area with a view to potentially speaking at the conference, or providing links to academic research in this area.

If you would like to get in touch, please email Alasdair Rendall at:

7. JOB ALERT: Research Associate, Designing for Democracy

Are you interested in working for an ambitious and friendly Department where you will have an opportunity to work on a really exciting research project?

The Joseph Rowntree funded project ‘Designing for Democracy’ is led by Professor Matt Flinders and focuses on the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. The project aims to use this multi-billion pound project to develop a design-orientated approach to political science that can, in turn, explore fresh questions about democratic design, innovation and renewal.

Candidates will be expected to have a PhD or equivalent experience and be a specialist in parliamentary politics, legislative studies, British politics or a cognate field.

For further information on this exciting opportunity, please click here

8. Congratulations to co-convener (plus new email address)!

Our co-convener, Louise Thompson, has moved from the University of Surrey to the University of Manchester to take up the role of Senior Lecturer (congratulations on her promotion!).

As part of the move, her email address has changed, which we thought might be useful for you to know. In future, please contact Louise using the following address:

Please update your address books accordingly! 🙂

9. Request for blogs

Our PSA Parliaments blog is looking for posts for September and October. Do you have a new publication you want to discuss? Or wish to share expert opinion on current parliaments/legislatures issues? Our blog is open to academics at all levels (including MA/PhD students), as well as practitioners working in parliaments and legislatures, and we’d love to hear from you. Contact our Communications Officer Alexandra Meakin on for our blog guidelines or for more information.

10. Recently on the blog


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