Conference recap: Making Sense of Parliaments

A recap of the PSA Parliaments annual conference Making Sense of Parliaments, held at the Parliament Buildings, Belfast, on 8-9 November 2018.

On 8-9 November the Northern Ireland Assembly hosted the PSA Parliaments 2018 Annual Conference: Making Sense of Parliaments. Over 60 academics and practitioners attended to hear and discuss papers on issues including scrutiny, legislative amendments, public engagement, institutional identity, devolved and sub-national legislatures, career politicians, and the constituency activities of legislators (the full programme is listed on our Annual Conference page). Blogs of each of the papers will be published over the next few months on our blog.

Nicole Nisbett

Nicole Nesbitt and Cristina Leston-Bandeira presenting their paper ‘Online Public Engagement: The Organisational Structure’



Khemvirg Puente presents his paper ‘Legislative institutionalisation in Mexican subnational legislatures’

One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation to our Undergraduate Essay Competition winner Mercy Muroki, and runner-up, Katie Power. One of the judging panel, Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira, presented Mercy and Katie with their certificates, and congratulated them on their work. Find out more about the Essay Competition, and read Mercy and Katie’s essays.

CLB and Mercy

Mercy Muroki (formerly of QMUL) receives her winner’s certificate from Prof Cristina Leston-Bandeira

CLB and Katie

Katie Power (formerly of University of Surrey) receivers her runners-up certificate from Prof Cristina Leston-Bandeira

We were also delighted to host a practitioner round-table Inside Stormont: Hearing from MLAs, and would like to thank Stephen Farry, Claire Hanna, Mike Nesbitt, John O’Dowd, and Claire Sugden for taking the time to discuss their roles and the future of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

MLA panel

Our MLA panel: John O’Dowd, Mike Nesbitt, Stephen Farry, Claire Hanna, and Claire Sugden

The conference closed with a tour of the Parliament Buildings, and a chance to sit on the blue benches in the Assembly Chamber.

Photo from Alexandra MeakinAssembly Chamber

We are keen to gather feedback on the conference from attendees and non-attendees: please fill out our feedback form. If you attended, please let us know what you enjoyed and how we can improve next year. If you were unable to attend, please let us know how we can make the conference more accessible or appealing to you.

A huge thank you to the clerks and officials of the Northern Ireland Assembly for hosting and welcoming us to Stormont. We are also incredibly grateful to our Treasurer, Seán Haughey, who organised the conference at the same time as submitting his thesis! Finally, thank you to all those who presented papers, chaired panels, or contributed to the conference. We hope to see you at the Parliaments Group panels at the PSA Annual Conference in Nottingham next April.



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