April 2019 newsletter

In this month’s newsletter, we have the following announcements/information:

  1. PSA Conference – 15-17 April
  2. Informal social at PSA Conference
  3. Methods Workshop – sign-up open!
  4. Event: The Brexit Shock
  5. News from our members
  6. Job alert from UNC
  7. Essay competition reminder
  8. Recently on our blog

If you have any notices / messages you would like us to circulate to the group, please let us know.

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


1. PSA conference

We are looking forward to welcoming many of you to the PSA’s Annual Conference, taking place in Nottingham between 15 and 17 April – now less than two weeks away.

Please save this email because this is our last newsletter before the conference, and we summarise all our panels here:

Monday, 15 April, 2.45pm-4.15pm: Opening Up Parliament: From public claims to expert knowledge
Chair: Dr Louise Thompson

  • Making Sense of How MPs Engage with Parliamentary e-Petitions (Felicity Matthews, University of Sheffield)
  • How Parliaments have dealt with the upsurge of e-petitions (Cristina Leston-Bandeira, University of Leeds)
  • Between diversity, representation and ‘best evidence’: Rethinking select committee evidence-gathering practices (Danielle Beswick, University of Birmingham; Stephen Elstub, University of Newcastle)
  • Evidence Practices in the House of Commons (Marc Geddes, University of Edinburgh)

Monday, 15 April, 4.30pm-6.00pm: Researching Parliament (with House of Commons Academic Fellows)
Chair: Dr Sean Haughey

  • Brexit, Scotland & Devolution: The Future Role of the UK Parliament (Margaret Arnott, UWS)
  • Up Close Observation in The Everyday Life of Parliament (Mark Bennister, Lincoln)
  • Parliament and Public Engagement (Catherine Bochel, Lincoln)
  • Parliamentary Monitor: increasing the value of parliamentary data (Hannah White, Institute for Government)

Monday, 15 April, 6.15pm-7.15pm: Lecture by the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, ‘Politics in an Anti-Politics Age’ (Lecture Theatre 2).

Tuesday, 16 April, 9.30am-11.00am: Strengthening Parliamentary Democracy
Chair: Dr Marc Geddes

  • Reintroducing Ethics in politics (Gordana Comic, Deputy Speaker, National Assembly of Republic of Serbia)
  • Parliament struggling to fulfil the promise of democracy (Meg Munn, Global Partners Governance)
  • Trust in Politics: Is too much accountability a bad thing for political trust? (Greg Power, Global Partners Governance)
  • Keeping Information Honest: A unique role for parliaments? (Zoe Oliver-Watts, Global Partners Governance)

Tuesday, 16 April, 1.30pm-3.00pm: UK Parliament: Legislation and Brexit
Chair: Alexandra Meakin

  • The post-legislative gap (Tom Caygill, Newcastle University)
  • Coordination or chaos? Analysis of the 2017 wash-up period in the UK parliament (Ruth Dixon, Oxford University)
  • Select committees and Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities (Richard Whitaker and Philip Lynch, University of Leicester)
  • Partisan Dealignment and Personal Vote-Seeking: Evidence from the UK House of Commons (Thomas Fleming, Oxford)

Tuesday, 16 April, 3.15pm-4.45pm: UK Parliament: How does history inform the future?
Chair: Dr Danielle Beswick

  • Understanding parliamentary governance: using the Multiple Streams Framework and Historical Institutionalism to analyse the Restoration and Renewal of the Palace of Westminster (Alexandra Meakin, University of Sheffield)
  • The Burns Report on the Size of the House of Lords: Using Parliamentary Privilege to Informally Amend an Act of Parliament? (Craig Prescott, University of Winchester)
  • The House of Commons’ influence over military action: What can we learn from history? (James Strong, QMUL)
  • From Representation to Meritocracy: conceptions of parliamentary work and the political class in the Boyle Committee reports, 1971-1979 (Nick Dickinson, University of Exeter)

Wednesday, 17 April, 9.00am-10.30am: Parliaments and Policy Making in Comparative Perspective
Chair: Dr Catherine Bochel

  • Critical Leaders: How Women on Parliamentary Committees Influence the Health Sector in Africa (Susan Dodsworth and Nic Cheeseman, University of Birmingham)
  • Understanding parliamentary oversight in Africa: An interpretive analysis of confirmation hearings in Ghana’s Parliament (Ernest Kwofie, University of Birmingham)
  • (Un)sustainable Legislative Language in a Changing World (Matthew Williams, University of Oxford)

All panels will take place in Lecture Theatre 3, Newton / Arkwright Building (unless stated otherwise).

For updates and reminders of our activities over the conference, please follow @psa_parl

Please note that there are additional panels that might be of interest to you – please check the Conference Programme or alert us to any parliamentary-related papers, which we would be happy to advertise through our Twitter account.


2. PSA Conference – informal social, Monday 15 April

On Monday, 15 April, we will have an informal get together for anyone that would like to join us for drinks or food or both. We thought this would be a good opportunity for everyone involved to meet in person and to get our collective bearings as we head into the conference season.

We will be meeting at the Slug and Lettuce (very close to the conference venue) from 8pm onwards. Everyone is welcome to join us.

If you have trouble finding us, or you have not met any of the team before, then please let us know and we’ll try to ensure that we come to you!


3. Methods workshop – sign up now open

We are running our annual methods workshop for anyone using, or who wish to use, qualitative methods in the area of parliamentary studies, on Friday 10 May 2019.

Guest speakers will deliver short sessions on their own experiences of using these methods, providing top tips and practical guidance. Time will be set aside for Q&A with each speaker.  The day will also enable you to meet other like-minded researchers who are using these methods.

We have the following sessions planned:

  • Ethnographic research in Parliament with Dr Mark Bennister (Lincoln)
  • Ethnography and discourse analysis with Dr Sylvia Shaw (Westminster)
  • Interviewing MPs and oral history with Priscilla Privato (History of Parliament Trust)

The workshop will take place at the Political Studies Association’s Offices, Regent House London, NW1 0AD and will run from 11am to 4pm. Lunch will be provided.

This even is open to all with an interest in studying Parliament. For PSA members, there is a charge of £5 to cover the costs of lunch. For non-PSA members, there is a charge of £6.50.

To sign up, please click here.


4. Event – The Brexit Shock

An event that might be of interest to our members:

The Brexit Shock: A Constitutional Perspective

The prospect of Brexit has produced an episode of prolonged political turmoil more intense and sustained than any other in the peacetime history of the UK. The precise end is not yet in sight. One aspect of this disruption as been uncertainty in the political system itself: the constitution of the United Kingdom. In the wake of a referendum, an exercise in direct democracy, traditional understandings and conventions involving vital institutions of representative democracy such as Cabinet, Parliament, the devolved systems and the political parties have broken down. How, when and whether they will be restored remains uncertain.

At this event, the Director of the Centre for British Politics and Government, Dr. Andrew Blick, speaks on the subject of his recently published book ‘Stretching the Constitution: the Brexit shock in historic perspective’ (Hart, 2019). He updates it to take into account recent and ongoing developments. Dr. Blick will ask, from a constitutional standpoint, how the Brexit episode came about; was it tells us about our constitution, and what Brexit might mean for the future of the way the UK governs itself.

For more information and registration, please click here.


5. News from our members

Viva success!

Congratulations to Dr Alex Prior, who passed his viva on 15 March 2019. His PhD has looked at Parliament and public engagement activities.

More viva success!

Congratulations also to Dr Tom Caygill, who passed his viva on 05 April 2019. His PhD looked at the effectiveness of post-legislative scrutiny in the UK Parliament.

New book

A few of our members feature in a new Palgrave volume: Brexit and Parliament: The Role of Parliaments in the UK and European Union, including chapters from Louise Thompson and Ben Yong, and Philip Lynch, Richard Whitaker and Adam Cygan. Find out more here.

Please remember to send us your good news items for us to celebrate in our monthly newsletter – accepted grant proposals, giving evidence to committees or stakeholders, large public events, finally published that book you’ve been working on … we’d love to hear it and share it with our members!


6. Job alert: UNC

The University of North Carolina has two job openings that might be relevant to our members: one being based in Edinburgh seeking a current student as an assistant for a summer role and the other for a teaching role which would suit a PhD graduate seeking teaching experience in London.

Please find the two jobs attached HERE and HERE.

For any questions, please get in touch with Stephanie Berke (sberke@email.unc.edu).


7. Essay competition 2019 reminder

Did you have an outstanding student from autumn 2018 that might deserve a prize for their academic work? Look no further and consider submitting their essay to our undergraduate essay competition, which is now open!

The winner will be presented with a prize of £100 and the runner-up with a prize of £50. The winners for 2018 were presented the award by Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira at our annual conference in Belfast. Previous winners have also been awarded by the Clerk of the House of Commons and the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. The deadline is 31 May, with a 3,500 word limit.

All of the details about the competition can be found on our webpage.


8. Recently on the blog

Some of our recent blogs include:

If you are interested in publishing a blog, please get in touch with our Communications Officer Alexandra Meakin (a.meakin@sheffield.ac.uk) for a chat about how to get involved.

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