May 2019 newsletter

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

  1. Success at #PSA2019!
  2. Methods Workshop success
  3. CfP: PSA Parliaments Group Annual Conference
  4. News from our members
  5. Essay competition – FINAL reminder
  6. 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. Success at #PSA19

Thank you to everyone that participated and attended panels at PSA this year in Nottingham. It’s been another successful year for us.

We had six panels with 23 papers, covering a range of topics, and included academics and practitioners alike. You can find a brief recap and pictures here.

2. Methods Workshop success

On Friday 10th May, we held one of our now annual qualitative methods workshop. We’d like to thank all those who attended, but particularly our three speakers (Mark Bennister, Sylvia Shaw and Priscila Pivatto) for delivering some fantastic and thought provoking sessions for our participants.

Mark Bennister gave us a quick tour of his ethnographic research with Mr Speaker’s Office, discussing the considerations which need to be given to undertaking this type of research as well as some of his findings. Sylvia Shaw showed us the difficulties of using Hansard when considering the contributions and participation of MPs in debates, showing us the vast difference between what is reported in the Official Report and what actually happens in the chamber. Finally, Priscila Pivatto brought parliamentary history to life, explaining the History of Parliament’s oral histories project and giving some top tips on carrying out interviews with former Members of Parliament.

We hope to follow up on this event with a quantitative methods event in spring/summer 2020.

3. CfP: PSA Parliaments Group Annual Conference

We are pleased to announce the details of our annual conference.

This year, our conference will take place in Cardiff, at the National Assembly for Wales, on Thursday, 07 November (6pm-8pm) for a welcome wine reception and Friday, 08 November (9am-5pm) for a full one-day conference. Please save these dates to your diaries and feel free to start planning travel and accommodation – these are the final and confirmed dates and times.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Parliaments: Coming of Age?’ – a timely and pertinent question for the National Assembly which marks its twentieth anniversary this year. This falls alongside other anniversaries. For example, 2019 also marks: the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Scottish Parliament; the 40th anniversary of the introduction of departmental select committees in the UK Parliament; and the 50th anniversary of the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18. So, we are asking this year: are parliaments coming of age? Our conference seeks to highlight the best research into legislatures, shining a light on how parliaments across the UK and beyond have developed, and continue to develop.

Our call for submissions: as in previous years, we ask participants to submit a 150-word abstract which, if accepted, would be turned into a 1,500-word (max.) blog post. We aim to circulate draft blog pieces before the conference, and publish revised versions after the conference on the PSA Parliaments Group website. To submit your abstract, please complete our paper proposal form. We welcome researchers, academics and practitioners from all disciplines and at all levels, and of course promote methodological pluralism.

Key dates
15 May – call for blogs and papers
12 July – deadline for abstracts
22 July – notification of acceptance/rejection + registration opens
18 October – deadline for registration and first draft of blogs
25 October – circulation of blogs/papers
07-08 November – conference

We look forward to welcoming you to Cardiff in November! In the mean time, please direct any questions to Marc Geddes ( or our conference webpage

4. News from our members

Competition success

Congratulations to Emmeline Ledgerwood, who is judged proxime accessit in the 2018 Parliamentary History Essay Competition for an essay titled ‘MPs on the Subject of STEMM: What Can Oral History Tell Us?’. Emmeline used the History of Parliament collection of interviews with former MPs to consider the extent to which an MP’s background in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine contributed to their activity as a parliamentarian. Her essay has been uploaded to ResearchGate – DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.10962.81603

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!


5. Essay competition 2019 FINAL 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.

6. 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 ( for a chat about how to get involved.


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