Latest news from the PSA Parliaments Group

Welcome to our latest newsletter!

Dear members,

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

  1. Panels at PSA Annual Conference
  2. Changes to the Team
  3. ESRC PhD studentship opportunity – Parliament and Education
  4. Essay Competition: Judging Panel Announced
  5. Call for Papers: Parliaments and Security Conference
  6. Ethnography of Parliaments Panel at EASA
  7. Job Alert: Lecturer in the Politics of Gender, Sexuality and Identity
  8. National Assembly for Wales: Academic Fellowship Scheme now open
  9. Hansard Resource
  10. 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), Gavin (@GavinHart10) and Seán (@S_Haughey)

1. Panels at PSA Annual Conference

We are pleased to have seven panels running at the PSA annual conference, which have been scheduled for Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th April. They cover the following topics:

  • Parliamentary Questions: Adversarialism and Constituency Links
  • Perspectives on Transparency
  • Comparing Parliamentary Perspectives in the UK
  • Parliamentary Roles
  • Do MPs care about their publics?
  • Scrutiny and Legislation
  • The Changing Face of Parliament

Full details of the panels can be seen on our website.

If you are presenting a paper on one of our panels, or chairing a panel, please make sure that you register for the conference through Ex Ordo by Monday 17th February.

Please note that in addition to our conference panels, we will be organising a get together for members of our group for Monday 6 April – details to be confirmed!

2. Changes to the team

You might have noticed that we’ve had a change in our communications recently. Our Communications Officer, Dr Alex Meakin, has taken a break from the role for maternity leave and Dr Gavin Hart has taken it on since January.

We want to say a HUGE thank you to Alex for all her hard work towards as Communications Officer. She has made the role a massive success, with our Twitter account now having more than 2,200 followers and our website getting on average more than 1,500 views per month. But most important of all: welcome to the world little Dina!

In January, Dr Gavin Hart (Huddersfield) has taken on the role. We’ve had a very smooth hand over and we are looking forward to having Gavin on our team!

3. ESRC PhD studentship opportunity – Parliament and Education

Applications are invited to an ESRC PhD Studentship for a project entitled Inclusivity and Engagement: children and the democratic process, to be supervised by Professor Leston-Bandeira, Co-Director of the Centre for Democratic Engagement, University of Leeds. This is a Collaborative PhD, which means we will work with an external partner, the Education and Engagement Service at the UK Parliament, with whom we will work very closely on the definition and implementation of the project. These highly prestigious, collaborative ESRC studentships are awarded by the White Rose Social Sciences Doctoral Training Partnership, a leading PhD training consortium of seven universities. More information about the project and on how to apply can be found here:

Please circulate this opportunity to your best students (undergraduate or Masters, as this can be taken as 1+3 or as a +3 model). Deadline for applications: 13 March 2020.

Any queries, please get in touch with Professor Leston-Bandeira at:

4. Essay Competition: Judging Panel Announced

We are very grateful to Professor Robert Hazell for agreeing to chair this year’s essay competition. Alongside him on the panel this year will be Adam Evans (UK Parliament) and Louise Thompson (University of Manchester).

If you have been marking parliamentary studies essays over the last few weeks, please consider submitting an entry to our competition. Essays must be no more than 3500 words and can focus on any legislature.  More details can be found here.

5. Call for Papers: Parliaments and Security Conference

The Centre for Security Research at the University of Edinburgh will host a one-day workshop on parliaments and security. While parliaments’ roles in security have often been neglected in practice and in scholarship, the importance of parliaments in security has received significant attention in recent years.  This workshop will take stock of the current understanding of parliaments and security, showcase cutting-edge work in this area, and set an agenda for future research.  The conference invites papers reflecting on this broad theme from multiple perspectives and across a diverse range of specific topics.
Papers should have some focus on parliaments and security, widely defined.  Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • parliamentary powers and parliamentary-executive relations in security policy;
  • the dynamics of party politics in parliaments’ roles in security issues;
  • how parliaments and their constituent actors define organize, institutionalise, and manage security matters;
  • parliaments’ relationships to ‘external’ actors including courts, security and intelligence bureaucratic actors, public opinion and pressure groups, media, and foreign actors in the realm of security;
  • and critical and ethical responses to parliamentary policy developments.

If interested in contributing to this conference, please send a (working) title, an abstract and a short bio to by 15 February 2020.  We will notify acceptance by the end of March. We may be available to offer a limited contribution to travel expenses, depending on need and demand.

Juliet Kaarbo & Andrew Neal
Co-Directors, Centre for Security Research

6. Ethnography of Parliament Panel at EASA

Please click here for an extended Call for Papers for the 16th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) conference next July called ‘Ethnography of Parliament’.

If you have any questions, please contact the organisers directly.

7. Job Alert: Lecturer in the Politics of Gender, Sexuality and Identity

The Department of Politics and Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool seek to appoint a Joint Lecturer in the Politics of Gender, Sexuality and Identity. Applicants whose research interests intersect parliaments, gender, sexuality and identity are welcome. More information about the post is available here: Our group’s Treasurer, Sean Haughey (, is happy to answer any informal queries about the post. Deadline 16th February 2020.

Added note from the PSA Parliaments Group: we want to also encourage parliamentary scholars to consider this position in order to strengthen the interplay between gender, politics and parliamentary studies.

8. National Assembly for Wales: Academic Fellowship Scheme now open

Mae’r broses ymgeisio bellach ar agor ar gyfer Cynllun Cymrodoriaeth Academaidd y Cynulliad: Mae’r alwad am geisiadau bellach ar agor.

The National Assembly for Wales is looking for academics to work with them as a Fellow sometime during 2020. The call for applications is now open. 

Key dates 

  • Deadline for applicants to submit application: Monday 2 March 2020
  • Informal interviews with applicants: mid-March 2020
  • Fellowship induction day: 22 April 2020
  • Start date: May 2020 onwards, to be discussed and agreed with successful applicants

Who can apply?
The Fellowship scheme is open to university researchers who have a PhD and who are employed at a higher education institution in Wales or elsewhere in the UK.

How is the scheme funded?
It is expected that Fellows will normally be funded through their own institutions, either through existing research impact funding or through an agreed allocation of their own research time.   There may be scope for the Assembly to provide small amounts of match-funding in exceptional circumstances.

As before there are two routes to apply:

  • Directed call – submit a bid to research in response to a pre-identified priority project.
  • Open call – Propose a research project of your choosing.

Further information about the National Assembly’s previous fellows and their outcomes and publications resulting from their work at the Assembly can be seen here.

9. Hansard Resource

Hansard at Huddersfield is a new search tool for the record of parliamentary language in the UK parliament. We hope that many readers will already have tried it out, but if you haven’t, please do! It can be found at and requires no login.

We are delighted to announce that our new function, the keywords search, is up and working (but let us know if there are bugs we haven’t noticed!). It allows you to compare two periods in the data of parliamentary language either by preset periods (wars, decades and parliaments) or by self-defined periods. The result is a bubble chart of the key differences in vocabulary between the two data sets. An example below shows the keywords distinguishing the period just before the EU referendum with the period since. You can then click on the keywords and pull up their context.

In other news, we are now in a position to regularly update the data, so you will find that currently the data is complete up to 23rd January 2020. We will update approximately once a month from now on.

Please let us know how you are using the site – particularly if any of the searches are used in published or in-house documents or reports. Follow us on Twitter (@HansardHuds) for updates.

Lesley Jeffries, Principal Investigator, Hansard at Huddersfield.

10. Recently on the blog

Thanks again for the great contributions made to our blog by group members and from our wider network of scholars and policy-makers. Some of our recent blogs include:

If you are interested in publishing a blog, please get in touch with our Communications Officer Gavin Hart ( for a chat about how to get involved.


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