PSA Parliaments 2018 Conference: Making Sense of Parliaments

We are pleased to formally announce that our annual conference will take place in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The theme for our conference this year is ‘Making Sense of Parliaments’ – a timely and pertinent question in the Northern Ireland context, given that the region’s legislature has not reconvened since the collapse of the devolved institutions in January 2017. Our conference seeks to highlight the best research into legislatures, shining a light on how we can make sense of scrutiny, representation, governance and all aspects of parliamentary life.

Register Now – registration closes 31 October 2018.

Conference details

Date and time: Thursday, 08 Nov (1pm-6.30pm) and Friday, 09 Nov (9am-12.30pm)
Location: Parliament Buildings, Stormont Estate, Belfast, BT4, Northern Ireland

Conference overview

parl18 overview

Please note that this event is recommended for an academic audience.

Registration closes on 31 October 2018:  Register Now

Confirmed panels

Panel 1: Legislative Influence

Chair Louise Thompson (University of Manchester)

  • Eloise Ellis (UEA) ‘Constitutional Scrutiny by Parliamentary Committee’
  • Matthew Williams, Jonathan Jones and Ruth Dixon (Oxford) ‘Making Sense of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill: Computer-Assisted Analysis of Amendments in Parliament’
  • James Strong (QMUL) ‘The House of Commons’ influence over military action: what can we learn from history?’
  • James Kelly (Concordia) ‘Stormont and Human Rights: An assessment of rights-based scrutiny by the NI Assembly’

Panel 2: Parliaments and the Public

Chair Sean Haughey (University of Liverpool)

  • Nicole Nisbett and Cristina Leston-Bandeira (Leeds) ‘Online Public Engagement: The Organisational Structure’
  • Thales Torres Quintao (Minas Gerais, Brazil) ‘Participation in Legislatures: Meanings and Justifications’
  • Lawrence Mckay (Manchester) ‘Proof communication matters: linking inputs and outputs in Westminster MPs’ constituency communication’
  • Aileen Walker (Global Partners Governance) ‘Public trust in parliaments and links to stability’

Panel 3: MPs and their Roles

Chair Ruth Dixon, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

  • Richard Kwiatkowski and Warren Greig (Cranfield) ‘Stepping in the same river: Change, constancy and the psychology of Members of Parliament’
  • Nicholas Allen (Royal Holloway), Gabriele Magni (Princeton) and Donald D Searing (North Carolina, Chapel Hill) ‘What is a career politician? Theories, concepts and measures’
  • Mark Bennister (Lincoln) ‘What Do You Do Mr Speaker? Up Close Observation in the Everyday Life of Parliament’

Panel 4: Devolved and Subnational Developments

Chair Marc Geddes (University of Edinburgh)

  • David Torrance (House of Commons) ‘Contradictory Unionism: the impact of Stormont on British devolution debates’
  • Diana Stirbu (LMU) ‘Strengthening the National Assembly for Wales through strategic re-positioning’
  • Khemvirg Puente (National Autonomous University of Mexico) ‘Legislative institutionalisation in Mexican subnational legislatures’
  • Margaret Arnott (UWS) ‘Brexit & Interparliamentary Relations in the Devolved UK: Challenges and Solutions?’

Register Now – registration closes 31 October 2018.

For further information about the conference, please contact Dr Marc Geddes ( and Dr Louise Thompson (