"The conference allowed me to feel the pulse of the discipline"

By Jack Corbett, University of Queensland

The PSA exchanger grant has provided me with a series of opportunities that would not otherwise have been available to an early career scholar from the antipodes. At the 2015 conference in Sheffield I was able to attend a series of panels directly related to my research, meet like-minded colleagues, co-authors and future collaborators, and network with book publishers and journal editors. More generally, the conference allowed me to feel the pulse of the discipline, take stock of the most up-to-date research, and get a sense of what topics are likely to drive the agenda into the future. This type of information is incredibly important for scholars who are geographically distant from key international research hubs.

I was also able to leverage the opportunity provided by attendance at the PSA conference to visit and build links with several institutions, both in the UK and Europe. I spent a month either side of the conference as a visiting fellow at the University of Sheffield’s Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Understanding of Politics. Whilst at the Centre I worked on co-authored papers about celebrity politics and citizen participation strategies among local governments in an age of austerity. The time in the UK also afforded me the opportunity to work on two book projects. For the first, I visited Leiden University in the Netherlands to work with a colleague on democratization in small states. For the second I was able to conduct face-to-face interviews with key figures in London and Geneva who were involved in the administration of the Australia aid program. The PSA’s support was a key factor in making these opportunities happen.