The University of Sheffield Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences will play host to the Political Studies Association’s (PSA) Postgraduate Network 2015 annual one-day conference, on the theme of Critical Junctures and Turning Points, on Monday 29 June 2015.

The University of Sheffield's Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences is number 197 - G3 on this Campus Map. It's easy to reach from the centre of Sheffield or from the railway station.

Register now by clicking the orange "Book Your Place" button above.

Please find the Final Programme here.

Critical Junctures and Turning Points

Political scientists, media pundits and pollsters have predicted that the 2015 UK general election will be a turning point in British politics. With the leaders of seven political parties taking part in the recent TV debates, no longer is our two-and-a-half party system relevant. Polls indicate that no party will win an overall majority of seats – until recently, a most unusual result. The first-past-the-post electoral system could mean that that the Party which comes third in vote share only wins a handful of parliamentary seats.

With this in mind, we are keen to receive proposals for papers and/or panels which are related to the theme of Critical Junctures and Turning Points here in the UK and abroad. Perhaps your research examines the impact of a certain event on changing the course of politics; maybe your work considers the influence of an individual on policymaking; or you may be interested in how an idea or ideology has forced socio-economic or cultural changes. You could be focusing on the fragmentation of political competition and what this tell us about British political ideology in the twenty first century; or whether the emergence of small/ regional political parties signals a demand for radical change or opposition to it.

Other potential research under the Critical Junctures and Turning Points theme beyond the UK context might include: How have WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden changed our understandings of transparency, treason, patriotism and power. What do the uprisings in Egypt and Turkey teach us about the (im)possibility of democracy or the difficulties of rapid political change. Across Europe, why are young people mostly known in the political participation debate for their disengagement from formal politics.

These are pressing questions of contemporary politics and challenge us to contemplate and examine the importance of Critical Junctures and Turning Points.

Keynote Speaker and Prizes

Fitting with the conference's theme, we are delighted to announce that this year's Keynote Speaker will be Joe Twyman, Head of Political and Social Research for Europe, Middle East and Africa at YouGov.

The title of Joe's plenary is: ‘From Gentle Flirtation to Child Murder in 8 Minutes: The Turning Point of the 2015 General Election’

There will be a prize for the best paper and the best panel and the conference will conclude with a networking drinks reception for all attendees.

We look forward to welcoming you to Critical Junctures and Turning Points in Sheffield! 

Conference and CfP Details

The annual Political Studies Association (PSA) Postgraduate Network one-day conference will be held on Monday 29th of June 2015 at the University of Sheffield's Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences, number 197 - G3 on this Campus Map. It's easy to reach the campus from the centre of Sheffield or from the railway station.

All panel sessions will take place in The Conference Room and refreshments served in the Foyer during the set times below.

The conference is an opportunity for you to showcase and develop innovative ongoing research, to improve your presentation skills and to engage in the dreaded (but very necessary) skill of networking. 

The conference format will consist of themed panels of four to five papers. Any postgraduate may organise a panel.  You must be able to present your paper in less than 10 minutes and there will be time for questions. 

The deadline to submit a proposal for a paper or for a panel has now passed.

Only PSA members will be able to present their work, but membership is not required for other attendees. You can join the PSA today at the reduced rate of £44 online here.

Getting to Sheffield

By Train
Where ever you are travelling from you can book your train tickets using the East Midlands Trains website

The mainline station in Sheffield offers an impressive entry to the City, with fast direct links from London St Pancras International departing every 30 minutes from early morning to late at night. Coming in from Europe? The Eurostar link from Paris arrives at London St Pancras International - you can be in Sheffield in just 5 hours after leaving Paris.  

The journey from London is now only 2 hours and 7 minutes; the service is operated by East Midlands Trains with both First and Standard Class seating available. There are also hourly fast trains from Manchester City Centre and direct services from Manchester International airport.  

By Bus or Coach

National Express run coaches from major cities in the UK to Sheffield coach station, a short walk from Sheffield’s mainline train station and the city centre. Visit the National Express website for full details.


A discounted rate of £55 per night (including breakfast) has been arranged at the Hampton by Hilton hotel in Sheffield city centre. To book a room at this rate call 0114 345 0999 and quote the promotional code 'PGN'. The discount rate has now expired.

For further information about the conference, please contact the Postgraduate Network officers at: