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PSA 2019 Annual Conference Highlights
The best moments from the 2019 PSA Annual International Conference in Nottingham, UK.
The PSA Annual International Conference took place at the Nottingham Conference Centre, Nottingham Trent University, on 15 – 17 April 2019. Almost 800 participants from across the world including academics at all stages of the profession, politicians and practitioners were in attendance, providing an opportunity to present the latest politics-related research across 500 papers and 300 panels, whilst also exploring the conference theme of ‘(Un)Sustainable Politics in a Changing World'.
Is it Time to Lower the Voting Age to 16?
For the third year running a pre-conference event was held to encourage local participation and the public understanding of politics. The ‘Is it Time to Lower the Voting Age to 16?’ panel discussion was convened by the PSA Young People’s Politics Specialist Group and the Leverhulme Trust-funded 'Lowering the Voting Age in the UK' project and featured Lillian Greenwood MP and representatives from national and local youth organisations. Attendees ranged from students, community activists and politically engaged citizens as well as PSA Conference attendees.
The Keynote Lecture on 15th April was given by the Rt Hon John Bercow MP, Speaker of the House of Commons, on ‘Politics in an Anti-Politics Age’, who argued that the turbulent political landscape and debates over Brexit has actually helped enhance public understanding of Parliament.
The quality of the panel sessions, where participation from practitioners and policymakers alongside academics is now the norm, was typified by the ‘Explaining Brexit: Known Knowns and Unanticipated Consequences’ panel on the opening morning featuring the Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke MP and Jill Rutter (Institute for Government).
Kamal Ahmed Q&A Session
The Annual Conference Dinner on 16th April featured a Q&A session with Kamal Ahmed, Editorial Director of BBC News, where he provided wide-ranging insights on the challenges and responses facing the media in how to effectively communicate information from across the world.
The highly attuned conference programme reflected the national and international political issues of the day and featured three distinctive and well received plenaries:
‘PSA Diverse Voices Doctoral Scholarships and Strengthening Academia’, featuring Professor Karen Salt (University of Nottingham), which outlined plans for the PSA’s Diverse Voices doctoral scholarship fund and discussed how aspirations for a more inclusive profession should also be complemented more widely by a diverse and engaged polity.
In this plenary address ‘Boy’s Don’t Always Have to Boys: The Local and Global Politics of Exposing and Challenging Patriarchal Impunity’, renowned scholar and activist Professor Cynthia Enloe (Clark University) discussed approaches to tackle patriarchal systems and behaviours and how institutional and cultural politics of 'boys will be boys' can be both challenged and transformed.
Can Environmental Institutions still be Leaders in Times of Uncertainty
This discussion featured a high quality panel comprising of Natalie Bennett (Green Party), Dr Marit Hammond (PSA Environmental Politics Specialist Group and Keele University), Corli Pretorius (UN Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre), Kirsty Schneeberger MBE (ClientEarth) and chaired by Dr Paul Tobin (University of Manchester and Trustee, PSA), and discussed how the current uncertain political landscape is affecting institutions’ abilities to lead on urgent environmental challenges.
The varied conference programme also featured publishing workshops, PSA Early Career Network and Specialist Group-related activities as well as mental health and wellbeing activities.
The PSA was delighted to work with the conference convenors, Dr Marianna Poberezhskaya and Dr Imad El-Anis of Nottingham Trent University, and their commitment and enthusiasm contributed enormously to making the conference such a success.