First GCfE Committee Meeting: Get Involved!

Our first officially committee meeting will be Thursday, 16th October at 11:3oam (until about 12:30/13:30pm) in room 328 Muirhead Tower.

The meeting is open to everyone interested in joining either the GCfE events committee or the BJfE publications team (or both). No strings attached, feel free to come along and share ideas for this year’s event themes and annual conference topic. In previous years we have run skills sessions, topical panels and paper/project presentations in addition to social events (such as an advent reading and a pub quiz). If you have ideas for similar events, want to run or present a panel/presentation/etc and/or have an idea for further events please do come along and let us know what you would like to see the GCfE do this year.

There is also the opportunity to join the committee as a general events/publications member or to take on a specific role. In particular the committee is looking for at least one Marketing Officer and Communications Officer, but there are other opportunities to take on a leadership role in the forum. Come along for information about both of these positions and other ways to get involved.

Finally, if you cannot make this meeting date/time but would like to still get involved please send an email to gcfe@contacts.bham.ac.uk and let us know if you are interested with publications, events or both. You can also send us ideas for events even if you aren’t looking to help manage the committee or run events this year. Future meetings (as well as events and the conference) will be planned around the availability of involved members so letting us know by email that you are interested will make sure we keep you in the loop when it comes time to schedule the next meeting.

We hope to see several new (whether or not you are actually new to the University of Birmingham) faces at our first committee meeting, and that the rest of you will be sure to keep an eye out for the next GCfE event.

GCfE Welcome Event

GCfE Welcome Flier

Our first event of the academic year will be a welcome lunch, this Thursday (9th October) at 11:30am. This will be a chance for both current and incoming postgraduates to meet fellow students as well as offer an opportunity to find out more about the Graduate Centre for Europe and how you can get involved in 2014/2015 with either events planning and/or our publications team. This event is free and open to everyone, we look forward to meeting both new and familiar faces their.

Birmingham Journal for Europe: Issue 3

We do apologise for the late notice but the full third issue of the Birmingham Journal for Europe is now available on our web page: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/gcfe/journal/issue-3.aspx

A number of delays in academic reviews and one family emergency for one of our author’s this issue has come out a bit later than previously expected. Given the dual topics we had hoped for a larger issue, but unfortunately a few papers needed to be pulled at the last minute. Nonetheless, we are pleased to present four fascinating papers in the areas of law, humanities and politics on the topics of collapse and progress within Europe.

This is also the first year the Birmingham Journal for Europe has had a one year turnover rate and we hope to move forward with that model in the future. To that end, we would like to remind everyone that the call for our fourth issue on the theme of “Travelling Europe” is now open. In addition to seeking papers on this theme, this year we aim to expand this publication to include both reviews and notes. Priority will be given to book/article reviews and notes on publications and events relevant to the topic and travel, but for these two categories we will also consider submissions outside of this theme so long as they in some way address Europe generally.

As always, our journal is open to submissions from any discipline including arts and humanities, social sciences, life and physical sciences, etc. This is an academically reviewed publication to ensure all accepted papers are of a high standard. This year journal submissions will have to conform to the BJfE guidelines at first submission or they will not be accepted for academic review. Please ensure that your article features original material and that you have obtained the necessary permission for any referenced content or images that you do not own before submitting your manuscript.

Please visit our publications tab to read the full cfp for Issue 4 as well as to find an overview of the BJfE referencing and submission guidelines. We look forward to receiving your papers.

Birmingham Journal for Europe: Issue 4 Call for Papers

Hope everyone has been enjoying the summer sunshine. As the weather has taken a turn for the grey here and Birmingham now seemed like the perfect time to announce that the call for papers for our fourth issue of the Birmingham Journal for Europe is now open for submissions.

This year’s issue aims to apply interdisciplinary approaches and ideas to the themes of travel and tourism in our issue entitled ‘Travelling Europe: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Place and Space’. Our conference on this same theme reflected on ideas of European and movement travel with papers on European citizenship, the geographical and social impacts of travel and migrating identity. This issue seeks to incorporate articles on similar or related themes, including but not limited to ideas such as Geotourism, Europe’s global relations, and heritage sites.

As in previous years the BJfE will accept articles of approximately 6,000 words on this year’s theme, but we will also be accepting book and article reviews of 1,000 words in length as well.

For further details and submission guidelines please see our call for papers: BJfE Travelling Europe CfP 2014-2015

Submissions should be directed to gcfe@contacts.bham.ac.uk by no later than 31 October 2014.

We look forward to reading what we are certain will be fascinating papers and articles.

Spring Newsletter

The third issue of our newsletter is now available on our publications tab and on our academic web profile available here: Spring Newsletter. Our publications team has had an exciting year, with our biggest staff to date the Birmingham Journal for Europe team has been able to expand our endeavours to include both the newsletter and this blog. Provided we have as enthusiastic a team as this year our aim will be to expand the BJfE in 2014/2015 to include reviews and notes sections. If you are interested in getting involved with any part of our publications team next year please contact us at gcfe@contacts.bham.ac.uk for further details.

The third issue of the BJfE will be uploaded onto our academic site in the next few weeks. Keep an eye on our pages for the cfp for our fourth issue ‘Travelling Europe’ which will be launched in July.

Extended Deadline: Application for GCfE Co-Chair Events

Job opening_GCfE Co-Chair Events 2014_15

As our previous co-chair application deadline fell within the exam period we have extended the call until Sunday 15 June 2014. As previously stated this is an invaluable opportunity to run an academic forum, organise an internationally recognised academic conference and further develop interdisciplinary networks at the University of Birmingham. The committee has a healthy budget with which to fiance both academic and social events so you will only need to come along with a passion and enthusiasm for your postgraduate community. You will have a fantastic and experienced Publications Co-Chair to work with and a 10-15 person committee to help run events. Guidance will also be provided by the 2013/2014 co-chairs as well as our academic director Dr Nick Martin. This position is open to any postgraduate at the University of Birmingham who will be studying full or part time in the 2014/2015 academic year.

If you are interested in applying or have further queries please contact Josie and Gail at gcfe@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

GEM Forum: Postgraduate Journal Workshop

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The Gateway to the Mediterranean (GEM) postgraduate forum are hosting a postgraduate journal workshop this Wednesday the 28th of May, 2014 at 5:15pm. This should be a useful skills session aimed at all aspects of postgraduate publishing for both authors and editors. This event has been co-organised by postgraduate journals from GEM, Birmingham Egyptology and History and Cultures. This is an interdisciplinary relevant skills session catering to all subject areas. This event is free and open to everyone. Refreshments will be provided.

GCfE Europe Themed Pub Quiz

The final event for the GCfE this year will be a pub quiz hosted at the Bristol Pear on the 2nd of June, 7:30pm. We hope early June will prove to be a nice compromise between the end of exams and when most of us might start taking off for summer adventures and conferences. Join us for a pint, a rousing round of trivia, the chance to win a prize and of course good company. This event is free and open all so do bring your friends, classmates and flatmates along. See our flier below for further details:ImageDo also feel free to join and comment in our Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1422889204647735/

GCfE Co-Chair (Events) Applications Now Open

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The Graduate Centre for Europe is a postgraduate led initiative moving into its 9th academic year. The chance to run the forum is a priceless opportunity to build leadership skills, develop interdisciplinary postgraduate research at the University of Birmingham and beyond, make important contacts amongst students and academics and of course, boost your CV. The committee is composed of around 10-15 postgraduate students from across several disciplines at the University of Birmingham studying from the Masters to Doctoral level. The forum puts on a series of events including skills sessions, roundtable discussions and an annual conference as well as manages several publications including the Birmingham Journal for Europe. The initiative is led by two Co-Chairs, one for events and one for publications, though all committee members often collaborate on both aspects of the GCfE.

The new Co-Chair (Events) will work with our new Co-Chair (Publications) who already has 2 years of experience with the GCfE, with advice from the two previous Co-Chairs. This is a flexible position and Co-Chairs will be able to determine how many events to run and what type of events to put on in addition to the annual conference which is the flagship event for the forum.

There is the potential to split the Co-Chair (Events) position for applicants who might like to apply as a pair and are feeling particularly ambitious about the programme they would like to run in the 2014/2015 year. To apply for the position or to pose any queries please email Josie (Co-Chair Events 2013/2014) and Gail (Co-Chair Publications 2013/2014) at gcfe@contacts.bham.ac.uk by June 6th.

We look forward to meeting the new faces of the GCfE!

EU Hustings: After Debate

ImageOn the 1st of May the Institute for German Studies, in conjunction with both the Graduate Centre for Europe and Europe Direct, hosted an EU Hustings debate featuring six potential candidates for the European Parliament. Each candidate was given two minutes to introduce both themselves and their platform followed by an intense question and answer session. The panel was chaired by Dr Isabelle Hertner, Lecturer in German and European Politics and Society and the Deputy Director of the Institute for German Studies.

The Candidates

Phil Bennion, MEP (Liberal Democrats) – Phil is a University of Birmingham alumnus. He is promoting a party liberal in economics and education policies aiming for a safer and greener Europe.

Will Duckworth (Green) – Will was a mathematics teacher for 30 years before deciding that there were just no political candidates he agreed with, so he decided he would have to get involved himself. He used his time to discuss the root issues brought up by recent UKIP propaganda. Particularly the first, second, third generation British citizens’ feelings of personal pain by the negativity directed toward immigrants. Will claims that even when the intention is not racism certain tones inevitably alienate and persecute minority groups. Green endeavors to support and value rather than merely tolerate.

Bill Etheridge (UKIP) – Bill spent 20 years of his life working in the steel industry, and for one year counted himself a member of the conservative party which he claims to now regret. He agrees that racism is never okay, but that immigration requires control. He feels the primary issue is overburdened state control both within the UK and particularly by the EU.

Neena Gill (Labour) – Neena aims to promote a sustainable economic growth platform. She has personally campaigned for the single, homeless and elderly. She served on the European Parliament for ten years and worked for a global multinational which have both contributed to her wider world view.

Anthea McIntyre, MEP (Conservatives) – Anthea is clamoring for three Rs – reform, renegotiation and referendum. The most challenging problem that she sees Europe facing is high unemployment due to a mismatch of skills training. She has pushed to cut the European budget and opt out of the euro bailout.

Nicole Sinclaire, MEP (We Demand A Referendum Party) – Like Bill, Nicole had previously belonged to another party, in her case UKIP. Nicole refused to sugarcoat her platform and directly claimed to have left UKIP because of their extreme racism. She has pushed public petitions to force debate in Parliament and strives to maintain a mobile presence in the streets meeting with everyday people outside of election seasons. She has worked for debt relief and food distribution.

Highlights from the Q+A

The question and answer session enabled students, academics and external visitors the opportunity to address the issues they wanted to know more about. The most pressing questions centered around the issue of a referendum and racism, a selection of which (including some of the answers) have been included here for further consideration.

Q.1. What is racism?

All participants agreed that racism was the discrimination against or mistreatment of members of another race (and in some cases, alternative religion and/or gender played factors in this discussion). However, most generally agreed that it wasn’t racist to debate immigration.┬áNicole advocated that silence on the immigration issue alienates voters and has cost Labour seats because they avoid the issues. Aiming to address this, Neena responds that debating immigration is not what is problematic but the manner in which this is done is crucial. She pointed out that UKIP addresses this issue by creating fear, uncertainty and blaming all problems on immigrants at the exclusion of other factors. Will ultimately concluded that the problem is engendered in the blaming of migrants (not just immigrants) and that the ‘issue of immigration’ is primarily a problem of poor government and governing.

Q.2. If there is a referendum regarding leaving the EU what happens with currency and the market, what are the trade implications and what will the UK do?

Will, Neena and Phil stressed that their parties did not want to leave the EU, that the aim should be reform not exit. Neena feels the single market couldn’t possibly remain accessible, and while Phil countered that access would be likely the UK would lose any say, lose out on trade deals and investments that create jobs and likely be impoverished within 20 years. Conversely, neither Nicole or Bill could possibly imagine staying and think that the UK will be better outside the EU. Nicole pointed out that leaving the EU is a two year process and that there would be time to transition, nothing would collapse overnight. Bill feels that the UK generally buys from rather than sells to the EU and that it is ridiculous to think that Europe would suddenly not want to sell after a referendum. If anything, leaving will open more doors for trade in Bill’s opinion.

Q.3. The UK is the fourth biggest group of migrants, generally benefits from free-movement and the majority of studies show that generally immigrants are not actually travelling to take advantage of the healthcare system. What are thoughts considering restrictions on those coming in but not on those coming out?

Bill generally argues that all nations, not just the UK should control their boarders and definite immigration qualifications. Nicole’s stance particularly on benefits immigration is that if this is not a motive for migration than there is no harm in legislation. Anthea similarly supports free movement so long as it is for work rather than to claim benefits. Neena claims that roughly the same amount of people leave the country as enter it and immigration is generally a positive workforce rather than a problem. Similarly, Phil points out that migrants generally pay much more in taxes than they ever draw in benefits and are a positive contribution to the treasury. Both he and Will tend to agree that people do not relocate their entire lives to a new country simply for benefits.

We hope you’ve found our few select event highlights of interest. Don’t forget the election will take place on Thursday the 22nd of May 2014. If you are an eligible and registered voter the GCfE would like to encourage you to remember to get out and let your voice be heard.