Interdisciplinary Conference: Topographies

Postgraduate researchers may be interested in an upcoming conference at the University of Bristol entitled Topographies: Places to Find Something. This  conference will take place 14 May 2015 and aims to explore what is meant by the term topography and how ideas and principles of geographic description can enable scholars from different academic backgrounds to understand topographies as ‘places to find something’.

The conference is now accepting abstracts for papers on several topics which include, but are not limited to: Literary geographies; Mapping the mind and madness; Poetry and place; Dreamscapes; Ontology and place; Embodiment, Performance, Place; Ecocriticism; Urban and rural topographies; Topographies of water, soil, sand and air; Topographies of terror; Otherworld topographies; Colonial and post-colonial spaces; Topographies of death, illness and decay; Palimpsests and heterotopias; Catographic and visual spatial practices; Topographies of faith; Topographical bibliography; Cosmography; Geology and deep time.

The plenary lecture will be delivered by Wai Chee Dimock (Professor of American and English Literature at Yale University) with keynote speakers Andrew Ginger (Chair in Iberian and Latin American Studies at the University of Bristol) and Robert Vilain (Professor of German and Head of Modern Languages at the University Bristol). The conference will also feature an evening of poetry and film at the Watershed with poets Nial Campbell, Holly Corfield Carr, Tony Williams as well as filmmaker Alan Fentiman.

Abstracts of no more than 200 words should be sent to Emily Derbyshire ( and Andrew Giles ( before 23 March 2014.

For more details visit:

Finally, on the theme of conference, the GCfE 9th annual conference will be taking place at the end of March. Information about the programme and how to register will be available soon.

GCfE Postgraduate Afternoon: Working with Languages

How to work with your language & how to make your language work for you

Date: Wednesday 25th February 2015
Time: 15.30-16:30
Venue: 420 Muirhead Tower

Postgraduate Afternoon Flier
We often hear about how the ability to speak another language gives you the edge in the job market and how being bilingual means you are sought out by potential employers, but what does this mean for those of us pursuing postgraduate research, or those who opt to venture away from traditional language-focused professions such as translating, interpreting or teaching?  Join us as we explore how you can market your foreign language skills and make them work for you when seeking employment, hearing first hand from those who have been in that position and done it successfully.

Come along to hear from Chris Packham (Careers Network) followed by a roundtable discussion featuring a selection of University of Birmingham postgraduates who have put their language skills to use in securing employment.

15:30-15:45     Introduction followed by a short talk from Chris Packham
15:45-16:10     Roundtable discussion
16:10-16:30     Networking

As always the event is open to everyone and free refreshments will be available. Feel free to drop in at any point during the hour. We hope to see you there.

The Future of the EU’s Eastern Partnership Seminar

The Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies are hosting a seminar that may be of interest. The Birmingham Seminar for Trouble in the Neighbourhood? The future of the EU’s Eastern Partnership project, in partnership with the European Commission Representation in the UK and the University of Birmingham, will take stock of recent developments in the EU’s relationship with the countries in its eastern neighbourhood: Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Belarus and Ukraine.

The seminar will also act as a launch event for the new publication Trouble in the Neighbourhood? The future of the EU’s Eastern Partnership. Free copies of the publication will be available at this event.

Date: Tuesday 17 February, 6-7.30pm

Location: Room 121, Muirhead Tower

Registration essential: The event is free and refreshments will be served but if you are interested in attending you will need to email prior to the event.

For more information:

Finally, on an unrelated note, don’t forget you have until the end of the week to submit an abstract for our conference. The annual GCfE conference is always a popular event that promotes stimulating dialogue and brings together a cross-disciplinary selection of postgraduates. If you would like to present your research send us an abstract by Friday (the 6th) of 200-300 words to

IEL Annual Lecture 2015: The EU Law Making Process

Every year the Institute of European Law hosts a lecture in which an prominent European lawyer, politician or academic present on a particular European legal topic. This year’s distinguished visitor will be Malcolm Harbour CBE (MEP 1999-2014) and the lecture is entitled: The EU Law Making Process – Engineering a Better Solution.

Date: Monday 23 February 2015

Time: 14:00 – 15:00

Venue: Avon Room – University Centre (R23 on UoB campus map)

For further information about attending please contact:

IEL 2   Malcolm Harbour CBE

Malcolm Harbour CBE, served 15 years as Conservative Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the West Midlands, including 5 years as Chairman of the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. He did not seek re-election in 2014. He has been deeply involved in advocating, developing and agreeing EU legislation. His work has encompassed the services market, manufacturing industry, the digital economy, public procurement and consumer protection. He has chaired many legislative negotiations, and brokered many compromise solutions. Before EU politics, Malcolm spent 32 years in the motor industry, as an engineer, a senior commercial executive, a consultant and a researcher. He now promotes innovation and stronger EU engagement in his home region. He is a Birmingham Science City Advisory Board member, and recently joined the Council of the University of Birmingham. He contributes to European think tanks on policies to boost the Single Market, and improve rule making. He graduated in Mechanical Sciences from Trinity College, Cambridge, and gained his Management Sciences Diploma from Aston Business School. He was awarded a CBE in 2013 for services to the UK economy.

There is increasing dissatisfaction with the time consuming and opaque nature of EU law making, and the perceived “democratic deficit” that results. Malcolm Harbour, drawing on his experience as politician and engineer, will propose a range of improvements to the legislative process that can be introduced quickly and without treaty changes. While the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union defines a linear process for co-decision legislation, in practice agreement can only be achieved by extensive “non-linear” processes, exchanges of information and informal negotiations outside formal frameworks. These processes can be radically reformed, and better integrate more intensive and structured pre-legislative consultation. Reform can also address the urgent need to step up the involvement of National Parliaments of Member States, who have weak engagement at all stages of the current process. Mr Harbour’s lecture will draw on his participation in a High Level Task Force on Institutional Reform, organised by the Centre for European Policy Studies. The findings are published on the CEPS web site


9th Annual Conference: CFP Extended

The call for papers for our 9th annual conference has been extended until 6 February 2015 meaning that you still have time to submit an abstract to present at this year’s conference. The 9th Annual Conference will take place on the 25th-26th March 2015 at the University of Birmingham with this years theme being Dissident Voices? Europe Past, Present and Future.

The GCfE Annual Conference is always a popular event that brings together postgraduates from across Europe working in a wide variety of disciplines. There are a number of bursaries available to assist with the cost of travel and accommodation for postgraduates. The conference is free to attend and lunches, coffee and tea are provided. There will also be a conference meal in town the first evening (by invitation only).

If you would like to present your research at this year’s conference please send a 200-300 word abstract, along with your contact details, to by 6 February 2015.

Please see below for more details about this years theme and panel suggestions:

Looking back over 2014, it can be said that it was a remarkable year for the United Kingdom. With Scotland’s referendum on independence and as the centenary of World War One, it was a year in which the British public contemplated huge future change, while remembering the events of many decades ago. In Europe, tensions and transitions in Ukraine dominated the headlines and elections to the European Parliament took centre stage.

Even before the terrible événements in Paris on 7th January, 2015 promised to be a tumultuous year, politically, both from a UK and European perspective. The month of May will see the UK’s next general election, which may not only change the political landscape of the British Isles, but have repercussions for Europe, given the promise of an in-out referendum on Europe if the Conservative Party wins by a majority.

In Europe’s Year of Development we welcome discussion on the past, the present, and what the future may hold. The Graduate Centre for Europe’s Ninth Annual Conference aims to promote dynamic cross-disciplinary dialogue, foster valuable links between postgraduates and established academics across different areas, and develop new and exciting ways of thinking within ‘European’ research.

We would welcome proposals for individual papers and panels on any aspect Europe past, present for future in relation to politics, economics, history, law, literature, education, geography, environmental sciences etc. Panels have been proposed on the following themes and further panels or individual papers are also invited, but are not limited to, the following topics:

· Voices of the Past: Lessons from History
· European Policy In Practice
· Voices on the Page
· Debate and Dialogue across Europe

Participants are also encouraged to submit their conference papers for publication in the Graduate Centre for Europe’s postgraduate journal, the Birmingham Journal for Europe.

We look forward to receiving your proposals and welcoming you to Birmingham in March.

GCfE 9th Annual Conference: Call for Papers

Our Annual Conference will take place this year on the 25th and 26th of March 2015 at the University of Birmingham. This year’s conference is entitled Dissident Voices? Europe Past, Present and Future and the call for proposed abstracts is now open. As always our conference is interdisciplinary and open to all postgraduate researchers. For more information and proposed panel ideas (though other ideas are always welcome) please see our call here: 9th Annual Conference Call for Papers

Abstracts of 200-300 words are due by the 23rd of January 2015 and can be emailed to There will be a limited number of bursaries to assist with travel and accommodation expenses for speakers. Please let us know when you submit your abstract if you would be interested in being considered for a bursary.

GCfE CAL Development Fund Poster

GCfE PosterThe 8th annual GCfE conference would not have been possible without the support of the College of Arts and Law Development Fund. The above poster depicts a bit about the GCfE 8th annual conference in relation to how the CAL Dev fund supported our project.

The GCfE poster is one of 21 posters made depicting conferences, seminars and other projects supported by the CAL Dev fund. Posters were displayed in the Arts building and currently can be found online here:

Until the end of the week you can also vote for our poster, and by that of course we mean your favourite poster, here:

Information about our 9th annual conference, including dates, theme and a call for abstracts, should be up soon.

GCfE Committee Meeting: Get Involved

For those of you still deliberating on whether or not to involve yourself with a postgraduate forum this year, the GCfE are still looking for people to get involved with our committee for this academic year. To this end, we invite you to attend our next committee meeting on Wednesday 19th November 2014 at 11am, Muirhead Tower room 429.

Feel free to come along for more information and to potentially get invovled. We are looking for both general members to help run events and postgraduates interested in undertaking a particular role (e.g. Communications Officer, Marketing Officer, etc). You also have the opportunity to get involved on a less formal basis when you have the free time. This includes helping plan our conference, running a smaller event and/or contributing to the BJfE journal and GCfE newsletter. No matter how you choose to get involved you’ll have the opportunity to get to know other postgraduates and boost your CV.

The agenda for the next meeting includes a discussion about the 9th annual GCfE conference, an update on the journal and plans for smaller events (e.g. workshops, seminars and roundtables).

We hope to see you there. In the event you cannot make the meeting but still want to get involved with either events and/or publications please send an email to with a bit about yourself and what parts of the committee you would like to be part of.

Birmingham Journal for Europe – Extended Deadline and Expanded CFP Theme

The Birmingham Journal for Europe is at this time extending its deadline for the submission of articles to the 30th of November 2014. As the GCfE Publications team has been involved with another publications project on the theme of “Travelling Europe” we are at this time also opening the call to include further papers on any topic relevant to research in or about Europe. As always the BJfE is open to postgraduates researching within any academic field currently offered within the University of Birmingham including politics, sociology, economics, technology, communications, medical and biosciences, education, law, history, music, culture, literature, environmental sciences, engineering and physical sciences, modern languages and business. The journal is peer reviewed by academics within the university who specialise in the field closest to research area of the author in order to ensure all papers are of the highest academic standard.

Our full call for papers can be found here: Birmingham Journal for Europe 2014-2015 CfP

Please note that papers need to be approximately 6,000 words in length, be submitted as a Word document and most conform to the MHRA style guide (a quick guide is attached to the CFP) prior to submitting your paper. Papers that do not meet these requirements will not be considered for initial review. If you have any queries about the requirements please do not hesitate to contact the publications team at

Authors will retain the full copyright to their work and may use it for any purpose (including commercial) in the future. However, we do ask that you do not submit papers to us that you have currently submitted to other journals and that you notify us in the event that you submit your article elsewhere in the future (i.e. after the next issue of the BJfE is published).

If you are looking to submit book reviews and/or notes we will launch a second call for these shorter submissions after the closing date of our article deadline. Keep an eye on our pages for more information about this.

We look forward to receiving your articles and invite our readers to circulate this call for papers amongst interested postgraduates.


November POLSIS Seminars

The GCfE would like to bring to your attention to seminars that may be of interested taking place in the Department of Political Science and International Studies this November. The first seminar is entitled ‘EU: The State of the Union’ and will be taking place from 5pm – 6:30pm on the 12th of November. For those of you who regularly attend POLSIS seminars please note that this is a later start time than usual. Venue and speaker details can be found on the poster below.

POLSIS - EU The State of the Union

The second seminar is dedicated to ‘Reflections on the Revolutions in Europe: 1989 a Quarter of a Century On’ and will take place on the 19th of November. This seminar will take place at the usual time of 4pm – 5:30pm in 121 Muirhead Tower. This second seminar is a joint POLSIS/CREES event and will be chaired by Richard Connolly. The speakers at this session will be Michael Bernhard (Florida), Graham Timmins & Tim Haughton (University of Birmingham).

Both seminars are free to attend and all are very welcome for what should prove to be some very fascinating discussions.