Call for Papers

The Graduate Centre for Europe publications team has a couple of cfp announcements for our end of year GCfE Newsletter and the Birmingham Journal for Europe.

First, our GCfE Newsletter is open for submissions for short articles on any topic. This can include reports of recent conferences and seminar series, new research and works, collaborative projects, opinion pieces and so forth. The Newsletter would also be happy to run artistic pieces such as original poems, sketches and photography. For the Newsletter submissions do not have to be linked exclusively to European research, although the GCfE always loves to see more topics of this nature. If you would like to submit a short piece for publication within our final newsletter of the 2015/2016 year please email your submission as a Word Document to by 22 May 2015. If you have any queries feel free to send those our way as well. Previous versions of our newsletter can be found here:

Second, our cfp for the next issue of the Birmingham Journal for Europe is open for article submissions. This issue is accepting articles on any topic relevant to research in Europe. This is an interdisciplinary publication which is peer-reviewed by relevant academics at the University of Birmingham. In previous years this publication has been linked to our conference themes, and articles related to this year’s Dissidence theme or last year’s Travelling Europe theme are certainly welcome as we do not have journal issues on these topics. However, articles touching on other themes, topics and ideas are also encouraged as the journal moves to broaden its scope over the next year. Articles should be approximately 6000 words in length and adhere to the MHRA referencing guide. The full cfp for this issue is available on our publications tab and articles should be submitted no later than 30 November 2015. To see the previous issues of our journal please visit:

Finally, if anyone is interested in getting involved with the GCfE committee and/or publications team we are always looking for new members to get involved. The committee organises a series of events and an annual conference and the publications team edits and publishes the journal, a newsletter and this blog. If you would like to get involved please do get in touch. Official positions may be advertised soon, but there is always room for members who would like to participate in the forum without taking on a dedicated role.


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 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 Co-Chair (Events) Applications Now Open


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 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. Nicole 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.

4th Postgraduate Afternoon: Where next for Ukraine?

ImageOur final postgraduate afternoon of the 2013/2014 academic year will take place next Tuesday, the 13th of May at 3:30pm. There will be two speakers giving short presentations on the topic of Ukraine followed by an open roundtable discussion. This free event will take place in G52 of the ERI buliding (on Pritchatts Road) and is open to everyone. As always refreshments will be provided.

Don’t disappear for the summer just yet though. In addition to a few further news bulletins we still have one final social event to wrap up the year, the details of which will be posted in a couple of weeks. As always, if you have any questions, ideas for events or would like the opportunity to get involved please send us an email at

Call for Articles

The GCfE publications team is now seeking submissions for two different publications:

1. Reviews for the Birmingham Journal for Europe

We are seeking reviews of recent book/journal/article publications of approximately 1,000 words to publish with the third issue of our journal which is currently projected for mid-June.This issue will be entitled ‘Europe: Brink of Collapse or Portrait of Progress?’ and for this volume postgraduate researchers from any disciplinary background were invited to offer their own reflections on either European collapse or progress. This may explore the concept of upheaval through time and space in considering Europe’s shifting fortunes and relationships with the outside world. Conversely, papers were encouraged to examine European contributions to the ideas of growth, progress, and innovation both at present and throughout history. Published papers will focus on Europe as a whole or concentrate specifically on one or a few European nations.

Material reviewed can be on any topic and from any disciplinary background of the reviewers choosing; however, priority will be given to authors who are offering to review material that might possibly relate to the theme of this volume (i.e. collapse or progress in Europe). If you are interested please send an email to by 6 May 2014 and let us know what book/article/journal you would be interested in reviewing. Please expect to have the article written by 10 June 2014 (we will confirm by the 10th of May if we think the material you plan to review is suitable for our publication). We are unfortunately unable to provide materials to review and are therefore looking for reviews of publications that you own or have access to.

This is an online publication and the articles would be published with our journal on our website.  This is the first issue that is projected to include reviews and we are looking for authors who would be willing to help us expand upon this current publication.

To see our journal please visit:

2. Content Articles for the GCfE Newsletter

The third issue of the GCfE Newsletter is due to be published at the end of the exam term. We are currently seeking content articles which are expected to be around 250-500 words in length. The topic is chosen by you the author and can be anything including a conference or project review, thoughts on current events, etc. Previous topics have included a discussion of research at CERN and the Grimsel test site, the upcoming EU elections and an ongoing research project into Medieval Spanish. If you are interested please email us at by 6 May 2014 and let us know that you would like to submit a content article and on what topic. You will be expected to submit this article by no later than 23 May 2014. For this publication we will aim to respond to emails within a few business days to confirm our interest in your article.

To see our previous newsletters please visit:

EU Hustings Event


We are pleased to confirm that the next GCfE event will be an EU Hustings panel co-organised with the Institute for German Studies (IGS) and Europe Direct. This event will take place in Lecture Room G15 Muirhead Tower on Thursday, 1 May 2014 from 17:00 – 18:30. The panel will be followed by a wine reception in the foyer.

Come along to find out more about the candidates and their polices. We will be pleased to welcome Anthea McIntyre, MEP (Conservatives), Neena Gill (Labour Party), Will Duckworth (Green Party), Phil Bennion, MEP (Liberal Democrats), Nicole Sinclaire, MEP (We Demand A Referendum Party) and Bill Etheridge (UKIP). Each panelist will have three minutes to make an entry statement detailing what they will do for you if they are (re-)elected to the European Parliament. This will be followed by a Q+A session. All questions must be directed to the panel and not to individual candidates (moderated by Dr Isabelle Hertner)

This is a free event but you must register to confirm your place. You can do so here:

Eighth Annual Conference: Wrap Up

The 8th annual conferences was one of our most intellectual engaging and smoothest operations to date. Of course it wasn’t all grand insights and

Birmingham Walking Tour


Ivor, a member of our journal team, took a reprieve from his publication duties to organise a delightful walking tour across Birmingham for our visiting delegates. Although even some of us from within the University of Birmingham found us learning a few new things about the city we currently call home.


Of course no trip to the city centre would be complete with pausing for a group photo around the famous Bullring bull.


Nor could we have in good conscience brought together so many delegates from across Europe without treating them to a bit of that beautiful English weather. The walking tour was a well enjoyed break for conference delegates, guests and organisers alike. It allowed the group a chance to see a small slice of Birmingham and an opportunity for a few informal chats and new connections.

Conference Dinner


Apparently one of the running themes for this year’s conference was to allow the publication’s teams to handle the social affairs. The dinner was organised by journal officer Enrico at Red Peppers in the Mailbox. With an ample three courses to choose from and plenty of wine the conference dinner was definitely one of the highlights of this event.


Closing Wine Reception


No conference would be complete without a farewell glass of wine. The reception was the perfect way to say goodbye to friends old and new.

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Committee Chairs

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2012/13 + 2013/14 GCfE Co-Chairs

To close the final blog post for the GCfE 8th Annual Conference we’ve included a couple of images of the committee co-chairs for both this and the previous academic year. On the left we have our Co-Chair (Events): Josie (2013/14) and Annie (2012/13) who have both done amazing jobs hosting high quality GCfE events, in particular the annual conference. On the right are our Co-Chair (Publications): Ivor (2012/13) and Gail (2013/14) who have worked tireless both to get the Birmingham Journal for Europe back on track and help expand our GCfE literary outreach, which includes this blog.

We hope everyone who was able to attend the GCfE 8th Annual Conference had a fantastic experience and that those of you following along through this blog have both been well entertained and motivated to consider sending in your conference abstract next year.

Eighth Annual Conference: Academic Panel

The conference closed with an invigorating academic roundtable that pulled together some of the many themes central to this conference. The topic was “Travelling in a Globalised World: Questions of Sustainability and Responsibility” and the discussion was chaired by our own communications officer, Tomos Davies.


Our speakers were academics who were involved in other aspects of the conference. First up was Frank Uekoetter, an academic in history from the University of Birmingham. Next we were delighted to welcome back Patrick Willcocks who was gave the keynote address on the first day of the conference. Shelly Hornstein travelling to us all the way from Toronto closed the panel.


Each panelist considered notions of sustainability and responsibility in relation to their different disciplines and backgrounds. Questions and discussion points included whether a difference exists between responsibility and sustainability, what are the requirements of a sustainable destination, how do our perspectives on sustainability differ comparing rural and urban areas, is ecotourism potentially an oxymoron, what are the advantages and disadvantages of events based tourism strategies and who bears the primary responsibility for sustainability (e.g. tourists, government, local communities, businesses). The roundtable was a great way to end the academic portion of the conference and like the plenary sessions that preceded provided an ample opportunity to discuss and debate the oft overlooked considerations of travelling.

There will be one final blog report to wrap up the social side of our travels in Birmingham. After which keep an eye on this page as we’ll shortly be detailing our final events for the year including the EU Hustings event that is being organised in collaboration with the Institute for German Studies, our 4th and final Postgraduate Afternoon and a pub quiz social to wrap up the year.