Cambridge Scholars Publishing

Last year the Graduate Centre for Europe publications committee decided to publish a collection of the 8th Annual Conference proceedings with Cambridge Scholars Publishing. The collection enabled our editorial team the chance to work on editing and producing a book, and features the scholarly work of postgraduates across all fields of European studies working in the UK and across Europe.

Travelling Europe

We tweeted about the collection’s release a few weeks ago, but officially decided to publicise the collection in conjunction with our 9th annual conference. Congratulations to all the contributors as well as our hard working editorial team for making this happen.


Wine Reception

The GCfE committee are considering producing another collection in conjunction with our 9th annual conference theme. If you would be interested in contributing to a collection around the topic of Dissidence in Europe, from the perspective of any discipline, please keep an eye on this space as we will shortly be deciding whether we will go forward with a second publication. The cfp for the next issue of the Birmingham Journal for Europe will also be available soon. BJfE is a peer-reviewed journal run by the GCfE publications team, more information about which can be found on our publications page.

For more information about the Traveling Europe collection, or to order your own copy of the book, please visit:

More updates about the 9th Annual Conference, including our keynote and roundtable sessions will be appearing in this space over the next few weeks. We would like to thank all our participants, roundtable speakers, panel chairs and our keynote Jolyon Howorth. The GCfE conference would not be possible without such fantastic contributors. We hope to see many of you back next year for what will be our 10th annual event.


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.

Eighth Annual Conference: Keynote

ImageThe 8th Annual Conference was delighted to announce Patrick Willcocks, European Policy and Urban Affairs Adviser (Birmingham), as our keynote speaker. For the last 25 years (until 2012) he has worked as an economist for local authorities. Currently, he lecturers and does consultancy work in Birmingham and has an intimate knowledge about European cities, particularly Birmingham.

During our seemingly too brief keynote session Patrick talked about why cities are important for Europe, the current challenges and global issues cities face, and what a successful European city might look like in the future.

Points of discussion included ‘smart cities’, areas of environmental and economic concern such as air quality and pollution, climate change, resource stress, unemployment and changing industries, and most importantly, the potential global impact of Africa, China and India’s urbanisation. The conclusion of this talk highlighted that while European cities are often seen as a problem they can also be the best motivators of progress; however, many things will need to change in order to make city life competitive and sustainable.


This session prompted a passionate Q+A session. This included a discussion of the role of the Arts in bigger issues and how the cultural sector can stimulate thought, change and reach the public at large in ways that other areas cannot. The session closed with a discussion comparing the performance of continental cities and the UK which led to a fascinating consideration of the role of privatisation in relation to resources and transport.

The GCfE was delighted to have hosted such an engaging and topical keynote address and further consideration of the future of European cities will surely be a point of interest at future forum events.

For more from Patrick please visit or follow him @GlobalBirminghm.

Eighth Annual Conference: Meet the Committee

ImageThe Graduate Centre for Europe could not happen without the hard work of the postgraduate steering committee. Each member has had a hand in shaping this conference, from deciding on the theme to the food, the success of this event is due to the efforts of the largest steering committee the centre has had to date.


Josie and Gail
Josie, our fabulous Co-Chair (Events), oversaw all conference tasks and personally handled communications with presenters, booking the venue and managing the budget to name just a few of her numerously well juggled activities.

As this year’s Co-Chair (Publications), Gail is responsible for managing the publications to coincide with the event, some of the photography and applying for the extra funding necessary to organise an international event of this scale.


Who didn’t enjoy those tasty conference lunches and snacks? Ivor is the man to thank for arranging such a scrumptious spread.


Zainab has been hard at work preparing for this conference since the first round of abstracts were submitted. She also helped plan the icebreaker skills session and will be taking over as the Co-Chair (Publications) in the 2014 – 2015 academic year.

Muirhead Tower has never looked so well decorated and arranged before Daria was let loose. She handmade the black and white photography boards and procured posters to ensure we felt as if we were really about to travel through Europe. Daria also helped organise the opening thesis slam.

Enrico joined the GCfE committee this year with great enthusiasm for both events and publications and has been a tremendous assist in the lead up to the conference. He arranged our conference dinner and ensured that conference delegates were well informed about the many bars and pubs in Birmingham, both on and off campus.


Emma + Amir
Our registration duo banned together in order to bring order to chaos and ensure there was a chocolate Easter bunny in every conference pack.


Tom chaired the academic roundtable, liaising with our presenters prior to the event in order to ensure an engaging and informed presentation.

With one of the most challenging jobs of all, Ola was responsible for ensuring presenters could find the venue, the hotel, a place to leave their luggage and a warm cup of coffee. She was also sure to be available to help all other committee members with their tasks, from manning registration for an interval to catching a falling poster.

These are only some of the tasks that our committee members were responsible for in the run up to and during the event.

Eighth Annual Conference: Competition Winners

ImageThis year our annual conference was delighted to include a few new elements to our programme. Thanks to the support of Cambridge Scholar’s Publishing (CSP), we were able to award two £50 CSP vouchers and boxes of chocolate in conjunction with a best paper and a thesis slam competition.

The thesis slam opened our conference, much to the delight of conference organisers, delegates and attendees. Delegates and conference guests were each allowed to compete for the chance to take home the thesis slam prize. Everyone was given about 10 minutes to come up with a 2 minute presentation that linked their research and experiences to the conference theme. Competition was tough as there were several strong candidates sharing home experiences, their artistic talents and even working in partnership to present the idea of travelling Europe. In the end there could be only one winner, and by popular vote the winner was Korbinian Erdmann who taught us all that when we travel our numerous stereotypes are packed into our bags with us. Which countries do you think offer the best food, the worst fashion, and the most unwelcoming residents?

Announced to delegates and plenary panel chairs prior to the conference, this year our conference also featured a best paper prize. Each panel chair voted for the best paper on their panel, after which the GCfE committee chose the overall winner. This prize was to be awarded to a panelist who not only presented an informed and engaging paper, but also provoked stimulating audience engagement with their topic. This conference featured some of the best papers in GCfE history, but in the end Giuseppe Sofo came out on top. Given Katie’s quote above it’s not hard to see why.

Congratulations again to our two competition winners and stay tuned for further images and news about how this well-attended and stimulating event played out.

Eighth Annual Conference: Travelling Europe

The Eighth Annual GCfE Conference ‘Travelling Europe’: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Place and Space will take place at the University of Birmingham in one week, the 26th – 27th March 2014.

Flyer_GCfE 8th Annual Conference March 2014.pdf

In an increasingly globalised world, it is now more pertinent than ever to consider travel and tourism in a European and indeed global context. The Graduate Centre for Europe is dedicated to the promotion of dynamic cross-disciplinary dialogue and the development of new and exciting ways of thinking within ‘European’ research. This conference has welcomed contributions from postgraduates across a variety of disciplines on aspects of travel and tourism within European research and will feature five plenary paper sessions considering topics such as Europeanisation, sustainable tourism, migrating identities and Europe’s relations with the world.

The Keynote address will be delivered on the first day of the conference by Patrick Willcocks, European Policy and Urban Affairs Adviser.

The second day of the conference will close with an academic roundtable discussion on “Travelling in a Globalised World: Questions of Sustainability and Responsibility” with participants including: Professor Shelley Hornstein, York University, Toronto and Dr Frank Uekotter, University of Birmingham, Birmingham. This will be followed by a wine reception.