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News and Events


The School of Politics and International Relations holds a variety of public events showcasing high-profile speakers who are experts in their field through a series of research seminars, alumni events and annual lectures.

We pride ourselves on running collaborative events with other organisations and open our events to staff, students and external visitors. 

  • Events and Conferences
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Media Coverage

16th March 2012

Times Higher Education

Dr Judith Bara's review of Sarah Childs and Paul Webb’s book Sex, Gender and the Conservative Party: From Iron Lady to Kitten Heels appears in this week’s THE. She describes it as a “meticulous academic study” that questions whether David Cameron’s Conservative Party has changed significantly in terms of promoting gender equality. Childs and Webb argue that Cameron has “failed to capitalise on opportunities to raise the level of women’s descriptive representation further because of opposition within the party”.

15th March 2012


Dr Christopher Phillips comments on the slowing of momentum for Syrian rebels since the Arab Spring, in CNN’s overview of the conflict in Syria. He says that this is partly due to the assumption that the government would not use the level of force that it has, adding: “Initially al-Assad had to fabricate the existence of an armed opposition in Syria, but the emergence of such groups gave the regime pretext to crack down so heavily.” He also comments on the role of external powers.

8th March 2012


Dr Christopher Phillips appeared on Newsnight’s report about the Syrian uprising, commenting that the Syrian government believe that they could stay in power, with a smaller social base but powerful security force, unless the West chooses to intervene as they did in Libya. While Syria's deputy oil minister defected this week, the government has remained otherwise unified. Dr Phillips also appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live.

7th March 2012

The Guardian

Dr Christopher Phillips wrote an analysis in the Guardian about Syria. He wrote: "There is an assumption that Bashar al-Assad's military solution to the crisis in Syria is hopeless - that no matter how many centres of resistance like Baba Amr he brutally crushes, the opposition won't be quelled and the fall of his regime, whether it takes months or years, is inevitable."

27th February 2012

BBC World Service

Dr Christopher Phillips appeared on the BBC World Service and BBC News 24 this week talking about Syria, the impact of new sanctions targeting the regime, and reactions to President Assad’s referendum on a new constitution.

10th February 2012

Bloomberg Business Week

Dr Christopher Phillips was quoted in Bloomberg Business Week. America is backing Turkey as it seeks to take a leading role in organising international pressure on Syria to end growing violence. The importance of Turkey to the US has been “magnified” by the global and regional situation, said Dr Chris Phillips. Turkey is “placing itself as the key bridging state between the West and the wider Muslim and Arab world,” said Phillips. For that to work, he said, Turkey “needs close relationships with the US”.

8th February 2012

France 24

Dr Rainbow Murray appeared on France 24 to discuss the role of women in the forthcoming French presidential elections. She explained why there are no women candidates for the two main parties, and what parties should do to ensure they have women candidates in the future. She also commented on the treatment of male and female candidates by the French media, and explained that the absence of women was not because women simply were not good enough to do the job.

6th February 2012

France 24   France 24 (part 2)

Dr Christopher Phillips appeared on France 24’s live debate on Syria and the massacre in Homs, the central city currently undergoing shelling by government forces. The panel, which includes Syrian activist Majd Eid, Professor Anton Koslov of the American Graduate School of International Diplomacy and Bilal Saab of the Monterey Institute of International Studies, discuss the next steps following the Russian and Chinese veto of a UN resolution calling on President Bashar al-Asad to step down. Dr Phillips appears at 4.30mins.

2nd February 2012

Times Higher Education

Prof Mike Kenny was listed as an award winner. His £99,257 Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust will fund his study on the politics of English nationhood.

31st January 2012


Dr Christopher Phillips has spoken to CNN about the anti-government uprisings in Syria, focusing on the role of the Arab League and international community. He says: "The presence of [Arab League] monitors served to galvanize the opposition, and we saw an increased number of demonstrations and anti-government activity during that time period." Dr Phillips also comments on the religious aspects of the uprising: “President al-Assad belongs to the Alawite Muslim sect while Sunni Muslims form the majority in Syria. The older Sunni merchant class that feel the city is theirs rightfully are now turning on the Alawites, who they see as these recent migrants that don't actually belong in the city.”

26th January 2012

Political Studies Review

Dr Lasse Thomassen has reviewed Contemporary Political Movements and the Thought of Jacques Rancière: Equality in Action, by Todd May. The book is described by Dr Thomassen as “useful for those with an interest in [French Philospher] Rancière’s work, as well as those with a practical or theoretical interest in radical politics. It is very well written and makes Rancière and his otherwise idiosyncratic technology accessible to a larger audience”.

22nd January 2012

Bloomberg Business Week

Dr Christopher Phillips has commented on Syria’s plans to introduce a managed float of its currency next week. The move will allow the pound to devalue after recent demands for foreign currency drove a surge in black-market rates. “This is a conscious decision by the regime and the bank to allow some kind of inflation,” said Dr Phillips. “Clearly they want to use their reserves sparingly, and maintaining the low value that the Syrian pound has had for the last five to 10 years clearly is no longer a priority for them.”

22nd January 2012

BBC Radio Wales Sunday Supplement

Dr Françoise Boucek appeared on BBC Radio Wales on Sunday to discuss the prospect of a referendum on independence in Scotland. She describes a key difference between the separatist movements in Quebec and Scotland- in Quebec the movement was tied up with “the politics of language”. Dr Boucek and presenter Vaughan Roderick raise the issue of whether the future of a state is a matter for the whole state or for the part of the state that may or may not decide to leave- for example, is the future of Scotland an issue for the whole of the UK or just for Scotland?

13th January 2012

British Politics and Policy at LSE blog

Dr Françoise Boucek has written for the LSE’s Politics blog about the Scottish referendum, establishing parallels with the Canadian experience and Quebec independence referendums. She offers a timeline of Canada’s constitutional crises and says that “this week’s opening salvo on the timing of any Scottish referendum heralds the beginning of the first battle”, before addressing some of the questions and issues.

12th January 2012


Dr Christopher Phillips commented on a recent speech by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In his fourth national address since protests began in March, al-Assad said to a crowd at Damascus University that “victory is near” and a campaign by foreign media against Syria has “failed”. “The content of the speech was very similar to what we saw in earlier speeches, where he blamed conspiracies, the West, the outside world for what was happening in Syria,” said Dr Phillips. “He offered a few superficial acknowledgments of faults and a few superficial ‘reforms,’ and a referendum on a constitution in March but there wasn't anything of any substance, it was mostly defiant.”

12th November 2011

USA Today

James Heartfield, a School Teaching Assistant, says EU must come to terms with shifting balance of power now Germany & France call shots.

1st September 2011

Bangkok Post

Dr Lee Jones was one of more than 100 international scholars to sign a joint letter to the Thai Prime Minister, calling for a review of the Computer Crimes Act 2007. The letter highlights claims of human rights violations in Thailand and the arrest of independent media icon, Chiranuch Premchaiporn after her news website published comments that criticised the Thai monarchy.

10th August 2011

Television de Radio Canada (6 o'clock news) (no link available)

Speaking in French, Dr Rainbow Murray commented on the causes and consequences of the recent riots in Britain.  With David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson all on holiday when the riots erupted, Rainbow suggests the government was caught off guard and has been slow to convince anyone that it has got a grip on the situation. At the height of the tourist season and less than a year from the Olympics, this is not the image that London would wish to present to the rest of the world, she noted. (Dr Murray was also interviewed twice on this subject for Radio Canada.)

5th July 2011

French Radio London (no link available)

Speaking in French, Dr Rainbow Murray was a guest this week on French Radio London’s Prêt à Parler show.  Rainbow was talking about French parity law and why, despite this law, France still compares relatively unfavourably to its European neighbours in terms of women's representation. The discussion considered whether female politicians are more likely to act for women, and why it matters who our representatives are. The Dominique Strauss-Kahn affair and its impact on the forthcoming general election was considered, as was the evolution of the French political party system.

1st July 2011

We Are

Dr Jeffery Webber contributed to the We Are Many website, talking about his books Red October and From Rebellion to Reform.  

2nd July 2011

The Times (no link available)

With fewer homes currently being built than at any time since the 1920s, has written an article suggesting that in order to ease the building of new homes ‘Nimbys’ must be offered financial incentives such as compensation or lower council tax. He believes that “we can afford a more liberal attitude to new development” and that “changes to the National Planning Policy Framework will do little to undermine the pervasive Nimbyism at the heart of our planning system”. He supports the devolution of planning powers to parish councils or neighbourhood committees and suggests that market forces will encourage developers to build “more architecturally worthy or green homes”.

13th June 2011

Against the Grain, KPFA

Dr Jeff Webber talks about the Socialist movements in Bolivia that led to the election of Evo Morales.

22nd May 2011

Icelandic RUV

Dr Claes Belfrage was interviewed on Icelandic RUV about the financial crisis and how Iceland was recovering from it. Together with colleagues from Swansea University and Bifrost University, Claes is researching the global financial crisis and recovery process with a particular focus on Iceland.

17th May 2011

The Guardian, Education

Queen Mary has been placed 36th in the Guardian's University Guide and the School of Politics and IR has been placed 10th.

11th May 2011

London School of Economics Blog

In an article about national independence, Dr Françoise Boucek compares the recent election win for the Scottish National Party with that of the Parti Québécois in the 1970s

9th May2011

Radio Canada

Dr Françoise Boucek was interviewed on the Canadian French station 'Radio Canada' about the UK referendum on AV and more generally about the reform of the 'first-past-the-post' voting system.

3rd March 2011

Public Service Europe.

Professor Montserrat Guibernau discusses the role of the internet in political change across North Africa and the Arab world. She writes: “It is absolutely baffling to witness the readiness of large numbers of people prepared to blindly trust the messages posted on Facebook and Twitter to the point of considering them much more reliable than the information facilitated by news agencies, governments or non-governmental organisations.”

9th March 2011

Upside Down World,

Dr Jeffery Webber talks about Bolivia's social movement and the course of Evo Morales' MAS government.

4th March 2011

The Chicago Tribune, 

 Iraqi politician Iyad Allawi has refused to head a strategic council in parliament arguing that the Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has broken his promises about its purpose. says these comments are probably a move by the Prime Minister’s opponents to unseat him. He says: “I think Maliki will see it as a threat, partly because he is deeply paranoid and partly because it is.”

2nd March 2011

The Future of Women in Chemistry and Science,

Dr Rainbow Murray participates in an online conference about gender stereotypes and leadership

25th February 2011

What universities really want from pupils,

Marketing literature from schools is filled with positive feedback about the International Baccalaureate Diploma, which is offered as alternative to A-levels. Universities will now be asked to play a greater role in sixth form education and feedback on how well students are prepared for their undergraduate studies. Dr Lee Jones contributes.

16th February 2011

REAR VISION, ABC Radio National

Dr Rainbow Murray contributed to a debate on the likelihood of the far right French National Front becoming a mainstream party.

10th February 2011

Times Higher Education – G2 p.7/8

Dr Lee Jones responds to claims made by National Union of Students president Aaron Porter, who says he was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse at a recent protest. “Aaron Porter was not subjected to anti-Semitic abuse. He was referred to as “a Tory too” in chants by protesters. It is hardly surprising that Porter should make this mistake, of course, because he spends most of his time boycotting the marches where similar chants can be heard,” writes Dr Jones

24th January


discussed Tony Blair’s appearance in front of the Chilcot Inquiry that took place on Friday.

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