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On 15 March 2018, the inaugural POLSIS first-year PhDs Conference took place at Westmere house on campus. The event fostered dialogue and debate amongst first-year PhDs, senior PhD researchers and academics based in POLSIS.

The event comes from the combination of Dr Gerasimos Tsourapas idea of providing first-year PhDs with a platform for presenting and discussing their research prior to their formal Progress Reviews, with the organizational effort of three first-year PhDs students based in POLSIS: Chiara Cervasio, Donatella Bonansinga, and William Horncastle; combined with some funding from the Departmental Good Ideas Fund.  

Several POLSIS staff members and senior PhD students were invited by the organizers to act as chairs and discussants. After Dr Tim Haughton’s encouraging opening speech, discussions focused around the themes of Refugees, Human Rights, Political Interest, Political Parties, Economic and Gender Inequalities, Education, Sexual-exploitation, and International Security. The conference has also provided participants with an insightful roundtable led by Dr Daniele Albertazzi and Dr Adam Quinn, addressing the theme of “Research in the Age of Post-truth”.

The conference was successful in getting PhD researchers in POLSIS to know each other and their projects much better, and to embrace a cooperative vision of doing research which will undoubtedly contribute shaping their work in the coming years.

Tim Haughton, the head of department commented,

‘I was delighted to see our talented PhD students taking the initiative and organizing a friendly forum to present and discuss their work with fellow students and academic staff. We look forward to making this an annual event’. 

Special thanks to Ana Alecsandru, Anja Benedikt, Umer Karim, Henry Price, Daniele Albertazzi, Giuditta Fontana, Emma Foster, Tim Haughton, Charlotte Galpin, Peter Kerr, Nicola Smith, Adam Quinn, Gerasimos Tsourapas, Nicholas Wheeler and Michelle Pace for providing first-year students with insightful comments and advice. Thanks to Chiara Cervasio, Donatella Bonansinga, William Horncastle, Reem Alshamsi, Kirstin Wagner, Wen-Yu Wu, Bradley Ward, Emily Burn, Robert Skinner, Aleksandra Koluvija, Samer Libdeh, and Alejandra Garcìa Diaz Villamil for presenting their research and engaging with their peers.

Moreover, thanks also to Tricia Carr for coordinating the organization of the event and to the Department of Political Science and International Studies for financing it.