I am co-organising an event at this year’s Bloomsbury Festival examining the past, present and future of the (Dis)United Kingdom


Sunday 22 October 2017 | 1.15pm – 2.45pm

Event title: Four Conversations: A United Kingdom?

Location: Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL

ScotRes in association with Bloomsbury Festival 2017

The relationships between the constituent parts of the United Kingdom has arguably never been more divided, nor have demands for various forms of independence been more vocal. This in-the-round event brings together four speakers to ask each other how they perceive the United (or Disunited) Kingdom. Each speaker will have an association with either England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland and each will have varying specialisms. They will bring to the conversation a variety of constitutional standpoints.


Daryl Leeworthy is an associate tutor in history and politics at the Department for Adult and Continuing Education (DACE), Swansea University. He is an expert on the labour history of modern Wales and has also published on sporting heritage, the LGBT movement, and relations between Welsh nationalism and the Welsh Left. His next book, Labour Country, a study of radical politics and democracy in South Wales, is published by Parthian as part of its new Modern Wales series in 2018. He is currently writing a biography of the Rhondda-born novelist and writer, Gwyn Thomas (1913-1981), which has also been commissioned by Parthian.

Jennifer Thomson is a Lecturer in Comparative Politics at the University of Bath. Her research focuses on devolution in the UK and women’s rights in post-conflict societies. Her first book, forthcoming 2018, addresses abortion right in contemporary Northern Ireland.

Ewen Cameron is the Sir William Fraser Professor of Scottish History at the University of Edinburgh, where he has taught since 1993. His research concerns the role of the state in the Scottish Highlands, the history of land reform, Scottish political history and the history of Scottish Education. Among his books are Land for the People? The British Government and the Scottish Highlands (1996); Impaled on a Thistle: Scotland since 1880 (2010). He is currently Head of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh.

J.D. Taylor is author of Island Story: Journeys Through Unfamiliar Britain, shortlisted for the Orwell prize this year. He lectures in history and philosophy at Goldsmiths, University of London, and the Mary Ward Centre.


Follow the conversation on Twitter @Scot_Res and the event hashtag #4viewsUK.

#LeaderImage – Exploring, analysing and challenging attitudes towards gender and leadership in images of politicians in the digital age

I am co-convening a session at the Association for Art Historians annual conference in April 2018. See the Call for Papers below:

During the 2017 UK General Election campaign, Theresa May presented herself as ‘strong and stable’ to try and convince the public she was a suitable Prime Minister. May’s inference of physically masculine attributes was an attempt to instil confidence. Her actions are reflected in themes discussed in Wendy Brown’s Manhood and Politics: A Feminist Reading of Political Theory.

In response to a culture whereby masculinity equates good leadership, digitally literate individuals are increasingly manipulating images of politicians to convey opinions on projected gender identities. For example, in 2017, supporters of Jeremy Corbyn Photo-shopped his head onto the muscular body of James Bond, while doubters superimposed his face onto ‘weak and wobbly’ jelly. Using screen grabs, captions, memes or, like these examples, Photoshop, some individuals feel liberated to create an online war of pictures, informed by ideas regarding gender and leadership, in the run up to elections and referendums.

The session convenors use observations on manipulated images disseminated during the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum to initiate a global summit on attitudes towards gender and leadership in political imagery – the purpose being to stimulate debate on boundaries in online spaces, for such images are impacting elections and perpetuating regressive and dangerous gender norms. Contributions on how the interplay between gender and leadership manifests online in any region are welcome. Papers on how technology can disrupt entrenched ideologies regarding this interplay are also encouraged, as are papers that examine historical links between digitally manipulated images and other political art.

With this session, we hope to evaluate freedom vs. censorship in online spaces and to explore the art historian’s role, purpose and alliances in an image-saturated post-truth world. Therefore, we encourage potential contributors to think broadly about how images like those mentioned above, and the processes of their creation and presentation, relate to historical specialisms in various fields.

How to submit a paper:

To offer a paper please email your paper proposals direct to the session convenor(s).

Fern Insh, Courtauld Institute of Art,

Kevin Guyan, Researcher, Equality Challenge Unit,

You need to provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any). Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because the title is what appears online, in social media and in the printed programme. You should receive an acknowledgement of receipt of your submission within two weeks.

Deadline for submissions: 6 November 2017

ScotRes – launching 30 May 2017

Launch of London-based research forum to explore themes around Scottish independence

I am excited to announce the launch of ScotRes, a new London-based research forum to explore themes around Scottish independence, on 30 May 2017.

On 28 March 2017, a majority in the Scottish Parliament voted in support of a second independence referendum – the question is no longer ‘if’ but ‘when’ the referendum will take place.

Research will underpin the arguments put forward by both sides. I hope that ScotRes will provide a space for London-based researchers, who support Scottish independence, to share and develop their work ahead of the next referendum.

ScotRes will focus on one theme each month and open with a short talk from one or more researchers on that subject. This will be followed by chaired questions and informal discussion.

For further information visit the ScotRes website or follow on Twitter.