What We Looked At: Pictures from the Exhibition at Sydney Cooper Gallery

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New House of Commons Briefing by CCCU academic Dr Mark Bennister

Yesterday, British Prime Minister Theresa May made her second appearance before the Liaison Committee, a year after her only other appearance. These sessions with the Prime Minister have occurred since 2002 and have now become an established part of the scrutiny mechanisms available to Parliament.

Dr Mark Bennister, Reader in Politics at Canterbury Christ Church University and one of only 5 Parliamentary Fellows in the House of Commons, has now produced a briefing with the House of Commons Library that sets out the background to the evidence sessions. You can read the full briefing by clicking here or on the cover page below.

***UPDATED*** Professor Amelia Hadfield’s Inaugural Lecture: Reform, Rework or Reject? Charting Britain’s European Future

Professor Amelia Hadfield, Jean Monnet Professor and Director of the Centre for European Studies (CEFEUS) at Canterbury Christ Church University, will give her inaugural professorial lecture “Reform, Rework or Reject? Charting Britain’s European Future”.

The lecture will take place 18 January 2018, 6pm, Michael Berry Lecture Theatre, Old Sessions House, Longport, Canterbury CT1 1QU.

The event is open to the public and free of charge.

Please register by emailing theresa.gadsby-bourner@canterbury.ac.uk

***UPDATE***UPDATE***UPDATE***UPDATE***UPDATE***UPDATE***

We are excited to announce that the inaugural lecture will be preceded by a “Brush Up Your Brexit” Roundtable featuring a range of distinguished speakers including Professor Mark Hammond (CCCU) as Chair and Stephen Fidler (Wall Street Journal as Moderator) as well as Professor Michael Bruter (LSE), Professor Andrej Zwitter (Groningen) Dr Kathryn Simpson (Manchester Metropolitan) and Dr Benjamin Martill (LSE).

Time Item
16:00-17:00 Brush Up Your Brexit Roundtable

(Old Sessions House, Of50)

17:15-18:00 Wine Reception

(Old Sessions House, Foyer)

18:00-19:00 Inaugural Lecture

(Old Sessions House, Michael Berry Lecture Theatre)

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow visits Parliamentary Studies Class

The Politics team at Canterbury Christ Church University were delighted to host The Rt Hon John Bercow, current Speaker of the House of Commons, on Thursday 30 November 2017. Mr Speaker was fulfilling a promise he made to visit all universities currently teaching the official Parliamentary Studies module in collaboration with the Houses of Parliament. He addressed a private session with final year students, chaired by Dr Mark Bennister who leads the module. Politics staff as well as A-Level students from our partner school, the Canterbury Academy, were also present.

The Rt Hon John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons (centre), with CCCU Pro-Vice Chancellor David Shepherd (left) and Dr Mark Bennister (right), during the private session with Parliamentary Studies students.

Mr Speaker spent over an hour and a half answering questions from students on a wide range of subjects relating to current parliamentary issues. Subjects included minority government, the modern role of the Speaker, Lords reform, current challenges for parliament, and the Speaker’s own political journey.

The session was a great success as one student commented “I’m sure I speak for everyone in the Parliament Studies class when I say that it was a genuinely amazing opportunity to be able to ask him questions in a private setting, and it’s an event that I’m sure will stay with us for a long time”.

Mr Speaker went on to deliver the first lecture in the Vice Chancellor’s Public Lecture series to a packed audience of 450 members of staff, students and the public. The public lecture ‘The Making of a Modern Parliament’ was also a great success as Mr Speaker gave an entertaining and highly informative talk on the role of Speaker and the reform of Parliament.

The Rt Hon John Bercow during his public lecture “The Making of a Modern Parliament”

Dr Mark Bennister has been teaching Parliamentary Studies for 3 years. The Politics and International Relations programme were awarded the module in a competitive process in 2015. You can find more information about the module here https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/social-and-applied-sciences/psychology-politics-and-sociology/politics-and-international-relations/learning-and-teaching/parliamentary-studies.aspx

Canterbury Christ Church University Team participates in discussion on federalism in Myanmar

Two staff members of Canterbury Christ Church University’s Politics and International Relations team have recently been involved in discussions about the democratisation, peace-building and federalisation process in Myanmar/Burma.

Dr Soeren Keil, Reader in Politics and IR was the Academic Lead for a new Myanmar Federalism Leadership Programme (MFLP), a 10-day programme to prepare activists from civil society, the administration, ethnic armed organisations and political parties for the future discussions on federalism in the country. This is particularly timely, as the next round of the 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference is scheduled for January 2018. Soeren worked in Nay Pyi Taw, the country’s capital city, from 16-26 November 2017. He represented Canterbury Christ Church at the event, and was in charge of multiple lectures, discussion rounds and inputs. The event was co-organised with UN Women, the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Centre for Development and Ethnic Studies. After his work at the MFLP, Soeren participated in two further events, one with a number of civil society activists in Yangon (Rangoon) from 3-5 December 2017 on ‘Advanced Discussions on Federalism’, and another event as a discussion forum with the civil society forum for peace, a collection of several NGOs from across Burma.

Paul Anderson, PhD student in Politics and International Relations, also contributed to the MFLP with a lecture on autonomy, secession and minority rights, with particular reference to Scotland and Catalonia. In addition to this, Paul spent five days (20 to 24 November) at the Lower Myanmar Civil Service Campus in Phaunggyi, training 35 civil servants on the topics of democracy, decentralisation and federalism.

Both Soeren and Paul contributed to raising Christ Church’s profile in Myanmar/Burma and they have become well respected experts in the country, sharing their knowledge and expertise with a number of actors in the peace process, including leading NGOs, ethnic armed organisations and the civil service. Their work contributes to the wider activities of Politics and International Relations in the field of supporting transition processes in post-conflict societies, with a special focus on advice for territorial reform, decentralisation and federalism.