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School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Foreign Policy Analysis & Role Research Conference

Looking at roles has become a booming area of research in Political Science over the past decade and can help us make sense of the issues in our daily headlines. From Trump’s emerging foreign policy and responses to the Syrian conflict, to countries’ nuclear, climate and migration policies; the use of roles offers tremendous explanatory potential. It is within this context that PIR’s newest research group, the Foreign Policy Analysis & Role Research Group, organised its first conference dedicated to role research in foreign policy and international relations.

Led by three SPS PhD students, Victor Gigleux, Consuelo Thiers Huerta and Saskia Smellie, the conference brought together fellow PhD researchers and academics from the Durham University, University of Bath, St. Andrew's University, University of Heidelberg, and even the University of Helsinki. Invited speakers presented their research on a diverse range of topics, including China’s foreign policy, Iranian presidents, the EU’s role as an international actor and Scottish independence, to an audience of Masters students, PhD students and academics. The presentations were followed by a critical and reflexive panel discussion with our very own Professor for Foreign Policy, Juliet Kaarbo, on the opportunities, limitations and future research agendas for role research. The day concluded with workshops, during which the research group and invited guests were able to discuss research agendas and papers in more detail. 

The conference was a great success with overwhelming positive feedback from participants. Attendees showed a great deal of interest in learning more about the use of roles in foreign policy analysis. Participants especially enjoyed the range of research topics and the diversity of perspectives converging around common themes. The event has ignited an interest in expanding the Foreign Policy Analysis & Role Research Group in PIR into a research network of foreign policy and role researchers from across Europe and beyond. The organisers would like to thank the Graduate School and PIR for their support with this unique event, which has created a platform for collaboration and further activity in this field of research. 

To learn more about the FPA & Role Research Group, or attend our next meeting please email Saskia Smellie. You can also follow us on Twitter @roleresearch

The Conference was funded by a Graduate School Research Student Special Project Grant.

FPA Conference 2017