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(Mis)Representations of Britishness

December 6, 2012, 2:00am EET - 4:00am
No specified host institution

Northumbria University

Newcastle Upon Tyne
United Kingdom

Topic areas


The notion of Britishness has come under increasing pressure since the mid-1960s. Post-devolution, is it still possible to talk of ‘Britain’ or Britishness? Should research be grounded in terms of the four ‘home nations’ instead? Or,can Britishness still offer a model of unity, with the sum of Britain being greater than its parts?

This year we have ostensibly seen a renaissance in public British consciousness through events such as the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. Yet, with concurrent debates about constitutional change and the Scottish referendum also achieving prominence, this workshop aimsto address shifting representations and definitions of Britishness and the relevance of the term today.

Seeking to bring together postgraduate researchers from different disciplines, this one-day workshop will provide a forum to contemplate Britishness. Topics might include:

  • Changing approaches to writing about Britishness.
  • “English, I mean, British” - the ambiguity of national identity.
  • The ideas of ‘centre’ and ‘periphery’within ‘Greater Britain’.
  • Whether established institutions (for example the NHS, BBC and the monarchy) can still be seen as inclusive vehicles for the varying forms of Britishness.
  • Shifting representations of Britain, its nations and regions in the media.
  • Questioning whether recent conspicuous celebrations of Britishness can coexist with contemporary nationalisms.
  • Devolution and the effect on regional and national British patriotisms.
  • Ideas of Britishness in the British and Irish Worlds.

Keynote Address: Professor Paul Ward (University of Huddersfield)

Those wishing to give a 20 minute paper should send an abstract of no more than 200 words and a 100 word biographical statement by email to by 12 October 2012. Successful candidates will be informed by 19 October.

The workshop is organised by PhD students from the British and Irish Worlds Research Group and will be held at Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne,December, 6, 2012.

See our blog or on Twitter @BritishnessNU.

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