This July 5-9th 2021, we are hosting our second international virtual conference, Random Access Memories, a series of online panels showcasing early career scholars’ research and providing a forum for dialogue and feedback from experienced discussants.

This conference comes in the wake of our hugely successful virtual conference last year, #BecauseTheInternet, we’re once again challenging how conferences should be done in the name of radically new approaches to accessibility, while taking into consideration

Moreover, for some colleagues in-person was a format which never worked well. For scholars without funding, in-person conferences can be unaffordable. For scholars with disabilities and chronic conditions, they can be exclusionary. For those from countries not preferred by the visa rules of host countries, they are simply inaccessible.

With all that in mind, we’re inviting early career scholars and ECN members to be part of something which we don’t see as a second-best replacement, but an exciting and necessary part of the future of academia and the study of politics.

How it will work

We will be hosting the virtual conference via an alteration to last years the content delivery approach (which you can read more about here). Each panel will be hosted on its own page, with presenters providing an asynchronous video presentation of around 15 minutes. Each panel will then have two avenues for feedback and discussion:

Firstly, each panel will come in with a seasoned discussant with expertise in the panel’s subject area who will provide each paper with expert feedback

Secondly, each page will have comment sections where people will be able to give feedback or ask additional questions – and where presenters can respond. These allow the presentors to network and discus about their research in a friendly environment.

The panels will be created in response to the papers received and accepted. There is no specific overall theme of the conference, but we will place your research in a subject relevant panel.

We will provide guidance ‘how to guides’ for all participants on how best to prepare their conference videos.

About the Early Career Network

The Political Studies Association (PSA) is committed to supporting the next generation of political scientists through its Early Career Network (ECN). The PSA ECN exists to represent the interests of postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers and early career academics within the PSA. It opens a space that specifically addresses the interests and needs of postgraduates and early career researchers in an independent, peer-based environment, while still getting support and guidance from the Executive Committee of the PSA when required.

You can be a member of the PSA’s ECN from when you started a doctoral degree until three years after the completion of a doctoral viva. Only £20 a year Membership – it’s a full PSA membership, at a reduced price. Click here to join.

Who Runs the ECN?

The ECN is ran by a five member committee of fellow early career researchers and PhD Students who consist of:

Dr. Heather Alberro

Role: Chair
Institution:  Nottingham Trent University

Dr. Nick Kirsop-Taylor

Role: Secretary
Institution: University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus

Dr. Lawrence McKay

Role: Treasurer
Institution: University of Manchester

Dr. Liam Mcloughlin

Role: Communications Officer
Institution: Birkbeck, University of London

About the website

What’s the name of the conference about?

The ECN has a little tradition where we name our conferences (or panels of conferences) after a music album related to where the conference is being hosted. As our last two conferences have been hosted online, we’ve switched to albums about the internet or technology. Our first virtual conference, Because The Internet, was named after the 2013 album by Childish Gambino (Donald Glover). This year we pay homage to Daft Punk’s 2013 album!

Environmental impact

The ECN specifically chose a website host with a clear environmental policy. As such, our website host maintains a 100% energy consumption commitment and maintains a carbon neutral commitment.

Web Accessibility

We have tested this website against WCAG 2.0 compliance, and A11Y colour contract measures. If you are a participant facing any issues in accessing content within this website, please let us know by emailing the ECN committee. Our contact details can be found at: https://www.psa.ac.uk/specialist-groups/early-career-network

This website was built in-house by the ECN’s communication officer, so if you have any technical questions about the website setup, please feel free to contact them.