University Press Redux Continued

Posted on November 30, 2016 by Anthony Cond

Following the success of the founding University Press Redux conference, organised by Liverpool University Press (LUP) and held in March 2016, The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) are delighted to announce they will now be partnering with presses to deliver the event every two years. The next event to be held in spring 2018 will be hosted and curated by UCL Press in London.

The inaugural University Press Redux conference was arranged by LUP in association with the Academic Book of the Future project. Over 150 delegates gathered to discuss the past, present and future of institutional presses. ALPSP was delighted to take part and subsequently publish a collection of papers arising from the event in a special open access issue of Learned Publishing.

Anthony Cond, Director of Liverpool University Press said: ‘There was such strong support for the conference that we immediately saw the potential to continue the conversation.’

Lara Speicher, Publishing Manager at UCL Press added: ‘The Redux conference demonstrates the vitality and potential of university press publishing. We are inspired by what LUP has achieved!’

Audrey McCulloch, Chief Executive of ALPSP continued: ‘The university press sector has undergone a transformation and revitalisation worldwide. Many of our members were involved in the Redux conference and it was an obvious next step to offer administrative support. We are delighted to be involved.’

The 2018 University Press Redux Conference will be curated and hosted by UCL Press with administrative and promotional support provided by ALPSP. Dates will be announced soon. Mandy Hill, Managing Director of Cambridge University Press’s academic division and keynote speaker from 2016, has confirmed that Cambridge University Press will host Redux in 2020.

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Town Planning Review 87.6: Featured Article

Posted on November 21, 2016 by Megan Ainsworth

The editors of TPR have selected 'UK city regions: policies, performance and prospects' by Michael Parkinson as the Featured Article for the latest issue. It will be free to access for three months. You can access the article here.

When asked to describe the paper, and highlight its importance, Michael Parkinson stated the following:

"We live in interesting if challenging times. The future of the British economy, its people and places is finely balanced. Siren voices focus on the risks ahead. Others focus on the achievements made, despite the difficulties of the recent years. The debate is not settled. The facts and the theories are still emerging. However, one thing is certain. The economic future of the UK is intimately tied up with the prospects and futures of its leading city regions. If they don’t work, the economy won’t work and we won't work. The Brexit decision has made the issues more not less important. The UK is engaged in a crucial policy debate about city regions, their governance and economic performance. This article identifies some key evidence about about the performance, policies and prospects of UK cities in a comparative context, based upon a range studies I have undertaken during the past three decades."

Read Michael's full complimentary piece here.

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All LUP journal content free for Open Access Week!

Posted on October 25, 2016 by Chloe Johnson

Free access to all Liverpool University Press journals content during Open Access Week 2016

Liverpool University Press is the UK's third oldest university press and one of its fastest growing publishers in the humanities and social sciences. LUP has an illustrious history of publishing exceptional research – including the work of Nobel Prize winners. Since its 2004 relaunch, LUP has expanded rapidly and now publishes around 80 books and 28 journals each year. In 2015, the Press won both The IPG Frankfurt Book Fair Academic and Professional Publisher of the Year and The Bookseller Independent Academic, Educational and Professional Publisher of the Year awards.

Content will be freely available across all subject areas, including: languages, literature, history, screen and media studies, visual culture, and planning. This varied collection ranges from over 90 years’ worth of Bulletin of Hispanic Studies to pioneering young titles such as Science Fiction Film and Television and Music, Sound and the Moving Image, and from over 100 years of Town Planning Review to its latest journals Quaker Studies, Studia Hibernica, and Journal of Romance Studies (2017).

LUP will not only be showcasing the richness and diversity of its journals publishing programme, but will also celebrate the press’ distinguished heritage with free access to its premium backfiles.

Content is available until midnight on Sunday 30th October simply by visiting, with no further setup required.

Follow us on Twitter/Instagram: @LivUniPress

#OAWeek2016 #OpenAccessWeek

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Town Planning Review sponsors EU Referendum roundtable at the UK and Ireland Planning Conference

Posted on October 19, 2016 by Chloe Johnson

Debating the Consequences of the EU Referendum Result for the Environment, Regeneration and Planning

Heseltine Institute Policy Impact Fellow and TPR editor, Dr. Olivier Sykes recently took part in a roundtable at the UK and Ireland Planning Research Conference held in Cardiff which addressed the theme of ‘The EU referendum – what just happened? Tracing the implications for planning and the environment’. Drawing on work undertaken during the EU referendum campaign which examined the decisive contribution that EU regional and structural fund investment has made to the regeneration of UK cities and regions, he joined a panel which included Trudi Elliott CBE (Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute), Gareth Clubb (Chief Executive, Plaid Cymru) and Dr. Joanne Hunt (Cardiff Law School). The discussion considered the implications of what a UK so-called ‘Brexit’ from the European Union might mean.

Key issues discussed included the role that EU legislation has played in improving the environment in Wales and the rest of the UK by providing strong environmental laws which can be used to compel polluters to improve their environmental practices. The current ‘flux’ in the UK government was also discussed with a view that in a confused rudderless situation civil servants may be more receptive to new ideas and thinking. But there was agreement that this seemed small consolation compared to the loss of certainty for environmental standards and targeted investment from EU Structural Funds on poorer communities which any UK departure from the EU would entail. There was also discussion on the panel and in the room of the implications of the way the referendum was conducted for the use of expert knowledge in society and some soul-searching about the public utility of academic research if its value is to be downplayed and decried in public debates.

The roundtable was sponsored by Town Planning Review, the world’s first academic journal dedicated to study and reflection on town planning, which celebrated its centenary in 2010. The journal has always had an international outlook which will be strongly maintained regardless of the aftermath of the EU referendum.

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Author Insights - Tara Martin López

Posted on October 05, 2016 by Heather Gallagher

This month, The Winter of Discontent by Tara Martin López is our chosen #FreeReadFriday title. Learn more about the book below through our chat with the author, before it's available to download free this Friday (7th of October).


Tara Martin López

 Tara Martin López is Professor of Sociology at Peninsula College.*


1. What prompted you to write this book?

I first heard of the Winter of Discontent when discussing politics with a British friend who continually referred to how bad things were in 1979 when trade unions were supposedly “out of control.” According to him Margaret Thatcher intervened and brought Britain out of a socialist mire. I was amazed not only that a person born in 1980 would have such a potent memory of the event, but also that it was a touchstone of his conversations decades later. He also used this series of events as a political cudgel against the Labour movement and social democracy. My interest was immediately piqued, and I sought to work under historian Sheila Rowbotham at the University of Manchester to write my Ph.D. thesis on the topic. After finishing my Ph.D., I was awarded fellowships from both the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust and the Lipman-Miliband Trust, which allowed me to expand my research.

As I was completing this work, a series called “Studies in Labour History” appeared at Liverpool University Press. I thought my work would be a perfect match for that series. I was elated when LUP accepted my proposal because it gave me the opportunity to share research on an extremely important topic with a broader audience.

2. What is the main argument of the book?

I argue that Conservative and Labour Party politics were primarily responsible for the particular contours of the myth of the Winter of Discontent. Many politicians like Margaret Thatcher effectively used the Winter of Discontent as a symbol of the “bad old days of socialism” to warn British voters away from electing Labour for more than a decade. However, while this dominant image of the Winter of Discontent arose out of a very real sense of chaos and crisis in the late 1970s, I demonstrate that the mythical resonance of these experiences only developed after the series of strikes had been resolved. Furthermore, I assert that instead of a fratricidal act, rank-and-file activists and local trade union leaders were engaged in activism that was hoping to address declining real wages and shifts in the ideological, gender, and racial composition of the trade union movement and the Labour Party. This series of strikes must also be seen in the context of evolving social movements such as the New Left and the Women’s Movement. I contend that the memories of local trade union leaders and grassroots activists involved in the strikes challenge the grim implications of the myth of the Winter of Discontent. More specifically, among some of the female trade unionists, the strikes of 1978-79 provided a transformative inroad into broader activism in the Labour movement for years to come. Finally, I assert that the different rememberings of the Winter of Discontent have distinctly shaped participants’ political identities, which, in turn, helped to reconfigure the political landscape of the Left decades later.

3. Why do you think the roles of female and black activists during the strikes have been largely ignored in the past?

I think the primary reasons lie in traditions of historical scholarship, limitations in archival material, and the gendered nature of the myth of the Winter of Discontent.

Unfortunately, the absence of these women and black activists has been part of the long tradition of erasing the contributions of women, people of color, and especially women of color, from the historical narrative. Labour historians’ emphasis on social class, in particular, tended to sideline equally important issues of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. However, I had the privilege of researching at a time where the works of people like Sheila Rowbotham, Ava Baron, and Paul Gilroy had begun to open new lines of inquiry into these areas.

Previous accounts of the time period also privileged the perspectives of politicians and male trade unionists. By relying heavily on the biographies of Conservative and Labour politicians as primary sources, for example, by and large, perspectives were limited to those of white, middle to upper class, men. Newspapers, on the other hand, provided a broader spectrum of perspectives, including those of black activists and women, but still the coverage did not explore how and why these individuals became politically active. That is why it was so important for me to conduct oral histories with both women and men involved in these strikes. These oral histories, therefore, provided essential insight into the perspectives of women and black activists that were ignored for so long.

Finally, the absence of female activists, in particular, served a political agenda. A key element of this myth was that Margaret Thatcher was the one leader tough enough to stand up to the “trade union bully boys” who had crippled Britain during the 1970s. Politically, the potency of that dichotomous image would have been undermined if the historical reality of working class women as striking trade unionists had been brought to the fore.

4. Why do you think the myths surrounding the ‘greedy’ workers during the Winter of Discontent became so embedded?

The particular nature of the strikes, and, again, politics, played a key role in perpetuating this myth of “greedy” workers during the Winter of Discontent.

With the rise of the service sector in the UK during the 1970s, which coincided with the growth of female employment in these jobs, strikes were no longer just factory stoppages. For instance, care assistants for the elderly and the disabled were tasked with taking strike action during the Winter of Discontent without hurting the people they served. The oral histories reveal the creative ways people took action, like not doing a patient’s hair one day, but still providing essential care. Nonetheless, such strikes, especially in the NHS, provoked particular ire in the media. Headlines in The Daily Mail read “Target for Today - Sick Children” or “Patients Sent Home - Some Will Die.” I think the strikes of junior doctors in the NHS this year demonstrate the continued struggle such workers have in regards to addressing issues of workplace justice while providing essential care.

I further demonstrate that both Conservative and Labour Party politicians were instrumental in embedding the negative image of workers in popular memory. The Conservative Party, along with major media outlets like The Sun, not only evoked images of the Winter of Discontent and conniving workers in the 1979 General Election, but in subsequent General Elections, as symbols of Labour incompetence. Ironically, New Labour leaders subsequently used the same images to reinvent the party by telling voters that it was no longer the “party of the Winter of Discontent” that had been besieged by so called “greedy workers” in the late 1970s and early 1980s.


You can download The Winter of Discontent ebook free on Friday 7th of October using code FreeReadFriday at the checkout. See our blog for more instructions. 


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*Photo by Emma Jones

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