UCL European Institute


Brexit Divisions I: What you ought to know about EU referendums and the UK debate

08 March 2016, 12:00 am

Brexit Divisions 1

Event Information

Open to


8 March 2016, 3.00-7.30pm
As the campaigns on Brexit are heating up, this event brings the leaders of the Stronger in and Vote Leave campaigns together with campaign analysts and activists from the UK and other EU referendums elsewhere. They will be looking at how and when referendum campaigns can shift public opinion, providing practical guidance, critical analysis, and comment. What arguments, stories, images or campaign strategies may shape the way people make sense of EU membership and the choice at hand? How will the political language framing the referendum be decisive in shaping the debate? What might be the decisive turning points in the debate, blind spots, or core assumptions? What lessons can be learned from previous referendums, or from scholarship about political behaviour? What is the role of facts in shaping people's ideas?

This event is embedded in a guest editor week on openDemocracy that we are hosting from 7 to 11 March. For any questions, please contact Claudia Sternberg.

8 March 2016, 3.00-7.30pm
Followed by a reception

UCL Institute of Child Health
Kennedy Lecture Theatre
30 Guilford Street
London WC1N 1EH




How campaigns can or can't shift public opinion. Lessons learned from other EU referendums

  Charlotte Antonsen, MSc in Economics, political and communication analyst, former Danish MP
  Ece Özlem Atikcan, Assistant Professor, Université Laval, Visiting Senior Research Fellow, UCL European Institute
  Joe Costello, Former Member of the Irish Parliament, Labour, Minister of State for Trade and Development 2011-14, Yes side Ireland 
  Pierre Kanuty, Regional Councillor Île-de-France, former President of the Île-de-France Representation at the European Commission, Diplomatic Advisor to the French Socialist Party
  Chair: Claudia Sternberg, Senior Research Associate, UCL European Institute

Key strategies, arguments, and possible turning points in the UK debate

  Mark Wallace, Executive Editor of Conservative Home, Founder of the Better Off Out campaign
  Sunder Katwala, Director, British Future
  Ayesha Hazarika, former special adviser to Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband, political commentator and writer
  Simon Usherwood, ESRC The UK in a Changing Europe Programme and University of Surrey
  Chair: Miranda Green, Journalist

This event is followed by a second one, on 22 March, 3-7.30, entitled Brexit Divisions II: The Mother of Migration Debates. Each event is embedded in a guest editor week on openDemocracy that we are hosting in the weeks of 7-11 and 21-25 March, respectively. The series as a whole is funded by a grant from the European Commission Office in the UK. Our aim is not to take sides in the debate, but to offer information and analysis that clarifies issues at stake, and to challenge arguments made on both sides. 

For any questions, please contact Claudia Sternberg.

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Brexit Divisions

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