UCL European Institute


European Institute Highlights: Term 3

7 June 2024

As the academic year concludes, the European Institute looks back at its achievements this term.

Wilkings Building

Institutional leadership

The Institute continued its role supporting and enhancing UCL’s institutional approach to Europe. In her capacity as Global Strategic Academic Advisor for Europe, European Institute Director Dr Uta Staiger accompanied Professor Geraint Rees (Vice-Provost Research, Innovation & Global Engagement) on a delegation to mainland Europe, designed to reinforce connections with partners, alumni, and policymakers across the region. The visit included a day and a half of meetings in Brussels engaging directly with EU research and higher education policymakers, brokered by the Institute’s Head of Public Policy and Partnerships, Lucy Shackleton.

Alongside this, the Institute has continued to spearhead activity to showcase UCL’s strengths to policymakers externally, most recently via a joint UCL-FCDO roundtable on Central and Eastern Europe, during which experts from across the university and government discussed domestic politics across Central and Eastern Europe, attitudes to and influence in the European Union, and the implications of the war in Ukraine. This collaboration built upon the Commission on Policy Engagement by Area Experts, co-led by Lucy Shackleton and Dr Ben Noble in 2023, to better identify and leverage UCL’s area expertise to inform policy debates.

Dr Uta Staiger alongside UCL senior leadership in Brussels.

Innovative practice-led teaching

Alongside the conclusion of the ‘Policy & Practice’ module for students of the MSc in European Politics and Policy, convened by Dr Claudia Sternberg and Dr Uta Staiger, the Institute has continued its popular series of Student Masterclasses, most recently hosting Typhaine Morillon, Public Affairs lead at the European Parliament Liaison Office UK, for a session designed to provide students with the tools necessary to promote and reflect on the importance of the EU elections.

The Institute also ran two sessions on EU Careers as part of the UCL Political Science Careers Week 2024 in the first week of June: European Institute Intern Joshua Jones moderated a panel with Marit Sillavee (EU Delegation to the UK) and Thomas Lambert (UK FCDO) about working in EU institutions and on Europe in the UK civil service. A second session involved Student Ambassador, Elena Sofia Massacesi, hosting a panel of UCL alumni who shared their experiences and advice on building a career in Brussels.

Joshua Jones moderating an EU careers panel at UCL Political Science Careers Week 2024.

Supporting the research environment

We have also been delighted to run a number of activities designed to stimulate interdisciplinary exchange and contribute to a flourishing research environment for the study of Europe at UCL.

With academic leads Dr Hélène Neveu-Kringelbach and Dr Jeff Bowersox, our cross-disciplinary [Black Europe] work-stream has continued to address critical research gaps and challenged the presumption of whiteness as the norm in the study of Europe through a speaker series and Festival of Afro-European Arts, Performance & Scholarship. The festival celebrated Black cultural production and critical inquiry and explored the structures that make Blackness seem natural, self-evident, and variously foreign across Europe, through a two day programme featuring student masterclasses, a Black history walk, and the launch of a new UCL-produced film on the work of Black British performer, Josephine Morcashani.

Alongside this, we hosted a range of one-off events, attracting diverse audiences from across UCL and beyond. In May, we were delighted to host Dr Agnes Arnold-Foster, in collaboration with the IAS and UCL Grand Challenges, to discuss her new book Nostalgia: A History of Dangerous Emotion,  in conversation with a panel of UCL academics. The same month, we were also proud to collaborate with the European Movement UK to host the 2024 Sir Julian Priestley Memorial Lecture, which took place at UCL for the first time. The lecture was delivered by Annette Dittert, senior correspondent of the German public broadcaster ARD, on the topic ‘Britain’s Future Relationship with the EU: A German Perspective’, and involved Ioana Turcan, final year EISPS student, providing a youth perspective on the issues raised by Annette.

Annette Dittert delivering the 2024 Sir Julian Priestley Memorial Lecture at UCL.


Public, policy and student engagement

Lastly, we have continued to extend the reach of UCL ideas and expertise through strategic external engagement. A core element of the Institute’s programme this term has been the European Literary Map of London and its accompanying exhibition, ‘Lost & Found: Mapping European Literary London’, which was on display in the South Cloisters until 31 May 2024.

The exhibition captured imaginations within and beyond UCL, providing a catalyst for visits from Year 10 students from two nearby schools, a creative writing workshop organised by UCL Culture, and for a student-led communications campaign around the question “How has London Changed You”, developed in partnership with the Office of the Vice President for External Engagement. Through a partnership with the FCDO Soft Power team, brokered by Lucy Shackleton, a mobile version of the exhibition will now transfer to Brussels, Stockholm, Madrid and Berlin.

Also, as part of the European Literary Map of London project, the European Institute has been privileged to host two Writers in Residence in Term 3: Bulgarian-born Joanna Elmy and Romanian-Luxembourgish Larisa Faber. The Residency was conceived to support new writing on London from diverse, European perspectives – and culminated in the European Writers’ Festival, curated by Rosie Goldsmith with EUNIC London, and supported for the first time by UCL. UCL’s contributions included Dr Uta Staiger and Dr Tim Beasley-Murray chairing panel discussions, two BA Creative Arts and Humanities students providing communications and event management support, and the Institute offering a multilingual guided walk through Bloomsbury inspired by the European Literary Map of London, to writers participating in the Festival.

Joanna Elmy and Larisa Faber also made a tangible contribution to the intellectual community at UCL through bespoke teaching – from an East-Central European Literary Playshop organised by Dr Uilleam Blacker at UCL SSEES to a performance workshop for students on the BA Creative Arts and Humanities.

Alongside this, we have continued to provide a platform for UCL expertise – for example, through our partnership with the Centre for European Reform on European security coordinated by Associate Professor of Russian Politics, Dr Ben Noble, which has involved workshops on Ukraine’s European future and Russian domestic politics, and will conclude in September with a session on Europe’s future security architecture.

We have continued to place an emphasis on enhancing the student experience through our internship and Student Ambassador programmes, and we have been delighted to see students contribute articles to our UCL Europe Blog, as well as spearheading events from a panel and screening on the evening of the Maastricht Debate to a conference with former French President François Hollande at King’s College London.

Dr Uta Staiger chairing a panel including Joanna Elmy, European Literary Map of London Writer in Residence, at the European Writers’ Festival 2024.


Thank you

To deliver the above, we have worked closely with a range of partners and collaborators across UCL and beyond, not least our fabulous interns Alfie PannellOlivia Scherand Joshua Jones.

We wish to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued collaboration and support, and to encourage you to stay up to date with events and opportunities by signing up to our newsletter, following us on InstagramX, and LinkedIn or by getting in touch with a member of the team