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About us

At the Birkbeck Centre for British Political Life we research, discuss and debate British politics. We host:

  • annual academic and public lectures
  • seminars on key issues, 'in conversation' events with politicians and book launches on important issues
  • work-in-progress seminars where new ideas are developed.

Centre affiliates publish widely on our core research themes - view our publications.

Contact us: If you have queries on the Centre's research or events you can .

Our History

The Centre was established in 2011 on the initiative of Professor Joni Lovenduski. She set out the main aims that have continued to guide the work of the Centre: to provide a venue that would bring together British politics expertise across Birkbeck and make it accessible to the wider world, including journalists, prospective as well as current and past students, and the general public.

Numerous projects have found a home and an outlet at the Centre over the years. Questions of representation and representativeness have been an ongoing theme, supported by research and data collection on women's representation and MPs' political careers. While Whitehall and Westminster have always been central, researchers also engaged with questions about Britain's relationship to the EU and other international dimensions of British politics. The political situation in Northern Ireland has been visited and revisited, most recently in grappling with the disruptions of Brexit.

What we do

  • We are a key facilitator of politics research at Birkbeck.
  • We bring together political practitioners, activists and elected political actors.
  • We pose the big democratic questions about contemporary British politics.
  • We lead and encourage research to understand what is going on around us.

Centre affiliates

Writer in residence

  • Our current Writer in Residence and Visiting Fellow is Martin Rosenbaum. Martin served the BBC for 23 years until his departure in April 2021. While there, he was an executive producer in the political programmes department at Westminster, overseeing a range of weekly radio output and podcasts (such as Political Thinking with Nick Robinson, The Week in Westminster), plus editing or producing numerous radio documentaries and series. He also worked as a duty editor and producer on Radio 4's Today programme.

    Martin was the BBC's leading specialist in using freedom of information for journalistic purposes and took a special interest in data journalism. He has written a thorough and detailed book about FOI, 'Freedom of Information: A practical guidebook'. This explains the law and how the system operates in practice, supplies lots of useful tips and tactics, and gives guidance on all stages of the process, from initial requests to tribunal cases. As a research fellow and writer in residence at Birkbeck, Martin contributes to collaborative research and teaching in British politics, political communication and digital politics.

Centre Advisory Board

  • Claire Ainsley
  • Jackie Ashley
  • Kemi Badenoch
  • Luciana Berger
  • Diana Coole
  • Florence Eshalomi
  • Mark Fox
  • Helen Goodman
  • Joe Irvin
  • Peter John
  • John Kelly
  • Michael Kenny
  • David Lammy
  • Joni Lovenduski
  • Lisa Nandy
  • Keir Starmer
  • Rhys Williams
  • Jon Wilson

Study with us