The BISA Learning and Teaching Working Group (BLT)

Welcome to the BLT Website
The BISA Learning and Teaching Working Group (BLT) was founded in 2010 to promote scholarship and innovation in learning and teaching in the discipline of International Relations. Over the past six years we have organised workshops, colloquia and conference panels on a range of pressing pedagogical issues, from employability through teaching research methods to the rise of MOOCs.

For more information about our activities, please contact the working group convenors Michael BarrSteven Curtis and Simon Rofe. To join our emailing list, please email Steven. For more information about BISA, including how to become a member, go to the association's website

Registration Now Open for 2nd European Conference on T&L in Politics, IR and European Studies
Following the success of the first conference in Maastricht in 2014, the second European conference on learning and teaching in our discipline will take place in Brussels on 9-10 June. Register to attend here.

BLT Panels at the BISA Annual Conference
We are convening four panels on issues and developments in learning and teaching in the discipline for the BISA annual conference, 15-17 June 2016 in Edinburgh. We hope to see you at these sessions. 

8th Annual PSA/BISA L&T Conference 2015

Last year's annual two-day conference on 8-9 September was a very stimulating event. It addressed the theme of student engagement and participation and was hosted by Dr Aida Abzhaparova at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Once again it was great to see some new faces at this annual event, including Mark Shanahan from the University of Reading (pictured above), as well as to hear the student voice in a presentation by recent graduates on the benefits of placement learning (below). Check out what we got up to on Twitter with the conference hashtag #psalt15.

Call for Papers: The 9th Annual BISA/PSA Learning and Teaching Conference, Newcastle University, 13-14 September 2016
This year's conference is entitled The Winds of Change: New Challenges and Opportunities for Teaching Politics and IR and will be convened by Dr Michael Barr, Dr James Bilsland and Dr Valentina Feklyunina (all at Newcastle University).
The conference will focus on new challenges and opportunities for students and teachers of Politics and IR. We are particularly keen to explore the impact of and our responses to three types of changes: (i) the major political and geopolitical changes that we are witnessing at the UK, European and global levels; (ii) technological changes; and (iii) changes in the institutional environment of Higher Education (including the proposed TEF in the UK as well as the implications of changes to the politics A-level syllabus).

The conference will explore the ways in which we can engage with these changes at the levels of curriculum design, skills acquisition, student engagement and participation, innovative pedagogic techniques and broader questions of the purpose of university education in the changing world. We invite contributions that address any of these issues. We equally welcome contributions that explore any other pedagogic issues or showcase examples of innovative teaching practices.

We welcome proposals of individual papers, panels and round tables. Please email your proposals to by the deadline of 6 May 2016.

Individual papers: please provide the title of the paper, an abstract (no more than 200 words) and the author’s affiliation and contact details.

Panels: please provide the title of the panel, a panel abstract (no more than 200 words), and the titles and abstracts for at least three papers. We expect that panel proposals will include participants from at least two different institutions.

Round tables: please provide the title of the round table, an abstract (no more than 200 words) and the affiliation and contact details of at least three participants. We expect that round table proposals will include participants from at least two different institutions.
For further information, please contact Valentina Feklyunina at

Exploring the Implications of the TEF

On 14th December 2015, BLT ran a one-day workshop at Newcastle University's London campus, organised by Michael Barr, on the implications of the proposed Teaching Excellence Framework. The event involved leading figures in learning and teaching in Politics and IR and the results of the meeting have been fed into the deliberations of the joint working group on the TEF organised by BISA, UACES and the PSA.