The first floor of the John Foster Building will resonate with the sounds of many different voices and languages on the 7th and 8th of July when the European Society for Periodicals Research (ESPRIT) holds its fifth conference at LJMU English. The Society was founded in 2009 by a group of periodical researchers from the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, the USA and the UK. The group is dedicated to cross-disciplinary and transnational research into European periodicals, magazines, journals and newspapers from all historical periods. As well as conferences, the Society, which is free to join, acts as an information exchange for research in this field and is just launching an on-line journal, the Journal of European Periodical Studies. Last year’s conference in Stockholm brought together over forty speakers from across Europe all keen to think about the similarities and differences between the periodical press in different countries and in diverse national traditions. This year’s conference has taken ‘Periodical Counter Cultures: Tradition, Conformity and Dissent’ as its theme, a topic that has attracted sixty speakers from places as diverse as Romania and Australia.
The LJMU English Department, and the School of Humanities and Social Science more generally, has a considerable commitment to research in this field, and is honoured to bring the conference to Liverpool. A team drawn from English, Media and the Library, under the leadership of Professor Brian Maidment, has organised the event in collaboration with a Conference Committee drawn from the Society. Brian has a strong scholarly and organisational presence in Victorian periodicals research, and is currently the Vice President of the longest established organisation in the field – the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals. RSVP has served for almost fifty years as the rallying place for research on nineteenth century magazines and newspapers. Newer initiatives like ESPRIT are much to be welcomed especially by bringing a broader time span and national diversity into consideration.
The conference has much to offer staff and graduate students. If you are interested please take a look at the web site – http://www.ljmu.ac.uk/conferences/esprit-conference – and get in touch if you would like to attend or help with the organisation of the event. Brian himself can be reached at email@example.com.