More than 70 delegates from a dozen countries met in Liverpool at the start of the month at the fifth annual conference of ESPRit, the European Society for Periodical Research. In eighteen themed panels, two keynote plenaries, and two lunchtime presentations on digital projects, speakers addressed the theme of ‘Periodical Counter Cultures’, exploring how magazines work as spaces in which innovative and oppositional ideas grow and enter the public domain.
The conference was co-organised by incoming Head of Department, Professor Matthew Philpotts, who presented research from his current project comparing the role of oppositional editors in Communist-funded magazines in Moscow, Paris, and East Berlin in the 1960s and 1970s. Other papers dealt with topics ranging from the late eighteenth century to the present day all across Europe, from Dutch architecture magazines to comic culture under Franco, from the birth of psychoanalysis in Vienna to the French avant-garde. Colleagues from the Centre for Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool led a lively panel on Irish periodicals.
The conference also saw the launch of a new peer-reviewed academic journal, the Journal for European Periodical Studies, at the Racquet Club in Liverpool. Professor Philpotts is an editor of the journal alongside editor-in-chief, Professor Marianne Van Remoortel from the University of Ghent and colleagues from the Netherlands and Sweden.