A Liverpool Hope University academic has been praised for his work with a prestigious study group, helping to open it up to equality and diversity.
Dr Anthony Ridge-Newman is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities at Hope, and a specialist when it comes to political communication and conservative politics.
In 2016 Dr Ridge-Newman, along with Dr Alan Convery, Senior Lecturer in Politics at Edinburgh University, became co-convenor of the Political Studies Association Conservatism Studies Specialist Group.
The historic Association aims to promote the study of politics in the UK, while the Conservatism Studies Group sees a diverse array of academics examining conservative politics.
Dr Ridge-Newman has announced he’s now stepping-down in February 2021 as co-convenor of the Group at the end of his five year term.
But his efforts to grow the initiative, particularly in terms of inclusivity, have now been celebrated.
Writing in the latest issue of Political Studies Association News, Prof Agnes Alexandre-Collier, a Professor of British Politics at Oxford’s Maison Française d’Oxford, and Prof Tim Bale, Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University of London, described how the Group was now ‘more open to equality and diversity - especially as regards women and young researchers - more international, more visible in the media and overall, less conservative.’
The article adds: “Demonstrating its diversity, the Group has engaged with many from underrepresented minorities including BAME, LGBT+, and the disabled.
“Leading women keynote speakers such as Professor Sarah Childs and Professor Angelia Wilson have been invited to speak at workshops – and participate in other Group activities, including Professor Childs and Professor Agnès Alexandre-Collier acting as guest judges for the Group’s periodic book prize competitions.
“Anthony and Alan have also been very active in promoting young researchers. Over the course of their five-year term, the early career contingent of the Group has grown considerably, with many actively engaged PhD students and newly appointed academics.”
Describing the success of Dr Ridge-Newman and Dr Convery in building for the future, the Politics Studies Association piece concludes: “Although it would take far too long to make a list of all the Group’s events, anyone looking at such a list would see striking proof of the tireless dynamism displayed by Anthony and Alan. We look forward to their successors successfully building on their legacy.”
Dr Ridge-Newman said: “It has been a real privilege to lead the PSA Conservatism Studies Group for the last five years and build on the work of world leading scholars in conservatism studies, like the group’s co-founder, Professor Tim Bale.
“I have had the absolute pleasure of working closely with Dr Alan Convery to develop the scope of the group and promote the study of conservatism internationally. With political phenomena like Trump and Brexit, there has never been a more important time to study the nuances of this relatively understudied part of politics.
“I am grateful to professors Alexandre-Collier and Bale for the kind comments about our work. We have aimed to make the group a place in which people from diverse backgrounds can feel welcome and supported with opportunity. I believe it is something we should all be striving for across society and its many sectors and organisations.”
As well as a focus on the Conservative Party, Dr Ridge-Newman has also written more widely about how the media both reports on and influences politics, particularly general elections and, more recently, Brexit.
For more information about his work, head here.