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The Presentation of Europe in the British Media

Tue 13th

13:00 - 13:20

For my dissertation, I decided to stretch the bounds of my historical study to consider the presentation of Europe and the EU by the British media during the referendum campaigns of 1975 and 2016, both of which were concerned with whether Britain should leave the European Community.

When I discuss my research, people are surprised to hear that historical research can cover recent topics like Brexit and “sciency” techniques such as database analysis. But that is exactly what I do. By combining my research with traditional historical methods of source analysis, I have analysed the presentation of Europe in British newspapers during the two referendums held on British membership, held 40 years apart and with dramatically different outcomes.

The results show the difference in presentation that 40 years causes, and my work has attempted to cover everything from the paper’s individualism, their ideological motives, and what exactly this reflects in the British public, or at least in their press.

My research is not to laud or castigate the results of the most recent referendum, but to place it in its historical setting, to reveal more about the nature of the British press and public, and to perhaps educate people about the mysteries history can reveal if you start asking the right questions.

Lauren Graham


College of Arts

I am a final year History student originally from Northern Ireland. The difficult past of my home country has made me very aware of the diverse range of opinions, views and beliefs that can be held even in a small place, and that is partly what encouraged me to explore more of the identity and questions that I will consider in my presentation.I didn't originally come to Glasgow to study history, in fact my chosen degree was English Literature, but as I got more involved with my studies I realised how history was not just reading dusty books and arguing about people long dead. I often find history to be an exploration of the modern world through what the past can show us, as long as we are looking for it. In my experience, it has helped expand my horizons beyond the everyday, while also continually reminding me of the debate, criticism and bias that surrounds us both in history and daily life. During my time at Glasgow, I have experienced a lot of great things both in academic and social life. I am an office holder for the GU Irish/Northern Irish Society and the History Society, as well as working at the university part-time as part of the SRC. I have been fortunate enough to attend a number of academic conferences, and have secured a place at the University of Edinburgh next year to study Law. In my spare time, I enjoy taking in the sights around Glasgow (especially the dogs in Kelvingrove Park) and trying not to drink my body weight in tea.


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