Call for Nominations to Serve on the Executive Committee


We're pleased to announce that we have three Trustee positions up for election to the BISA Executive Commitee, two of which are brand new.

Now is a great time to help take BISA forward. In 2020, we will launch a new website, organise our first Workshops’ Conference and adopt a new Strategic Plan involving a refreshed approach to communication, outreach, public engagement, career development and learning and teaching. All the while, we will retain our traditional emphasis on promoting research among scholars and students.

In the course of the past 45 years we have become the UK’s foremost professional association promoting International Studies and the interests of those who research, teach and study the subject. We engage with interested professionals in think tanks, international organisations, the media and government and have over 1,500 members, along with almost 30 specialist Working Groups. We convene an annual conference, spend around £100,000 a year supporting research and scholarship, award a number of prizes that recognise excellence in research and learning and teaching, and are home to two highly-regarded journals as well as a prestigious book series.

The available positions are:

  1. Conference Programme Chair - We are seeking an enthusiastic and dedicated Trustee to take on the role of Conference Programme Chair. This Trustee position, serving a three-year term (2020-2022), will oversee the programme for the BISA conference 2021 and 2022, and shadow the current team overseeing the 2020 conference in Newcastle. For more information read the Conference Programme Chair role description.
  1. Lead on Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity - This Trustee will promote our Equality and Diversity agenda. They will ensure the Association takes its responsibilities in this area seriously when dealing with its own members, and ensure that we contribute to initiatives and debates on relevant issues across the academic sector. The person elected to this role will serve for three years, during 2020-2022. For more information read the Equality and Diversity role description.
  1. The third vacancy is that of a regular Trustee. This person will have no specific portfolio, however all Trustees sit on at least two sub-committees and so will contribute to BISA decision making and policy. 
Alongside a small team of BISA employees, the Association is run by volunteer Trustees (both elected and co-opted).If you're elected you will become a legal trustee of BISA as a charity, so you must act in accordance with Charity Commission guidelines.
While BISA is an association which represents the academic interest, our ‘public benefit’ obligation extends beyond the academy. We are interested in extending our membership and activities to involve those working in think tanks, journalism, NGOs, international organisations and government. We thus encourage BISA members from outside the HEI sector to consider standing for election. 

Time commitment

The Executive Committee of BISA meets four times a year (usually in Birmingham) for a day and a half of business (with an overnight stay). There is also work done – depending on your role in the Executive – in between these meetings. While it is difficult to accurately quantify the amount of time involved (it fluctuates across the year), you should bear in mind the commitment is not insignificant. You may wish to raise this with your institution line-manager as commitments to professional associations are increasingly taken into account in workload allocation.

Timeline of nominations and elections 

  • 21 October 2019: call for nominations opens
  • 22 November 2019, 5.00pm: deadline for receipt of nominations
  • 25 November 2019: voting opens
  • 9 December 2019, 7pm: voting closes
  • 11 December 2019: BISA Executive Committee endorses the election result
  • 5 – 6 March 2020: first Executive Committee meeting for new Trustees

How to nominate

To run for election, please send an e-mail to <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> with the subject line <Nomination for BISA Executive Committee>. Please include the following information: 

  • Your name and institutional affiliation. 
  • The name and e-mail address of a seconder. This person will need to be a BISA member and be willing to publicly declare in your favour (they will be named alongside your personal election statement).  
  • A short personal statement of no more than 200 words outlining why you should be elected (this will be used on the BISA website once the election commences).
  • A CV and photograph of you (please note that both of these will be placed on the website to inform voting so please remove any personal information such as telephone number and date of birth, as well as any orher details you would not be happy to have placed online).
  • If you wish to take on either the Conference Programme or Equality and Diversity portfolios, please make that clear in your personal statement. 

The Election 

To allow for choice, we hope there are more candidates than vacancies. Hence there will (and should be) an element of campaigning involved. If you are standing for election, do feel free to solicit support among your BISA colleagues (remember: only BISA members can vote). We are happy for candidates to use e-mail and social media for that purpose, but do not condone any form of expenditure as part of the election. 


Queries on the process of nomination or election can be directed to either the BISA Chair, Mark Webber <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> or Vice-Chair, Ruth Blakeley <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Here are some experiences of our Trustees -

For 3 years (2012-14) I was the trustee responsible for liaising with the Association's Working Groups. During this time I was responsible for: the annual funding round in December through which working group budgets are decided; answering questions members have about working groups; and advising prospective working group convenors about applying to establish a new group. During this time I also led a major review of working group policy that has increased funding to working groups and established guidelines for the future operation of groups. BISA has an exciting range of working groups pursuing cutting edge research agendas.  My role meant I had regular contact with many of the working groups convenors and I found it fascinating to have an overview of the diversity of their various research agendas. Dr Martin Coward, Newcastle University

Since my election as a BISA trustee, I've been a member of research committee - assisting the support provided by the organisation to graduate students and early career scholars. My duties have included appraising the applications made for travel grants to the annual conference by graduate students, liaising on the development of working group guidelines, and my biggest contribution has bee‎n the development of the bisa small research grant program (launching soon) for early career researchers. I attend four bisa meetings of the executive per year to discuss the implementation of existing and new measures, and can confirm that election to BISA is not a massive time constraint on existing duties. Additionally i've gained a lot of experience from working alongside senior colleagues from across the UK university system.  Dr Charlotte Heath-Kelly, University of Warwick

I have served two terms as an elected Trustee and am currently the BISA Chair. Assisting in the running of BISA has given me a broad perspective on the development of the discipline - I have been involved in the setting up of a new journal, running a student-focused Model NATO event, liaising with BISA research groups and discussions on everything from REF to TEF. In helping to run the UK's premier International Studies association, I now appreciate more fully the importance of an organisation I first joined (many years ago) at the outset of my career.  Professor Mark Webber, University of Birmingham

I’ve been a Trustee (2010-12), Honorary Secretary with responsibility for the annual conference programme (2012-15), and took up the post of BISA Vice-Chair in January 2019. BISA has a special role to play in providing resources and fora for scholars to develop collaborative research and networks, and to support early career colleagues entering the field, through its specialist working groups. BISA should be at the forefront of shaping higher education policy for the good. This is of critical importance at a time when universities face real threats, whether in terms of resourcing, or from political currents that seek to erode the influence of scholarship and critical thinking that our discipline fosters. BISA also has a role to play in tackling limited student and staff diversity in higher education, and to enhancing dialogue and collaboration with scholars in the Global South. It’s an honour to have the opportunity to shape the discipline and our profession in these crucial areas through my BISA role..  Professor Ruth Blakeley, University of Sheffield

If you are elected to the Executive Committee, it also means that you have become a Trustee of a charity registered in England and Wales (No. 115260) and a director of a company limited by guarantee (No.8422260. All Trustee/directors will be asked be aware of the legal responsibilities attached to being a Trustee of a charitable company, please check the Charity commission website.

Role Descriptions 

Please read the relevant role description before nominating yourself or being nominated for a position on the Executive Committee. In becoming elected onto the Executive Committee you also will become a charity trustee and company director.

Relevant Charity Commission and Company's House Guidance

Finding New Trustees & Eligibility

Running a Limited Company - directors responsibilities
British International Studies Association


Charity No:1151260
Company no: 8422260
Registered office: University Of Birmingham Room 650, 6th Floor, Muirhead Tower, Edgbaston, Birmingham, England, B15 2TT