The Institute for Policy Research’s 2017 symposium Politics, Fake News and the Post-Truth Era will examine public policy and politics in the current age of disruption, when established norms of democratic debate such as truthfulness, integrity and accountability appear to have broken down. In critical decision-making processes from referenda and general elections to policy debates around migration and climate change, sentiments and assertions rather than scientific evidence are increasingly accepted as common currency, while “facts” are disputed and “experts” are derided. Meanwhile, a shifting and uncertain media landscape has led to greater public distrust of traditional news media – and greater abuses on the part of those who pose as information sources.
- What do we know about ‘fake news’, and how can we address it?
- How does media coverage of elections influence political participation and debate in a digital age? Is the so-called “mainstream media” relevant any more?
- Why has trust in “facts” and “evidence” broken down?
- What kinds of political leadership and democratic engagement can succeed in a “post-truth era”?
Politics, Fake News and the Post-Truth Era will bring together a coalition of journalists, policymakers and academics for a day of discussion on these questions, with keynote addresses being delivered by Professor Susan Banducci of the University of Exeter, Guardian writer Matthew d’Ancona and former Home Secretary Lord Blunkett.
- 9.30 – 10.00 Registration, tea and coffee
- 10.00 – 10.10 Welcome and introduction: Professor Nick Pearce, Director of the IPR
- 10.10 – 11.00 Keynote: Fake News, Experts & the Failure of Political Responsibility
Professor Susan Banducci, Professor and Director of the Exeter Q-Step Centre
- 11.00 – 12.30 Panel: The Social Life of Fake News Online
Panel: Irina Khaldarova, University of Helsinki; Dr Anders Kristian Munk, Aalborg University Copenhagen; and Liliana Bounegru, Public Data Lab.
Chair: Dr Jonathan Gray, IPR Prize Fellow and King’s College London
- 12.30 – 14.00 Lunch
- 14.00 – 15.00 Panel: Brexit: Post-Truth Politics in Action
Panel: Dr Susan Milner, University of Bath; Denny Pencheva, University of Bristol; Liz Gerard, Editor, Sub-Scribe and Dr Charlotte Galpin, University of Birmingham. Chair: Dr Nicholas Startin, University of Bath
- 15.00 – 16.00 Keynote: Post-Truth: The New War on Truth and How to Fight Back
Matthew d’Ancona, Guardian journalist
- 16.00 – 16.30 Tea and coffee
- 16.30 – 17.30 In Conversation: Lord David Blunkett in conversation with Professor Nick Pearce
- 17.30 – 17.40 Closing remarks: Professor Nick Pearce
- 17.40 – 18.30 Drinks reception
Professor Susan Banducci
Professor Susan Banducci is Professor in Politics and Director of the Nuffield-, ESRC- and Hefce-funded Exeter Q-Step Centre. She has 20 years of experience working on international, collaborative projects including the New Zealand Election Study, the European Election Study and two EU-funded early career researcher training networks. Her recent research on media and electoral behaviour has been supported by the ESRC and British Academy. She is PI on an ESRC NCRM Methodological Innovation grant that examines information exposure in a networked environment focusing on both traditional and social media.
The Right Honourable The Lord Blunkett
The Right Honourable The Lord Blunkett is Professor of Politics in Practice at the University of Sheffield, and is known for his distinguished career as a politician. He was Leader of Sheffield City Council for seven years before being elected as MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough in 1987. Prior to Labour’s 1997 victory he held a number of Shadow Cabinet positions, and in Tony Blair’s government he took office as Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1997-2001), Home Secretary (2001-2004) and finally Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2005). He was created Baron Blunkett of Brightside and Hillsborough in the City of Sheffield in 2015, having served that constituency as MP for 28 years.
Matthew d’Ancona writes a weekly column for The Guardian. He was previously editor of The Spectator and also writes for the Evening Standard, The New York Times International Edition and GQ. He was The Sunday Telegraph’s political columnist for 19 years. He is a visiting research fellow at Queen Mary University of London, author of several books including In It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition, and chairman of the thinktank Bright Blue. He was elected a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, in 1989, after gaining First Class Honours in Modern History at Magdalen College where he was a Demy (scholar).
Who should attend
Policymakers, academics, journalists, members of the local community, University students and staff