Kate Mattocks

PhD publications

All three of the journal articles published from my PhD research on cultural policy coordination in the European Union are out now, so I thought I would do a roundup. They are listed below with links and abstracts.

‘A few sparks of inspiration’?: analysing the outcomes of European Union cultural policy coordination (European Politics and Society, vol 19, issue 1, 2018)
This article examines the outcomes of cultural policy coordination in the European Union using a case study of one policy priority in the 2011–2014 Work Plan for Culture. The Open Method of Coordination brings Member States together to exchange and cooperate on key policy priorities. Drawing on interviews with key actors as well as participant observation material, the article demonstrates the limited influence of the culture OMC on domestic policy, showing that domestic usage tends to be on the scale of individuals and organisations rather than Member State-wide. The article finishes by contextualising the outcomes, highlighting the constraints and challenges of intergovernmental coordination in fields where the EU holds a supporting competence.

Co‐ordinating Co‐ordination: The European Commission and the Culture Open Method of Co‐ordination (Journal of Common Market Studies, vol 56, issue 2, 2018)
This article examines the role of the European Commission in non‐legislative policy co‐ordination in the European Union. Using the Open Method of Co‐ordination (OMC) in the oft‐neglected sector of cultural policy as a case study, it argues that rather than a neutral facilitator as it appears on paper, the Commission occupies both a political and administrative leadership role in the operation of the culture OMC. Through analysis of policy documentation, interviews and non‐participant observation material, the article demonstrates how the Commission has operated as a key driver and agenda‐setter in the field, exposing the inter‐institutional dynamics in a competence in which the EU has a supporting role. The findings thus have broader implications for the study of agenda‐setting and European integration in policy sectors where the EU holds a supporting competence.

“Just Describing is Not Enough”: Policy Learning, Transfer, and the Limits of Best Practices (Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society, vol 48, issue 2, 2018)
Despite widespread use in the cultural field, best practices remain theoretically and empirically under-researched. The aim of this article is to achieve better understanding of their use and effectiveness in policy learning and transfer, using a case study of a cross-national policy coordination process in the European Union, the Open Method of Coordination. Using empirical data from interview and non-participant observation material, the article highlights several fundamental challenges of best practices, such as issues of contextualization, representativeness, and critical analysis. It finishes by offering six critical reflection questions on the use of best practices.


Thank you!

I am thrilled to be elected as one of three new PSA trustees. Thank you very much to PSA members for voting for me. I look forward to starting this position in June. 🙂

PSA trustee elections

The PSA is currently holding elections for three new trustees, and I am running. Below is a bit of information on my ideas and what I would do if elected. Please consider voting for me!  And feel free to contact me with any questions.

I have been a PSA member since I was a PhD student and also served as Communications Officer of the PSA’s Postgraduate Network (now Early Career Network) from 2014-6. I currently work as a teaching fellow. In recent years, the PSA has made important strides with regards to equality and diversity and support of its early career members. If elected I would like to help continue this important work, in particular focusing on professional development for early career academics, support for those on fixed-term and precarious contracts, and furthering public engagement skills for academics at all stages of their careers. Building on the PSA’s new 10-year strategic plan, I am dedicated to bringing a wider range of voices into the PSA and the profession – from different backgrounds and career stages; types of institutions; and theoretical, methodological and pedagogical approaches – in order to make our discipline more inclusive.

Anyone who is a PSA member can vote here (closes 11 May).

New project: take our survey!

My collaborator Shardia Briscoe-Palmer (University of Birmingham) and I have just started a new project relating to academic labour and Early Career Academics (ECA). If you are an ECA (currently completing PhD or within 5 years of submission) in Politics based in the UK, we are interested in your views on Brexit, career development and more. Please take our survey HERE.

New publication: best practices & policy learning

My latest article based on my PhD research is now out in the Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society: find it here. I evaluate the use of best practices — theoretically and empirically under-researched — using the case study of (surprise, surprise) the EU’s culture OMC.

Article in JCMS

My article on the role of the European Commission in the culture OMC is now available in the Journal of Common Market Studies. See it here.

New publication

My first journal article based on my PhD research has been published in European Politics and Society (link here). The article discusses the outcomes of EU policy coordination in the field of culture.

New book review published

My review of Culture, Politics and Economy: The Case of New Labour, by David Hesmondhalgh, Kate Oakley, David Lee, & Melissa Nisbett, has been published online at The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society‘s website.

Demystifying and Navigating Early Career Academia

PSA Women and Politics Specialist Group

The PSA Early Career Network is holding a day’s conference in Manchester on Demystifying and Navigating Early Career Academia. It is a day of workshops and panels aimed at lifting the lid on academic processes – including advice on CVs and interviews, REF and TEF, and impact. Central to all sessions will be an attention to issues of equality and diversity and how to make academia more inclusive, including a panel on diversity in early academia. 
It is a free event and travel bursaries will be available for those who need them. More details and registration can be found here:

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#AcWriMo goals 2016

It’s no secret that I am a fan of #AcWriMo. My goals for this year are relatively modest, since I just finished my PhD and don’t have any major writing to work on at the moment.

  • Finalize my postdoc proposal (very close)
  • Complete revise and resubmit on JCMS article
  • Start paper on methodological reflections from PhD research