Catherine Lefèvre reports on the 1st UPIER Workshop in Madrid - May 2017

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Thursday 27th – Friday 28th April 2017

Last week I had the privilege to attend the first UPIER workshop in Madrid, hosted by Stefano Battilossi at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. The workshop was the first opportunity for all members of the UPIER project from the University of Glasgow, Uppsala University, Universidad Carlos III and the University of Geneva to meet in person to exchange knowledge, ideas and findings.

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On the 27th of April, the workshop began with a communal lunch where all the UPIER project members could meet, many for the first time. After lunch, Catherine Schenk welcomed all the attendees and began proceedings by introducing the first workshop session: a talk on new techniques and tools in textual analysis given by Tessa Hauswedell from the HERA “Asymmetrical Encounters” project. She talked about the use of digital humanities, corpus linguistics and the benefits of digitizing to enhance ways in which content can be studied.

After the first workshop session, the post-doctoral researchers and I had the opportunity to attend a career development sessions led by Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol and Juan Flores. We talked about training opportunities to support our work at UPIER. In my case I feel that I need to develop my verbal presentation skills and broaden my knowledge of economic issues. In the meantime, the senior UPIER members held a management meeting.

Afterwards the UPIER team regrouped for dinner at a local restaurant and engaged in a lively discussion on various topics.

On the next day, we had an early start and a full day of presentations where members of each work package talked about their research, ideas and findings thus far. Sebastian Alvarez was the first to present his work on the Eurocurrency interbank market, crisis management and international financial regulation 1973-89. Juan Flores followed suit and presented on the resolution of sovereign debt disputes 1945-1970, focusing at the League of Nations. Mary O’Sullivan was the last to present from Work Package 1; her work focuses on the Federal Reserve Act and US money market 1913-1929.

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I was next to present for Work Package 2. My work focuses on the Eastern European perspective of the sovereign debt crisis. I received good feedback and guidance from my fellow UPIER colleagues. Emmanuel’s presentation on Sociète Generale and the Polish sovereign debt crisis was next. Catherine Schenk was the last to present on the role of the IMF and banks in the 1982-1983 sovereign debt crisis.

Åsa Malmström‐Rognes was the first to present of Work Package 3: her work focuses on regulatory traditions and legislative homogenization. Mats Larsson presented next on finance and the welfare state: banking development and regulatory principles in Sweden from 1900-2015.

Stefano Battilossi represented Work Package 4 and discussed his ideas to explore uses of the past in public/political discourse concerning monetary unification.

All the presentations were well received and very informative and after each presentation questions were taken and further ideas were discussed at length. After the presentation we discussed future activities such as the upcoming second UPIER workshop in Geneva and the Business History Conference in April 2018.

Overall the first UPIER conference was a great success with many ideas and knowledge being exchanged. As the most junior person on the project I found it to be very informative and enjoyable, and I look forward to our next meeting in Geneva.

By Catherine Lefèvre

Glasgow, May 2017