Conference: 'Security in a time of 'Polycrisis'

The Centre for Global Security Challenges and the European Journal of International Security are pleased to announce the 2023 Conference will take place on 18-19 May at the University of Leeds.

Security in a Time of ‘Polycrisis’?

The term ‘polycrisis’ has gained prominence over recent years as a way of articulating the sum of the multiple, intersecting crises of our contemporary world. Interlocking environmental disasters, a global pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the potential for nuclear conflict are happening within entrenched and often entrenching structures of militarisation, exploitation and inequality. We live, according to this discourse, in an age of potential plural catastrophe. This age of polycrisis emphasises the importance of understanding how these multiple crises intersect and affect each other.

‘Security’ as a logic through which to comprehend and respond to this circumstance has been increasingly stretched while also becoming inescapable. As a concept, security rests on the drawing of lines between security/not security and security/insecurity. These lines have been critiqued for producing and reproducing imperial, gendered, racist, violent and exclusionary structures. But does an age of polycrisis dissolve even the ability to make the distinctions on which security as an organising logic relies?

The Centre for Global Security Challenges and the European Journal of International Security are organising a two-day, in person conference to engage with these issues.


Thursday 18 May | Day One | Newlyn Building SR 1.07

10:00 Registration and Coffee (room LG.02)

10:15 Welcome

10:30 -12:15 Panel 1: Security in a Time of 'Polycrisis'

Panel Chair: Laura Considine


Christopher Ankerson, 'Security in a Time of Polycrisis: Sovereign Meets the Wicked Problems, Super Wicked Problems, and Social Messes' (New York University)

Benoît Pelopidas, Thomas Fraise, Sterre van Buuren and Caroline Sasaki-Pericou, 'Existential Silos: In Search of Blind Spots in the Scholarship on the Future of Climate Change and the Nuclear Threat' (SciencesPo)

Katharine Pye, 'Integrating the Polycrisis Away: The EU and the Conflict in the Sahel' (London School of Economics)

Duncan McLaren, 'Risk Politics in the ‘Polycrisis’ – Can Risk-risk Analysis Enhance Security?' (Lancaster University)

Rob Pinfold, 'Grand Strategy as an Antidote to Polycrisis?' (Durham University)

12:15 - 13:15 Lunch (will be provided)

13:15 - 15:00 Panel 2a: Everyday Security

Chair: Nick Robinson


Ann-Kathrin Benner and Holger Niemann, 'How Does a Crisis Mean? A Participatory Approach to Studying Polycrisis in the Everyday' (University of Hamburg)

Jethro Norman, 'Crisis and Connectivity in Somalia: Translocal war in 2023' (Danish Institute for International Studies)

Alba Griffin, 'Finding Power in Pop Culture: Youth Politics and Everyday Violence in Film' (University of Leeds)

Seher Kurt, 'Information Insecurity on Social Media at the time of Polycrisis' (University of Glasgow)

13:15 - 15:00 Panel 2b: Quantitative Approaches to Polycrisis (room LG.02)

 Chair: Marius Mehrl


Edward Newman and Margherita Belgioioso, 'A Just Transition? Fossil Fuel Reforms and Civil Unrest' (University of Leeds)

Luis De La Calle, 'Fighting Back or Charging Forward? The Role of Geographic Revisionism in Conflict' (University of Sheffield)

Marco Binetti and Christoph Dworschak, 'Switching Sides and Saving Skin: Military Effectiveness and Defection during Conflict' (University of the Bundeswehr Munich and University of York)

Giuditta Fontana, Argyro Kartsonaki, Natascha Neudorfer & Stefan Wolff, 'Learning from Failure: Tackling War Recurrence in Protracted Peace Processes' (University of Birmingham)

Helena Hinkkainen, 'Choosing Mass Atrocities: Explaining Tactical Shifts by Armed Groups' (University of Leeds)

15:00 - 15:15 Coffee Break

15:15 - 17:00 Panel 3: The Global Security Politics of Russian Foreign Policy and the War in Ukraine

 Chair: Edward Newman


Oscar Larsson, 'The Moral Dimensions of Resilience and National Defense' (Swedish Defense University)

Yulia Kurnyshova, 'Chains of Insecurities: Constructing Ukraine's Agency in Times of War' (University of Bremen)

Jason Ralph, 'What is Progressive about Pragmatist IR and what guidance does it offer those responding to Russia-Ukraine war?' (University of Leeds)

Selma Imamoglu, 'Turkey as an Intersection of the Global Nuclear Crisis' (Durham University)

Muhammed Bilir, 'Explaining Membership Crisis in Sweden’s Road to NATO: Search for Autonomy in Sweden-United States-Turkiye Equilibrium' (University of Leeds)

17:00 Drinks Reception

Friday 19 May - Day Two | Newlyn Building SR 1.07

09.30 - 11.15 Panel 4: Transnational Inequalities

 Chair: Sahla Aroussi


Conor O’Reilly, 'Concierge Security & The Transnational Intersectionality of Privilege' (University of Leeds)

Ishmael Bhila, 'Africa, Polycrisis and International Law: Assessing Africa’s Commitment to International Law Negotiations on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems' (University of Portsmouth)

Mel Yan, 'Localisation Amidst the Global Food Crisis: Consumption and the Resilience of Food Sovereignty as Alternative to Neoliberal Food Security' (University of Leeds)

Owain Williams, 'COVID, Cartels and Collusion: Rigging inclusion and exclusions and the Political Economy of Pharma' (University of Leeds)

James Souter, 'Displacement Without Migration: Towards a Normative Framework' (University of Leeds)

11:15 - 11:30 Coffee Break

11:30 - 13:15 Panel 5a: CVE and Policing

 Chair: James Worrall


Matt Tidmarsh, '"We're Genericists": Towards "Nodal" Identities and Practices in Probation in England and Wales' (University of Leeds)

Natalie James and Jack Holland, 'The Prevent Duty: The Extra-Ordinary in the Everyday' (University of Leeds)

Md. Didarul Islam, 'How is CVE Framed as a Solution to Extremism? A Case Study on Bangladesh' (University of Leeds)

Mika Suonpaa, 'Securitization of Foreigners in Wartime Finland' (The University of Turku, Finland)

Matteo di Celso, 'Normalizing the Exception: Why Democracies Use Soldiers as Cops' (University of Genova)

11.30 - 13:15 Panel 5b: Critical Security (room LG.02)

 Chair: Kingsley Edney


Chi Zhang, 'Centring Non-western Approach to Security: Human Security in China' (University of St Andrews)

Emily Gee, 'Peacekeeping in Crisis: A Feminist Ecological Framework for Understanding Why Peacekeepers Commit Sexual Exploitation and Abuse' (University of Leeds)

Rakan Alibri, 'A Linguistic Approach to Investigate the Media Construction of Risks to Life' (University of Lancaster)

Louise Pears, '#Critical Security Studies: Understanding the Impact of Social Media on Critical Security Studies' (University of Leeds)

Emily Faux, 'Do Nukes go "POP"? Making the Case for Engagement with Popular Culture in Nuclear Weapons Politics' (Newcastle University)

13:15 - 14:00 Lunch (will be provided)

14:00 - 15:45 Panel 6: Environmental Security

 Chair: Viktoria Spaiser


Danielle Young, 'Who Can Govern from a House on Fire? International Order, State Responsibility and the Problem of Solar Engineering' (University of Leeds)

Pauline Heinrichs, 'Temporality, Crises and Energy Security: Theorising Resilience in International Relations' (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Olaf Corry, '"Our Way of Life is not up for Negotiation": Societal Security and the Question of Climate Engineering' (University of Leeds)

Nicole Nisbett, 'The Moral Power of Youth Climate Activists - Transforming International Climate Politics?' (University of Leeds)

Richard Beardsworth, 'How Can One Lead on the Climate Emergency in an Age of Polycrisis?' (University of Leeds)

Finding us in Leeds…

The conference will take place in the Newlyn Building, University of Leeds (24 Mount Preston Street, Woodhouse, Leeds, LS2 9ND). Details about getting to the University are available here.

For those travelling to Leeds from elsewhere, there are several accommodation options available in the city centre.

Any questions?

Please email Didar with any questions at