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MA student Emma Brewis awarded an internship with the Inter-Parliamentary Union


Photo of Emma Brewis

Postgraduate student Emma Brewis was recently selected for an internship to build the new global Public Engagement Hub, a partnership with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the International Parliament Engagement Network.

The International Parliament Engagement Network (IPEN) was set up in 2020 as a collaboration between the Centre for Democratic Politics at the University of Leeds and the UK House of Commons.

Founded and chaired by Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira from the School of Politics and International Studies, IPEN’s key goal is to promote collaboration between academics and practitioners in the understanding of public engagement with parliament. The network brings together over 300 academics, parliamentary officials and third sector representatives from over 30 countries across the world.

In May 2022 IPEN started to co-host the Public Engagement Hub of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), with its Centre for Innovation in Parliament (CIP). Established in 1889, the IPU is a global organisation that facilitates parliamentary diplomacy and empowers parliaments and parliamentarians to promote peace, democracy and sustainable development around the world.

Funded by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the internship will give Emma Brewis access to and experience with the international organisation of parliaments, IPU, besides supporting the development of IPEN.

IPEN logo

Emma Brewis is in the first year of an ESRC-funded 1+3 PhD as part of the White Rose Doctoral Training programme. Based at the University of Leeds, Emma’s internship runs from January to August and she will be supervised by Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira alongside Andy Richardson from the IPU.

Cristina Leston-Bandeira, Professor of Politics at the University of Leeds and Chair of IPEN, said:

We are extremely proud of Emma to have secured such a prestigious internship. It is a testament of her academic achievements.

Andy Richardson, Programme Manager, Parliamentary Standards and Knowledge at the IPU, said:

Emma’s internship will extend the partnership between IPU and IPEN on public engagement. We are looking forward to her contribution to sharing good practices and strengthening the global community on public engagement in the work of parliament.

Having graduated with a Masters’ degree in Conflict, Development and Security from the University of Leeds, Emma is mid-way through a MA in Social Research (the first step of her 1+3 PhD programme). Emma’s research interests are focused around democratic processes and civic engagement in multiplayer online video and game /digital spaces.

Emma said of the internship and her research:

I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work with the IPU and IPEN to be involved in inspiring work supporting public engagement. I’m so excited to be surrounded by experts in the area internationally and am looking forward to being a part of the work on the Public Engagement Hub.


My PhD research will be exploring democratic processes – specifically participation and engagement – in online multiplayer game spaces. I’m particularly interested in how and why engagement is so high in online role-playing elections and individuals are so motivated to take part in these processes.


Through my research and the internship, I am hoping to learn something about gaming environments and gamers to inform public engagement strategies and/or understand further how games may be a part of this.