For the first time in our history, the Student Publication Association is heading north of the border for our National Conference – the premier event in the student media calendar! We’ll be in Glasgow from 31 March – 2 April, hosting a whole range of sessions with some of the biggest names in the media.

Held in partnership with Glasgow Guardian, [qmunicate] magazine and G-You Magazine, we’re so pleased to be heading to Glasgow for the very first time, and to a city outside England for the first time since 2018.

#SPANC23 is an excellent opportunity for you to hear more from some great journalistic minds, get tips on how to improve the work you’re already doing, as well as getting some sage career advice from people in the industry, many of whom cut their teeth on their own student paper or magazine.

New for this year, we’re also introducing #SPANC23 workshops. These are free, bookable sessions which will give those in the room targeted support and training on a particular area of journalism or the SPA, and be more hands-on than our usual excellent range of Q&A sessions, panels and talks and leave you with tangible skills you can use. Find out more and book here >>

The national conference will also play host to this year’s national awards, which give you the chance to be recognised for your journalism, whether that’s on a personal level, or getting your publication in the running to be recognised as the best in the country. Nominations are now closed, and our shortlists have been revealed. We’ll announce the winners at our glitzy awards evening on April 1.

Tickets for the event are now closed, and we can’t wait to see you in Glasgow – it’s going to be our biggest national conference and awards night ever!

If you can’t make it, don’t worry, we’ll have coverage of the conference weekend across our social media, and will be streaming our awards night live on April 1.

#SPANC23 also brings with it your chance to get involved in shaping the future of the Student Publication Association. Get everything you need to know about how you can have your say on how we work for our members (you!) by heading here.

For any and all updates, keep your eye on this page, and our Twitter and Instagram in the run-up to the big weekend.

Meet our Speakers

Take a look below for just some of the names coming along to #SPANC23 to share their knowledge and insight across a range of talks, panels and workshops. We’ll be announcing more as the weeks go by, and are proud to be making sure you’ll be engaging with some of the finest names in the media. Keep an eye on our social media for more announcements as the event draws closer.

As well. as our incredible host of speakers, remember to also check out our #SPANC23 workshops – new, bookable sessions offering targeted, hands-on experience in a certain sector of journalism and publishing. Find out more about those, here.

Isabel Hardman - The Spectator

Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of the Spectator and presenter of Radio 4's The Week in Westminster. Her books are Why We Get The Wrong Politicians, the Natural Health Service and Fighting for Life.

John Nicolson MP

Before entering politics John Nicolson was a reporter on some of the country’s highest profile current affairs shows including ‘Panorama’ and ‘Newsnight.’ He presented ‘BBC Breakfast’ and ‘ITV News’ and was the BBC news anchor on September 11th 2001.

John was born in Glasgow. The first generation of his family to go to university, he studied at Glasgow University before winning a Kennedy Scholarship to Harvard.

He is now the MP for Ochil and South Perthshire and SNP front bench culture spokesperson at Westminster.

Laura Webster - The National

Laura Webster is the editor of The National, Scotland's only pro-independence daily newspaper. She has worked at the publication for five years in a range of different roles, including Digital Editor and News and Feature Editor. She is the youngest editor in Scotland, having taken on the role at 25, and is passionate about making Scotland a fairer, more progressive country.

Catriona Stewart - The Herald

Catriona Stewart is writer-at-large and columnist for The Herald. She specialises in politics, social affairs, community reporting and feminism.

Catriona was previously Chief Reporter for The Glasgow Times, with a focus on crime and court reporting, education, and the complex social issues in the city’s south side. Her career in newspapers has included arts reviewing, foreign reportage and features.

Catriona is a freelance broadcaster working in radio, television and podcasts. She is currently secretary of Women in Journalism Scotland.

Conor Matchett - The Scotsman

Conor Matchett is the deputy political editor at The Scotsman. Prior to this he worked at the Edinburgh Evening News and the Eastern Daily Press. He is a former Chair and officer of the SPA and was part of The Student while at Edinburgh University.

He focuses on Scottish politics and is proudly irritating with FOI requests. He won Regional Journalist of the Year at the Media Freedom Awards, and Young Journalist of the Year at the Regional Press Awards.

Christine Jardine MP

Christine has been the MP or Edinburgh West since 2017 and is the Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Scotland, Women & Equalities and the Cabinet Office.

Before entering politics, Christine was an Edinburgh based journalist and broadcaster who had written for the Scotsman, worked for the BBC and was editor of the Press Association in Scotland. Christine taught both post and undergraduate students at the University of the West of Scotland, having run the postgraduate practical journalism course at the Scottish Centre for Journalism Studies.

Stephen McGowan - Scottish Daily Mail

Stephen McGowan joined the Scottish Daily Mail in 1999, becoming Chief Football Writer and a sports columnist in 2011.

A Sports Columnist of the Year and two-time winner of Sports News Writer of the Year in the Scottish Press Awards, he is also the author of two books and provides analysis for BBC Scotland, STV and Radio Clyde.

Rachel Amery - The Courier & Press and Journal

Rachel Amery is a political journalist at The Courier and The Press and Journal, covering Scottish politics and working between Dundee and Holyrood.

Before going into politics Rachel worked at The Evening Telegraph and The Perthshire Advertiser. She started out as a reporter at Aberdeen University’s student newspaper The Gaudie, before moving to study a journalism postgrad at Robert Gordon University.

Dr. Kelly Kanayama

Dr. Kelly Kanayama is the former Arts & Culture Editor and Administrative Manager of Media Diversified, a global media platform dedicated to showcasing the expertise and voices of writers of colour.

She has written for Nerdist, the Independent, Bitch Media, Shelfdust, and the Eisner Award-winning Women Write About Comics, among others. She has also appeared as a comics expert on BBC Sounds and on panels for 2000 AD's 40th and 45th anniversary events.

Alex Watson - The Press & Journal and The Evening Express

Alex Watson is Head of Comment for The Press & Journal and the Evening Express. Alex occasionally finds time to write her own pieces, and is nominated for Columnist of the Year at the UK Regional Press Awards 2023.
She started in digital lifestyle journalism, overseeing everything from breaking news to SEO explainers.

In 2019, she wrote a column about her cat for The Scotsman - the rest was history.

Alice Hinds - The Sunday Post

Over the past 10 years, Alice Hinds has written for a range of newspapers, including daily, local, national and digital titles around Scotland. Working on a variety of topics, from front page splashes to celebrity interviews, magazine journalism to political insight, her writing focuses on finding the human side to every story.

Her work has been nominated for three Scottish Press Awards; Feature Writer (2020); Food & Drink Writer (2021) and Arts and Entertainment Journalist (2022), and she currently works as a staff feature writer at the Scottish Sunday Newspaper of the Year, The Sunday Post.

Daniella Theis

Daniella Theis is a freelance journalist and columnist for The Herald, often focusing on social issues and current affairs. Previously, she was a local reporter for the Greenock Telegraph, covering the Inverclyde area.

Before graduating from the University of Strathclyde last year, she was involved with the University’s student publication – the Strathclyde Telegraph – first as contributor, and later as news editor and then editor-in-chief. She is also two-time winner of the ‘Student of the Year’ category at the Scottish Press Awards in 2021 and 2022.

Kristina Völk

Kristina Völk is a freelance broadcast journalist working across radio and television for national and international news. She splits her time between the German private broadcaster RTL, the German public broadcaster ZDF and the BBC World Service, where she reports on the biggest British and international events. As part of her responsibilities she organises the coverage for summits like the G7 in Cornwall or the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow as well as covering breaking news events such as the death of her Majesty Elizabeth II.

Kristina also works in long form documentaries and is the founder and co-host of the English Breakfast podcast.

Eilidh Akilade - The Skinny

Eilidh Akilade is a writer based in Glasgow. She is Intersections Editor at The Skinny and her writing can be found in publications such as gal-dem, Dazed, & Bella Caledonia. She currently also works within literature programming & development.

Um-E-Aymen Babar - BBC Sport

Um-E-Aymen Babar is an award-winning multilingual journalist working at the intersection of race, class and sport. She won the 2022 Hugh Cudlipp Award for her debut piece in Wisden’s quarterly, The Nightwatchman. She is a first-class honours graduate from Queen Mary University of London where her research explored the legacies of colonialism present in modern day cricket. In 2021, she graduated from the University of Cambridge with an M.Phil. in Modern South Asian Studies. Um-E-Aymen completed her NCTJ after being awarded the inaugural BCOMS x Chelsea Foundation bursary and currently works as a journalist at BBC Sport.

Chris McLaughlin - BBC Scotland

Chris Mclaughlin has been a broadcast journalist for 25 years, specialising in sport and sports news. He started in commercial radio but moved to BBC Scotland in 2004. Currently, the broadcaster’s Sports News Correspondent, Chris has worked on a number of key stories including the long term impact of sport on the brain and historic abuse in sport. As part of his role, he has also covered major sporting events such as Olympic Games, Wimbledon, The Open and the European Championships.

Arusa Qureshi - Fest

Arusa Qureshi is a writer and editor based in Edinburgh, and a passionate advocate for diversity and accessibility within arts and culture. She is the current Editor of Fest and the former Editor of The List and writes mostly about music, most recently Flip the Script – a book about women in UK hip hop, published by 404 Ink. Her work has appeared in the Scotsman, Clash, the Guardian, GoldFlakePaint, Time Out, the Quietus, NME and more. She is on the board of the Scottish Music Centre.

Lucy Dunn - The Spectator

Lucy Dunn is a journalist and social media editor at The Spectator as well as being a qualified doctor. She commissions, edits and writes on all things health and Scotland.

She was editor of The Glasgow Guardian and reported from inside COP26. She has been an avid attendee of SPA conferences, winning Best Journalist (Scotland) last year. Lucy has a Scottish health column, wrote for The Quietus and appears on BBC Radio Scotland.

Rachel Watson - The Scottish Sun

Rachel Watson is the Political Editor for The Scottish Sun. She moved to the paper last year after working as Deputy Political Editor at The Scottish Daily Mail. Rachel is also the secretary for the Scottish Parliamentary Journalists' Association.

She started her career at Deadline News in Edinburgh after graduating from Napier University in 2013, and since becoming a journalist has covered some of the biggest stories in Scotland and overseas.

Gordon Chree - STV News

Gordon Chree is Senior Reporter with STV News. Over the past 25 years he has covered many of the biggest stories in Scotland and beyond. From the terrorist attack at Glasgow airport, to the French presidential elections and the death of Her Majesty the Queen he has been at the heart of the coverage on Scotland’s most-watched news programme. He often presents STV News at Six and contributes to STV News online output. Away from work he’s recently got into running and is attempting to complete all sixty-seven parkrun events in Scotland.

Dayna McAlpine - HuffPost UK

Dayna McAlpine is HuffPost UK's Lifestyle Editor, and previously worked as a Lifestyle Writer for Metro UK and a commissioning editor at Metro UK's first person section, Platform.

Dayn's also written on sex, relationships and health (and sometimes all three at once) for the likes of Mashable, Cosmopolitan, Stylist, Men's Health and more. She has been a Scotland correspondent for both The Culture Trip and Time Out and worked as a digital assistant for the UK's biggest food and drink magazine Delicious.

Alex Massie

Alex Massie is a political columnist for The Times and The Sunday Times. He started his career with The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday and has since written for most British newspapers as well as American titles such as The Washington Post, The New York Times, Politico, and The Atlantic.

Alex is also Scotland Editor of The Spectator. While a student at Trinity College, Dublin he edited a magazine, TCD Miscellany, and was a regular contributor to the college newspaper, Trinity News.

Lesley-Anne Kelly - DC Thomson

Lesley-Anne is the head of data journalism at DC Thomson and is passionate about democratising data for readers, whilst also showing that data journalism techniques don’t need to be reserved for the most serious of subjects. She was the 2020 Specialist reporter of the year at the Scottish Press Awards and her team have been shortlisted for the UK Regional Press Awards, the Future of Media Awards and the global Sigma award for data journalism.

Juliana da Penha

Juliana da Penha is a freelance journalist from São Paulo, based in Scotland. She is the founder and editor of Migrant Women Press, an independent media focused on women's experiences with migration. She was a reporter in Brazil covering Hip-Hop culture and social movements for nearly a decade. She worked with migrant communities, especially women, in the charity sector in Scotland and Italy. She holds a bachelor's degree in Cultural Studies and Communication and a Master's in Human Rights and International Politics.

Severin Carrell - The Guardian

Severin is Scotland editor for The Guardian, and has been with the paper for 17 years. Previously he has covered specialisms such as home affairs, the environment, UK politics and defence for the Independent on Sunday, Independent, Scotland on Sunday and The Scotsman.

He started in journalism at Bradford university in 1985, co-editing the student magazine Fleece. In 1990 he took a postgraduate diploma in newspaper journalism at City University, after which The Scotsman sent him to Thomson Regional Newspaper's journalism school in Newcastle.

Audrey Gillies - Adelphi Communications

Audrey is a medical writer with Adelphi Communications. Prior to beginning her career in medical communications in 2019, Audrey was a contributor and copyeditor for The GIST.

She has written about postgraduate mental health, interviewed deep-tech start-ups, and explored the ever-expanding world of robotics and assistive technology.

Audrey is also passionate about supporting neurodivergent people in education and employment.

Assa Samaké-Roman

Assa Samaké-Roman is a French journalist covering Scotland's politics, culture and society for French-speaking media (Radio France Internationale, Radio-Télévision Suisse, Politis, Le Figaro, Mediapart), and as a regular columnist in The National newspaper.

Assa is also the editor of La Revue Écossaise, a brand new magazine about Scotland's ideas, culture, history and politics, created with four other French people in Scotland.

Parisa Hashempour

Parisa Hashempour is a British-Iranian freelance journalist who reports on social inequity, culture, tech and the climate. She has written for the likes of Insider, Refinery29, Euronews, Fast Company, Glamour, Stylist, Women’s Health and others.

Previously Parisa worked as a print editor and broadcaster. She has appeared on BBC radio and has reported on global events including COP26 and Davos. Parisa is also working towards a PhD on the gendered experiences of Middle Eastern and North African migrants in the UK.

Nick Stylianou - Sky News

Nick Stylianou is an award-winning Senior Producer at Sky News, currently specialising in stories about communities, migration and social affairs.

He's recently returned from his fifth trip to the war in Ukraine, spending a total of fifteen weeks producing coverage of the Russian invasion across the country.

He won a BAFTA in 2020 as part of the team reporting the Hong Kong Protests. Nick's been at Sky News for 10 years, and before that worked at BBC News, Channel 4 News and ITV News.

Rachael Davies

Rachael Davies is a freelance journalist and editor based in Edinburgh. She currently writes for a number of entertainment publications, and previously worked as an SEO journalist for the Scotsman.

Stewart Paterson - Glasgow Times

Stewart Paterson is Political Correspondent for the Glasgow Times. He has reported extensively on local government, Scottish and UK politics for two decades.

From elections and referendums to issues of poverty, homelessness and drug deaths, Stewart covers a full range of politics and its impact on communities.

Eve Livingston

Eve Livingston is a freelance journalist specialising in investigations, social affairs and inequalities. She has worked for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and BBC Newsnight, and has freelanced for The Guardian, The Independent and VICE among many others.

Eve has appeared on TV and radio including BBC Woman's Hour and ITV News. In 2018 she was one of Young Women Scotland's 30 under 30, and in 2019 she was shortlisted for an Orwell Prize and Amnesty Media Award.

Ravi Sagoo

Ravi Sagoo is a freelance broadcaster, working with BBC Scotland on TV and radio. His presenting credits include programming across arts & culture, music, sport, and documentaries.

Recent work includes presenting and producing ‘The Glasgow Mela 2022’ (Nominated for ‘Best Music Programme’ at the 2023 Broadcast Awards) for BBC Scotland, assistant producer on ‘The Barrowland Roar’ (BBC Alba) and producing BBC Radio 4 documentary ‘The British Bhangra Explosion’. Ravi also works with Demus Productions, creating TV, radio & digital content for the BBC, STV, MTV, ESPN and others.

Paul McNamee - The Big Issue

Paul McNamee is UK editor of The Big Issue, a role he's held since 2011. He has guided The Big Issue through a shift to digital-first output, and picked up several accolades - including being named British Editor of The Year three times by the British Society of Magazine Editors, and inducted into the PPA Scotland Hall of Fame .

Paul started out on local newspapers before co-founding Belfast-based Irish music magazine Blank. He moved to the NME in London before working for a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Daily Mirror, The Guardian, Belfast Telegraph and The Irish Times.

Lauren Gilmour - PA Media

Lauren Gilmour is a general news reporter at PA Media based in Edinburgh and covers everything from court, strikes, crime, human interest and politics.

She started her journalism career at the Glasgow Times with no formal journalism experience through the Facebook Community Reporter Scheme, after working in just about every industry including training to be a teacher, local government, charities and even a brief stint in an insurance call centre.

Lauren lives in Edinburgh with her fiancé who won't buy her a dog until they buy a house.

Christopher Johnson - Citywire Wealth Manager

Christopher Johnson is an award-winning financial reporter at Citywire Wealth Manager, writing about the latest investment stories for industry readers. Last year he won Headlinemoney’s Rising Star B2B Journalist of 2022 award for his work covering asset management.

Christopher has experience at Thomson Reuters Foundation News, Al Jazeera English and CNN International where he wrote articles, produced news for social media and aided production with his research on topics for online content and television shows.

Louisa Wells - The Telegraph

Louisa Wells is Head of Podcasts at The Telegraph, leading the team behind the publication's award-winning audio. Together they make weekly political content, such as Westminster favourite 'Chopper's Politics', seasonal shows like the groundbreaking 'Bryony Gordon's Mad World' and blockbuster narrative documentary series such as 'Bed of Lies' and 'Call Bethel'.

Outside of audio, Louisa hosts the Telegraph's Media Literacy Programme for school pupils. Before The Telegraph, Louisa produced local and network radio for the BBC for 8 years.

Josh Sandiford - Birmingham Mail

Josh is a patch reporter for the Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Live. He joined in June 2021 and helped launch My Solihull, a local news brand telling the stories of previously under-reported communities.

Before that, Josh was a freelance reporter for The Big Issue, The Guardian and The Observer. In December 2022, he was shortlisted for Young Journalist of the Year at the Regional Press Awards.

Carla Jenkins - The Times & Sunday Times Scotland

Carla is the social media and platforms journalist for The Times and Sunday Times Scotland. She writes the Table Scraps column for Alba, and in 2019 she won Young Journalist of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.

Carla previously worked at Glasgow Live, The Herald and the Evening Times. Her other writing credits include The Guardian, the Manchester Evening News, The Scotsman and the Daily Mirror. She's made TV for BBC Three and Channel 4.

Sean Howe - PA Training

Sean Howe is an experienced journalist and editor with specialist knowledge of subjects including policing, crime, defence and security. He began his career in local papers before editing national B2B titles and moving to lead the global editorial operations for Janes, a specialist defence and security publisher. Sean leads the Essential Journalism and Digital Features and Longform courses for PA Training.

Ali Kershaw - PA Training

Alison is a news editor at PA and has extensive experience in news journalism. She joined the news agency as a general reporter and also worked as a royal reporter before serving as PA’s education correspondent for over 10 years. Prior to joining the news desk, she worked as a High Court reporter, covering major cases including the Johnny Depp libel trial.

Alexander Smail - Cocoon Magazine

Celia Bergin - Bloomberg

Celia Bergin is a reporter at Bloomberg. She became a full time reporter after completing the summer internship last year, and has covered the UK economy, politics, and energy and equities markets. She'll be reporting on European tech for the next three months.

Before graduating in 2022, she was Features editor at The Boar, the University of Warwick's student newspaper. She received nominations for both regional and national Student Publication Association awards while working in student journalism.

Heather Dewar

Jane Hamilton

Jane Hamilton has been an award-winning crime reporter for 24 years. She started in a local freesheet as a volunteer writer until she graduated with a degree in radio broadcasting. From there she went to the Edinburgh Evening News, was promoted to crime reporter within a year, and now there isn’t a national newspaper in Scotland she hasn’t written for.

Her job has taken her all over the world and she worked with the US Marshals on an international fugitive hunt. She recently left The Daily Record after her second eight-year-stint as their crime correspondent. She is now freelancing as a journalist and broadcaster and is currently writing a book.

Jeff Mitchell - Getty Images

Jeff Mitchell has been a photographer for the agency Getty Images since 2006. Glasgow-based, his work capturing the biggest breaking stories has taken him across the globe, picking up a multitude of awards, including Press Photographer of the Year.

Bethany Woodhead - BBC Scotland

Bethany Woodhead is a researcher and production assistant for BBC Scotland. She previously worked in the commissioning team for the newsdesk, before joining the Audio Drama & Readings team, broadcasting drama, poetry, readings, and podcasts.

A former Editor-in-Chief of the student publication, The Glasgow Guardian, Bethany became part of the BBC’s investigations unit, ‘Disclosure’, following the widespread circulation of her SPA-nominated opinion piece and work with The Sunday Times exposing sexual violence and misconduct at the University of Glasgow.

Kwaku Gyasi - Bloomberg

Kwaku Gyasi is a reporter at Bloomberg. He has covered equities markets, oil trading, corporate finance and reported on breaking business news since he joined the newsroom last year. Before graduating from the University of Cambridge in 2022, he served as a columnist and section editor at student paper Varsity, writing about popular culture and the music industry.

Louisa Hatt - Fashion blogger

Lucy Dyer - News Associates

Lucy Dyer is editorial development manager at News Associates with responsibility for securing trainees – across all postgraduate and undergraduate courses – their pathways into journalism. She heads up their marketing and admissions teams and work to build partnerships in the industry. She is a former editor with a passion for social media and emerging digital platforms.

Rhiannon Davies - Greater Govanhill

Sahil Jaidka - Sky Sports

#SPANC23 Delegate Brochure

The brochure below has everything you need for #SPANC23 – from the full timetable, to a campus map, and important messages from our exec team and sponsors.

Take a look through and get ready for the 2023 conference and awards!