Chair’s message – March 2016

The UACES Network |

previous UACEs newslettersUACES published its first ever newsletter – Number 0 – in July 1968, and the publication has been in continuous production ever since.  The first item in that initial number was a statement of the aims of the Association, which read as follows:

  • To promote teaching and research in contemporary European Studies, in fields such as law, economics, politics, and recent history;
  • To maintain and foster links between British universities or institutions and those in other European countries as well as with such other bodies as may be thought fit.
  • To provide such help as may prove possible towards the promotion of study in these fields;
  • To foster coordination of teaching and research by all appropriate means including the registers of teaching and research and the organization of meetings and seminars.

In many important respects the Association has remained true to those initial aims. In addition, we now play the public engagement role that comes hand in hand with our charitable status, namely, that ‘the object of the Association is to advance education for the public benefit through the promotion of teaching and research in contemporary European Studies’ ( Our late executive director, Luke Foster, took that public mission very seriously and as UACES heads towards its fiftieth anniversary in 2017, the time seems right to showcase what we have to offer, not just to our current membership but to any individual or group from future generations who want to understand how UACES promoted and supported the study of European integration – and how that field of study has altered over time – since its foundation in December 1967.  To that end, we intend to celebrate our golden anniversary in 2017 in style. The highlight of our celebrations is to be the transfer and opening of our archives to the public. These archives are to be deposited in the Historical Archives of the European Union in the European University  Institute in Florence, Italy, in the course of 2016. There, they will be inventoried, categorised, preserved using the latest technologies, and subsequently made available to present and future scholars of European integration on a very open access basis (with due regard to norms of copyright and data protection).  At a later stage, the intention is to collaborate with the EUI for the digitisation of those hard-copy papers, and for the deposit and dissemination of our e-archives, which date back to the late 1990s.  We have applied to the European Commission for Jean Monnet project funding which will allow us to raise awareness of the archives and their contents over the course of 2017, and the Annual conferences in 2016 and 2017 will provide platforms for us to celebrate this development all together.

This decision to focus our energies onto a 50th anniversary celebration was strongly supported by those present at a ‘strategy day’ organised by the Chair at Loughborough University’s London campus on 15 January 2016. The purpose of this day was to look to the future with optimism and agree on ways to make UACES as self-sustaining as we can. We discussed fundraising, succession planning and, of course, our 50th anniversary celebrations. I [the Chair] would like to thank those who gave up their time to support the office and officers on that day, after what has been a particularly challenging year in UACES’s history. We were particularly grateful to Prof Dame Helen Wallace for being part of our discussions. Helen is UACES’s new honorary President (from 2016) and we welcome her back – by 1973 she was already Association secretary – with open arms.  The meeting concluded on the agreement that UACES was indeed, and first and foremost, an academic home – a friendly and welcoming community – for scholars from different disciplines, countries and generations, united in their passion for the study of European integration.

Helen Drake, Loughborough University