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UACES Chair’s Message — March 2018

tc6lp9bs_400x400Helen Drake, Loughborough University London

8 March 2018

In December 2017 UACES turned 50.  For half a century, the association has been a home for scholars from the UK and abroad to exchange ideas on Europe, and to feed those ideas into the education of younger generations.

We are proud to have made it to this milestone and we celebrated in style.  Thanks to funding from the James Madison Charitable Trust, and almost 50 years to the day, we held a birthday celebration on 8 December 2017 in the wonderful surroundings of the British Academy in London.  There was bubbly, a birthday cake, a string duo, a wonderful poet, and many colleagues and friends, all captured in photos and videos here.

Behind the scenes, the Jean Monnet-funded project ‘Europe in the Archives, Europe in the Future’ came to fruition.  With the association’s archives safely stored in the Historical Archives of the European Union at the European University Institute, Florence, we have opened up scholarships for young scholars to explore those papers and the rest of the HAEU’s wonderful resources; the first two recipients of the award will take up this opportunity in 2018. They are Cleo Davies from the University of Edinburgh and Marta Musso from King’s College London.

In addition, our in-house, online and open-access journal JCER has seized on the opportunity of UACES’s big birthday to innovate: the Special Section of issue 13 (4) links text and audio-visual material to provide an unrivalled insight into the conjoined histories of UACES, European studies and UK higher education over the last half century.

Marking our anniversary in this way has involved us – the office, the committee and trustees  – in teamwork that has been intense and which surely has strengthened the association. We have built new partnerships outside the Association and continue to do so: with the University of Bath, host of the #UACES2018 Annual Conference (registrations and decisions on papers and panels will be communicated at the end of March); with the University of Lisbon, who will welcome the association for its annual conference in September 2019; and with ECSA-World, now under new management.

In 2018 we continue to attend to the good governance of the Association: as a charity, we need to be exemplary in this respect.  Mindful of this, we have recently relaunched our Student Forum as the more inclusive Graduate Forum. Now open both to Student and Early-Career Members, the GF will hold its inaugural conference in Leuven later in 2018 (view the Call for Papers).

We have actively encouraged UACES members to stand for election to the Committee, and the voting for two places on the Committee, and for my successor as Chair is now open (the first election for Chair in some time).

We have advertised for someone to help us cover for Emily Linnemann, our Executive Director, during her maternity leave that starts in May 2018. We will miss Emily but I know that the handover will be flawless.

Finally, we are attending to the matter of diversity in all its dimensions with regards to our academic community. Brexit is not the only show in town, and the application that we have just submitted to the European Commission’s Jean Monnet programme is an ingenious project to take us fit for purpose into our next half century and its challenges, whatever they may be.

 


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