UACES Chair’s Message — November 2018

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UACES Chair, Nicholas Startin

Nicholas Startin, University of Bath

It is a pleasure to be writing my first column for the newsletter as Chair of UACES. I would like to begin by saying a big thank you to Helen Drake for all of her efforts in the role over the last six years. Her excellent leadership skills and commitment to UACES have left the association in very good health. It was a pleasure to have the opportunity, along with long-standing UACES member Adam Steinhouse, to interview Helen about her academic career and her time as Chair. The interview is available to watch online or to listen to on the UACES podcast series.

Taking over as Chair at the Annual Conference at my home institution of the University of Bath was a real honour and I would like to thank everyone who helped make it a success both from an academic and a social perspective. In particular, I would like to single out the UACES office team Katharine, Helena, Kerstin and Josh for all of their efforts in bringing the conference to fruition; Kathryn Simpson and Rosa Fernandez for organising the papers and the panels; and my Bath colleague, UACES Secretary, Maria Garcia for her unstinting work on the ground in Bath. The drinks reception at the Roman Baths will live long in the memory and made me think back to some of the other unforgettable conference locations of previous years. It was great to celebrate the winners of our Book Prize (Thomas Winzen), PhD Prize (Koen Slootmaeckers) and Lifetime Achievement Award (Drew Scott), who collected their prizes from Helen at the conference dinner.

Our annual conference really does have an excellent reputation and it remains the key date in the UACES calendar. I look forward to seeing many of you at #UACES2019 in the wonderful Portuguese capital of Lisbon – the call for papers is now open. Looking ahead, I am also delighted to confirm that our 50th Annual Conference (#UACES2020) will take in place at Queens University in Belfast. This is not only a great venue and city for the conference, but also a very timely location given that the UK is scheduled to be in a period of transition post exiting the EU!

I would also like to thank Anna Wambach, the outgoing Chair of the UACES Graduate Forum. Under her leadership the Graduate Forum has gained real momentum over the last couple of years, expanding both its membership and its range of activities. I look forward to taking part in the Doctoral Training Academy, which this year is focusing on the world of publishing, with Anna and other UACES colleagues later this month at Aston University. Anna has written a reflective piece on the future of European Studies and the Graduate Forum.  The success of this network is vital to the future of our association and continuing to expand its reach and traction will be one of my priorities as Chair. So, if you are a doctoral student or an early career researcher, and want to become involved in the running of the Graduate Forum, do consider standing either for the role of Chair or as a Committee member in the forthcoming elections.

On the subject of elections, UACES is also looking for a new Treasurer from September 2019 to replace Simon Usherwood who is now in his third and final year in the role. If interested, do please contact the very approachable Simon for a chat about the role. We are also looking for two new Committee members to join us on the Executive Committee so if you want to help shape the future of the association and the discipline of European Studies, you have until the 31st of January to submit your nominations!

Can I also draw UACES members’ attention to the recently published JCMS Annual Review and thank the editors Theofanis Exadaktylos, Roberta Guerrina and Emanuele Massetti for overseeing another excellent edition? Also, my thanks to all of the editors of our journals JCMS and JCER for their continued commitment and dedication in these time-consuming roles.

I look forward to working over the next three years with our colleagues in the UACES office and on the Committee as we look to build on the association’s excellent reputation. In my pitch to become Chair, I stated that I wanted to bring equality and diversity more fully into UACES’s aims and objectives. One of my goals for this coming academic year, will be to develop with colleagues an Equality & Diversity policy for the association. As a start, we have formalised a policy of promoting gender balance for panels at UACES conferences and sponsored events and of not permitting all-male panels. I will also be working with colleagues over the coming months to encourage further the growth of our Research Networks, to cultivate the international reach of the association and to develop further our Practitioner and Outreach engagement.

With Brexit on the horizon we certainly face challenges ahead as an association. We are united in the belief that European Studies as a discipline remains vital to our understanding of the EU, Europe and the wider world. I am proud to be the Chair of UACES and to represent its members. Do please email me if you have any suggestions about UACES and its future.

Nicholas Startin, University of Bath

November 2018

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