UACES Chair’s Message — February 2019

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UACES Chair, Nicholas Startin

Nicholas Startin, University of Bath

It has been a busy few months for the Association since I wrote my first column as Chair in November. While Brexit developments continue to move along at a snail’s pace, I am pleased to report that UACES remains as busy and as vibrant a community of scholars as ever.

Let me begin by thanking those colleagues who have put themselves forward for election as UACES committee members. We have two candidates for the role of Treasurer and five for the two vacancies on the Committee. Voting details will be sent to members by email so do please cast your votes.

In terms of the future of UACES, following a recent strategy meeting we are committed to finalising an Equality and Diversity Policy for the Association by the end of the academic year. We will be in touch in due course with a member’s survey on this subject, which will feed directly into the policy. My thanks to Katharine Wright, UACES Committee member and convener of the Gendering EU Studies Research Network, for agreeing to take on responsibility for Equality and Diversity issues for the Association.

We are also looking into options for UACES Research Networks to gain more traction and longevity beyond their initial 3-year funding cycle, as well as investigating further ways of sustaining and increasing our international membership base. I will report back on these developments in my next newsletter.

Preparations are well under way for #UACES2019 in Lisbon. Thank you to everyone who is working  on bringing the conference together. I look forward to seeing UACES colleagues, old and new, in September at what I am sure will be another memorable, annual conference. I am delighted to report that we have had the highest number of submissions on record and that all panel proposals comply with our recently introduced policy of promoting gender balance for panels at UACES conferences and sponsored events. A reminder that in September 2020 we will be returning to Belfast, backstop or no backstop, for our 50th Annual Conference.  I recall giving a paper on Euroscepticism on our last visit there as a doctoral student in 2002!

On the subject of Doctoral students, I was very pleased to be invited by the Graduate Forum (GF) to attend and take part in their Doctoral Training Academy at Aston University in November, which was on the theme of publishing. It was great to see so many postgraduate students and early-career researchers at such a vibrant event: my congratulations to the GF Committee for organising such an interesting programme of panels and workshops. We also welcomed the new GF Chair Rachael Dickson and new GF Communications Officer Olga Litvyak into their roles. I look forward to working with them in the future.

In terms of our in-house journals, we have just published an excellent open-access issue of JCER which includes a multimedia special section on ‘The Next European Century’, marking the 100th Anniversary of the First World War Armistice. This will also be the theme of the GF Conference 2019 at Manchester Metropolitan University in July – a great opportunity for postgraduate and early-career researchers to present and discuss their research in a supportive environment.

Congratulations to the recipients of our 2019 UACES Scholarships: Christine Andreeva (Dublin City University), Tamas Dudlak (University of Pécs), Noémia Pizarro Pereira (ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon), Angelica Szucko (University of Brasília – UnB), and Nuve Yazgan (University of Surrey). Competition was exceptionally strong this year with a particularly high number of applicants. On this basis, we were delighted to be able to award five, rather than our usual four, scholarships.

As in previous years, I will be attending POLITICO’s EU Studies Fair on the 9th of February in Brussels. I hope to see some of you there – judging by the number of institutions attending, our discipline remains in good health! UACES holds an annual seminar at the Fair: ‘How to choose your EU studies course’ – my thanks to UACES Committee member Heidi Maurer for convening this discussion.

I am also delighted to announce that the Annual Lecture of the JCMS Annual Review will take place in Brussels on the 4th of April 2019 and that UACES Patron Professor Brigid Laffan will be the speaker. The title of her lecture will be ‘How the EU came to be: Union resilience in the face of Brexit.’ Look out for further details on the UACES Events Calendar and members’ email list.

Let me finish by thanking everyone on the UACES Committee for their contributions to the Association. Brexit remains an unsettling development for many of us but it only serves to underline the necessity for our vibrant community of European Studies scholars. As I said in my previous column, do email me if you have any suggestions about UACES and its future.

Nicholas Startin, University of Bath

8 February 2019

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