One of the great pleasures of being Chair of UACES is the repeated opportunity to talk with colleagues who have contributed to the life of the Association through the years and who continue to want to do their bit to our on-going endeavours.
It’s fair to say that Prof Uwe Kitzinger did more than most in that regard, and so news of his death recently has rightly been felt across our community: our thoughts go to his family and friends. As Prof Willie Paterson explains in his obituary for us, Uwe was responsible for setting up the Journal of Common Market Studies and making it the flagship journal for European Studies. His foresight in keeping ownership with UACES laid the foundations for a stream of income that makes the Association quite so much as it does: any of you who have received funding from us have done so in no small part thanks to Uwe.
As Willie writes, Uwe did much more than this and I encourage you to reflect on how we can all make a contribution to our professional community and to society at large. Perhaps more than most fields of study, the connection between our research and those beyond academia is clear and pertinent and we have a responsibility to help inform and educate where we can.
With that in mind, I’m very happy that we can also announce the relaunch of our Research Networks programme. This offers funding to support on-going collaborations of colleagues in more focused fields, while also stimulating work that the entire membership can access and benefit from. Notably, we have moved away from fixed terms and our support will be dependent upon both the number of people involved and the maintenance of activity, which will give you more scope to optimise your network to your needs.
You have until 30 September to apply and I look forward to seeing the first fruits of the successful applications at our conference in Trento next year.
Mention of the conference also prompts me to encourage any of you yet to secure accommodation for Belfast this September to do so as soon as possible, since it appears various world-class musical acts (and Lewis Capaldi) will be playing that week. I am sure that those trying to double-head their trip will share their hard-rockin’/head-noddin’ experiences during the coffee breaks.
And for those of you who think they can top all that, we are now looking for a host for 2026. If you want to see 400 colleagues what you and your town/city are all about, then you have the summer to register your expression of interest.
Finally, I’m very happy to note various changes to the UACES team. Dr Vivianne Gravey and Dr Koen Slootmaeckers will take up their positions as Secretary and EDI Officer respectively this September. Both Dr Kathryn Simpson and Prof Roberta Guerrina have given a lot to these roles during the past three years, providing thoughtful and constructive support in making their portfolios work during what was a less-than-ideal set of circumstances with the pandemic.
On the Committee, we say goodbye and thanks to Prof Ben Farrand for his work, and welcome Dr Ben Leruth and Dr Olga Litvyak as new members. Every year we look to colleagues to give some time to being part of the Committee and it was really heartening to see so a strong roster of candidates this year.
And finally, we have a new member of the UACES Office. Ollie Pilkington brings a great breadth of experience to his position as Events Officer and it’s been great to see him step into the role so smoothly this spring. Emma Marlow, who did so much for this position for over three years, goes to new work with our best wishes and thanks.
So as the summer sets in and we all wonder whether we really should have said yes to those book chapters that are due last week, I will wish you all an excellent break and hope that I see very many of you in Belfast in September, where you are welcome to explain why I am wrong about Lewis Capaldi.
Prof Simon Usherwood, UACES Chair