UACES Chair’s Message — November 2023

Simon Usherwood |

UACES Chair, Prof Simon Usherwood

Dear Colleagues,

The summery delights of our Annual Conference in Belfast might feel like a long time ago, now that more wintry weather has set in, but I’d like to take you back to an event that demonstrated so well what UACES is all about.

Thanks to the exceptional organisation of both the local team at Queen’s (led by Dr Viviane Gravey) and the UACES Office (under Emily Linnemann’s exemplary leadership), we got to enjoy not simply a world-class academic programme but also a community in action. And that would have been so even if we hadn’t been able to spill out onto the lawns around the conference venue.

The introduction of themed tracks seems to have been hugely successful in building critical mass around issues that motivate members, leading to richer conversations and engaging networks. The tracks for next year’s event in Trento will be announced later in November, with a call for papers to follow shortly after, so I hope that you will find new opportunities to participate in that.

But beyond the structures, UACES lives through its members’ efforts and engagement. To see colleagues at all stages of their professional careers mixing with each other and engaging in constructive debate speaks to the values of inclusion and equity that we have done so much to give life and meaning to. As I heard someone remark during a coffee break, this is the friendliest conference they’d ever been to; if we can continue to welcome everyone who joins us, then our future will be that much brighter.

Of course, UACES is more than just a conference: we have a full programme of events and opportunities throughout the year. Part of that is the call for submissions to our PhD and book prizes, both of which close on 1 December. As someone involved in the judging process, it’s a delight to read such a wide range of excellent research across the full spectrum of European Studies, so I’d encourage you to submit your work (or that of your doctoral students) for consideration.

It’s also good to remind you that our new UACES journal, Contemporary European Politics, is always on the look-out for submissions too. As part of our support in starting this up, we have secured a number of publication fee waivers, in line with the journal’s remit to draw in voices that are under-represented in our field. The editors would be very happy to discuss options with you, so do please contact them if you have any questions.

And finally for now, it’s also the time of year for our Annual General Meeting (AGM), to be held online on Wed, 22 November. It’s an opportunity for members to see in more detail what the Association has been doing and to reflect on our progress, so I very much hope you will be able to attend. Members should have received an invite recently by email but do contact us if you can’t find it.


Prof Simon Usherwood, UACES Chair