The ASAUK is a rapidly ageing association. We are in the process of developing a strategy for building the next generation membership. In order to do this, we need to consider that early career scholars’ lived experiences within precarious academic employment might be very different from those of previous generations. The clear career paths that opened up as recently as ten years ago no longer exist. Younger scholars are more likely to be thinking in terms of flexible careers, and to be more engaged with various forms of activism and in occupations where they apply their knowledge in practical ways. For ASAUK to be relevant to them, we need for the association to develop a different way of engaging with our worlds.
As Carli Coetzee’s Vice-Presidential project, she has formed a sub-committee composed of some younger members of council and their wider networks, to find out what kinds of events and activities they would find useful and desirable. This sub-committee could in future take the form of a graduate caucus such as some organisations have; this grouping will have some autonomy over their agendas and activities, and will build networks among them/ourselves and with peers based at institutions across Africa. Lending the ASAUK brand name to events will give these young people some authority to negotiate for space from universities, and we older scholars can find ways to support whatever debates, reading groups or events they choose to hold (there will be some oversight from ASAUK council).
We aim (post-Covid) to compile a list of partners across UK institutions (not only universities) and to create a registry or “address book” of useful sources of information. In these times of limited travel and hospitality, we have started a series of online events hosted once or twice a month. Below is a summary of the events held so far.
We welcome anyone who is interested in offering or hosting an ASAUKNextGen2020+ event to get in touch with Carli Coetzee and the committee at: ASAofUK@gmail.com.