Opening an umbrella for the Area Studies Community (5 Nov 2003)

Date: 5 November, 2003
Location: CILT, London
Event type: Meeting

Programme | Further reading: The formation of UKCASA, a new umbrella for the Area Studies community

Past event summary

For some time now at the various events organised by the Subject Centre, Area Studies practitioners have been expressing frustration at the way they lack clear and established channels of communication with the various quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations that constitute the decision-making bodies in Higher Education. This is in contrast to other 'disciplines' (loosely understood), which generally do possess a subject association of a sufficient size and prominence to attract spokespeople from the various quangos to talk to them and answer questions.

the area studies project

One of the primary aims of the Subject Centre’s Area Studies Project is to create a greater sense of community amongst Area Studies practitioners. To achieve this it has been decided to set up an open meeting on 5 November 2003. This is an open meeting for members of the twenty plus Area Studies Subject Associations that currently constitute the community, but it will be of particular interest to those to holding office within their association, as one aim of the meeting will be to establish the basis upon which an umbrella organisation to represent the interests of Area Studies programmes in general can be established (most probably by electing a steering committee to expedite this process and to call an inaugural meeting).

Area Studies has no umbrella organization operating at present, and most Area Studies Associations are too small to be able to attract quango executives to their meetings. It is true there is/was an organisation called the Coordinating Council for Area Studies Associations (CCASA), but this now seems to be at best in suspension, at worst in dissolution, and in any case CCASA's umbrella did not include (Modern or 'Old') European Area Studies.

Whilst wishing to be involved, due to its remit and funding the Subject Centre cannot directly take on the role of representing Area studies interests in discussions and meetings with such bodies as HEFCE and AHRB .

It seems to many Area Studies practitioners that now that Area Studies has been identified as a (quasi-)discipline both by the LTSN and by the QAA benchmarking exercise, it is a good time to explore the idea of establishing a new umbrella organisation to complement or supersede CCASA. Its remit would be to speak for both Teaching/Learning and Research issues affecting Area Studies. Its constitution could be readily modelled on an existing subject association's constitution.


11.30 - 12.30
A vision for Area Studies
John Selby, Regional Consultant for the West Midlands HEFCE
12.30 - 12345 The Role of the Area Studies Project in building an Area Studies community in the UK: The story so far.
John Canning, Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies
12.45 - 13.00 After CCASA. Why Area Studies requires an umbrella organisation.
Dick Ellis, Nottingham Trent University and Chair of the Specialist Advisory group for Area Studies.
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 Open meeting for Officers/ Chairs/ Secretaries of Area Studies Associations