I’ve been a bit quiet over the last few weeks, largely thanks to the real world getting in the way.
One of the major projects I’ve been working on, however, is now in a pre-launch beta phase, and so can be officially revealed: Ideas on Europe – a new group blog that I’ve been developing in partnership with UACES, the University Association for Contemporary University Studies.
Describing itself as a place for “informed analysis, comment, dialogue and debate on all things European”, Ideas on Europe is intended as a non-partisan, multi-national, not exclusively political portal for academics working in the field of European Studies – taking in politics, economics, history, sociology, public policy, culture, geography and more – to engage with those of us outside the ivory towers as well as those within.
At the moment we’ve got nearly 40 contributors on board – a number that’s set to rise considerably – ranging from postgrad students to named chairs at high-profile universities. Some of them have begun to make their first forays into blogging, with posts from Jaani Kaerne (from the University of Tartu in Estonia), EUoplocephalus (from the University of Surrey in the UK), and (in German) Vanessa Buth – as well as a few from me – leading the way.
Among even this initial contributor base, there is a broad range of expertise and experience – with blogs dedicated to subjects like welfare, migration, security, energy, north Africa, and education, as well as more generalist contributors. Now that the site is going public, we should start to see a bit more activity from these early adopters.
Many of the areas we aim to end up covering are currently sorely under-represented in the world of Euroblogging – not to mention the relative lack of academic contributors to the various online debates, most of which are currently dominated by a combination of enthusiastic amateurs and professional political types – so I very much hope that those of us who’ve been active in this section of the internet give the site and its contributors our support, encouragement and advice as it starts to get off the ground over the next few months. Not least because the vast majority of our contributors have never blogged before – nor, indeed, taken part in online discussions.
I’ve already answered some questions about Ideas on Europe’s aims and intentions over at Kosmopolito (which now has its own presence on the new site) and also at Blogactiv, but naturally enough, I’m happy to answer any more that anyone may have here.