Dear FGEN Members,
We are delighted to say that, following a time of reflection and reorganisation, FGEN is relaunching! And this time on firmer ground. FGEN has now been formally established as a Community Interest Company (CIC) which means that as we go forward we can do much more.
We would now like to establish a more formal membership list which will make it easier for colleagues to collaborate in groups and productively resist threats to academic freedom. Among the projects we are intending to develop with the support and input from members is a new interdisciplinary academic Journal. We believe that this is particularly necessary because of the increasing number of articles that have been refused publication by trans and non-binary colleagues and the scarcity of publishing space with an explicit focus on gender diversity in the UK and Europe. We are also hoping to have a conference organised for summer 2024, this time in a university outside the London area, and we will be inviting expressions of interest from colleagues to get in touch. Future FGEN conferences outside the UK is also something we would like to see to reflect our international membership base. We are also keen to develop best-practice guidelines in terms of the importance of gender diversity in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) policies across a range of sectors and organisations. Last, but certainly not least, we are looking forward to supporting the various thematic groups and to welcoming new ideas from members.
We now have a bank account and board of directors, Sally Hines, Natacha Kennedy, Lo Marshall and Theresa Davis so we can move forward more effectively and productively. To that end we are asking people to re-join. There will be a fee, as most other academic associations/networks have, and we will keep it be low. For those employed it will be £30 per year, for those precariously employed £20 per year, for the unemployed/unwaged/students £10 per year, but if anyone is really struggling please contact us and we can work something out. Normally membership will run from 1st April to 31st March, but for the first year it will run from now until the 31st March 2025. Membership re-start will ensure that we are covered by GDPR. Once our membership is re-established, we will be sending out a call for new Steering Group members and for members of an Advisory Board. We will also be asking for volunteers for newsletter and pod-cast production, events organising and social media facilitators amongst other things.
With the ongoing pushback against trans rights, an attack on academic freedom following the capitulation of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to government demands related to their EDI group, and the threat of government control of academic autonomy as announced by Michelle Donelan the Science Secretary, FGEN is more necessary than ever. Moreover, as the threats to academic freedom mount from people who claim to champion “free speech” it is important that we come together not only to resist but to ensure that our research, activism and communities continue and thrive.
We very much hope you will re-join FGEN and get involved in organising events and supporting this new CIC
Warmest regards, Prof Sally Hines and Dr Natacha Kennedy