Africa Journal Work Academy

ASAA/ASAUK Africa Journal Work Academy

Background:

The Africa Journal Work Academy is a partnership between the ASAA and the ASAUK and aims to foster inter-generational links across African institutions. African scholars in the humanities and social sciences have for 3 or 4 decades been articulating concerns about the barriers faced in getting work published in “international” journals. At the same time the last decade has seen the establishment of significant Africa-based conference series, including the ASAA, and a steady growth in the number of Africa-based journals and scholarly publications. The growing impetus to build and strengthen Africa-based scholarly journals and the mentoring of the next generation of editors, peer reviewers and editorial board members led to the development of the Africa Journal Work Academy, which responds to these challenges and opportunities.

The Africa Journal Work Academy Workbook and Programme has been designed by Dr Carli Coetzee (Editor of the Journal of African Cultural Studies, Projects Officer ASAUK and Member of the Publications Committee ASAA) in consultation with Prof Akosua Adomako Ampofo (ASAA President 2018/9 ) and Prof Ambreena Manji (ASAUK President 2018/20), and with input from Prof Grace Musila (co-founder of the EALCS conference series and Africa Editor at Large of Journal of African Cultural Studies), Ms Stephanie Kitchen (Managing Editor IAI), Dr Divine Fuh (Director of Publications CODESRIA) and Taylor & Francis journal publishers.

Aims:

The aim of the Africa Journal Work Academy is to build inter-generational links across African institutions and to train the next generation of editors, peer reviewers and authors. The work will mainly take place at Africa-based conferences and at institutes and universities across Africa. The Africa Journal Work Academy is informed by the ethos, principles and aims of these Africa-based organisations and intellectual centres.

The Africa Journal Work Academy will bring together a team of co-workers who are journal editors, intellectual leaders and agenda setters, who will develop materials and guidelines to inform editorial practice and train the next generation of scholars and journal workers. The Africa Journal Work Academy is not intended as a one-off event; the work will lead to a proliferating and custom-made series of events.

The seminar style format of the Africa Journal Work Academy encourages collaborative work, and understands journal publishing not simply as a step to career advancement, but as an engaged and contextual scholarly practice. The workbook and programme aim to demystify academic publishing and make the “hidden curriculum” visible. The Africa Journal Work Academy will also build the intangible capacities and skill sets necessary for active academic research citizenship. Through the collaborations between journal editors and Africa-based associations and conference series, publishing cultures thus become a central part of a future-oriented academy.

Outcomes:

The outcome of the Africa Journal Work Academy will be to create resources that can be adapted to different contexts, enabling each journal team to tailor the materials to their own needs and to build capacity from the ground up. Participants in the Africa Journal Work Academy will have the benefit of discussing their work with their peers from other institutions, and to think of their individual projects in terms of networked intellectual debates and future collaborations. Participants will complete a carefully designed set of practical exercises, and work in journal teams, going through all the tasks normally performed in an editorial office.

Well-resourced journals and publishers will be invited to participate, either by providing travel grants (to cover travel, visa, accommodation costs), by providing resources (such as access to journals and provision of specialist monographs) or by volunteering labour. From the participating journals’ perspective, there is the additional benefit that journals and editors will have an opportunity to meet the next generation of star scholars and will benefit from widening their networks by attending the conferences and workshops. The travel grant can be named after the journal providing it, and the candidate could be given an opportunity to be mentored by an editorial board member.

Opportunities might also be provided to shadow an editorial board member in their work for the journals, to provide insights into the everyday work and practical business and decision making involved in editorial roles. Journal of African Cultural Studies has initiated such a job shadow scheme, and the editor works closely with carefully chosen candidates, who will shadow the editor in compiling an issue of the journal.

The Africa Journal Work Academy hopes to build partnerships with the many excellent mentoring schemes already existing across Africa, including the AHP fellowships, the APN fellowships, training and professionalisation sessions run by CODESRIA and the BIEA, and by other conference series such as the Lagos Studies Association. The programme is flexible and adaptable, and we are keen to collaborate with others to tailor the programme to their individual needs.

For more information about the Africa Journal Work Academy, please get in touch with Dr Carli Coetzee at cc76@soas.ac.uk or at Journalworkacademy@gmail.com.