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Network meetings

Meeting at the ECAS conference (Uppsala, June 2011)

The Congo Research Network will hold a meeting at the upcoming ECAS conference in Uppsala (June 2011). Location of the meeting: venue Ekonomikum, Room A122 – time: June 16, 19-20.45. All welcome!

 

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Meeting at the CRN conference, December 11 2010

 

Report

Report 1st Meeting CONGO RESEARCH NETWORK

 

(U. of Birmingham, Saturday December 11 2010)

 

The first meeting of the CRN was a success. We were able to group academic researchers and representatives of various Congolese communities together. Overall, our time was spent listening to and commenting on academic analyses of papers covering political, historical, media-related and economic themes.  These were followed by a presentation of the Nzete-community in Birmingham (www.nzete.net) and an announcement by François Kayembe, representative of the Congolese Consulate here in Birmingham. Mr Kayembe laid out the Consulate’s efforts to rebuild the Congolese academic landscape, and showed willingness to collaborate in various ways with CRN participants.

The atmosphere during this one day meeting oscillated between scholarly reflections, informal interaction and thoughts on how to shape the CRN practically. Everyone present was very engaging and enthusiastic, and we all had the feeling we are forming something that could eventually become big.

 

Here is a summary of the brainstorm sessions during lunch and at the end of the meeting.  People who could not be present at that first day might be willing to think about these issues as well:

 

1. Organization

  • Which statue do we want the CRN to have? An academic association? A charity? A loose network without any formal status?
  • How do we compose a board? In the very first instance, we would like to invite everybody who feels like having the time and the possibilities to help the CRN grow by sending an email to Dr Katrien Pype and Rueben Loffman (email addresses below) in which they propose what they think they can do for us. We are looking for
    • people who could represent CRN in their own region;
    • people who can do some PR for CRN (sending out CRN announcements to various e-lists, maintain the Facebook-page, and maybe create a website?);
    • people who coordinate contacts with non-academic organisations who feel like contributing to CRN.
  • In DR Congo: we want the CRN to have a firm ground in DR Congo as well. We therefore need to publicise it to our colleagues in DR Congo. For the moment, Marius Muhunga has volunteered to be the contact person for DR Congo. If the DR Congo branch becomes too big, then we could look for CRN representatives in other DR Congo cities. For the moment, please talk to your colleagues in DR Congo, and ask them to contact Marius Muhunga (crncongo@hotmail.com). They should send him a short letter of interest, accompanied by their CV and a list of publications.

 

2. Membership

  • Do we want members to pay a membership fee? No? How would certain CRN events in the future be sponsored? Yes, how much? And, who could be the treasurer?
  • NGOs : There were some NGO representatives present during this first meeting. They would like to collaborate with the CRN in one way or another. On the one hand, CRN could compile a list of NGOs which might help students and researchers. On the other hand, NGOs are also interested in the outcome of our work. A list with research activities and publications which would be easily accessible by NGO staff and could therefore be very helpful. Does anyone have other ideas or reflections about this? We could give the NGOs an honorary status within the CRN body?

 

 

3. Future activities

 

  • In Birmingham
    • February 2 2011: Work Shop on history in DR Congo, with Dr Miles Larmer, Aldwin Roes and Reuben Loffman (contact info Reuben Loffman, email address below) – for abstracts see the Facebook page shortly
    • February 2011 (exact date to be announced), work shop on ‘(Field) Work in Congolese Media Communities: Challenges and Choices’, with Dr Udo Jacob, Dr Nicholas Long and Dr Katrien Pype, at the U. of Birmingham (contact Katrien Pype, email address below) – for the exact date and abstracts, see the Facebook page shortly 
    • We are thinking of organising another meeting early March – more information to follow – this will be announced on the Facebook page as well 
  • ECAS 2011
    • during the next ECAS conference (June 2011, Uppsala), we would like to organise a meeting with anyone interested in joining CRN – it is expected that by that time the Network will have grown bigger, and we will have  a better look on the organisation.  
    • Congo-related panels at ECAS: Comparing the Copperbelts: Politics, Economy and Society in Haut Katanga (DR Congo) and the Zambian Copperbelt; Convenors: Jana Hönke (Berlin), Miles Larmer (Sheffield), Benjamin Rubbers (Liege) 
  • Since the Network aims at grouping people and informing academics and the public media about research in/on Congo, we would like to invite people to inform us about any activity they organise relating to the Congo. Before using the CRN’s name, please contact Katrien Pype and Reuben Loffman. The activity will be announced on the Facebook page, circulate on an e-list, and, maybe later onwards, be published on the CRN webpage.

 

4. Logo

 

Any formal organisation or network should be easily recognisable for its members and others. Therefore, it might be interesting to create a logo. Any ideas about this? 

 

Finally, we wish to repeat that the aim of the Network relies in academic communication, scholarly exchange and the advancement of research (fundamental and applied) in and on DR Congo. As such, CRN is apolitical.

 

We wish you happy holidays and a healthy and successful 2011,

 

Katrien Pype and Reuben Loffman

 

Birmingham, December 21 2010

K.Pype@bham.ac.uk and r.loffman@ihum.keele.ac.uk

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