Friday 17 June 2022

This is an update on the implementation of the recommendations of the Inquiry into the future of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London.

Appointment of new Director
A search committee for the new Director has been established, with a view to advertising the role in the coming month (June).

Partnership agreements
Discussions are ongoing as to the key strategic partnerships for the ICWS. A number have reached the final stages and are moving towards Memoranda of Understandings ( MoUs). Information on signed agreements will be made available in the next Update.

Virtual Reading Room
SAS has been working to set up a virtual reading room in Senate House Library to open up the Commonwealth collections to remote access from anywhere in the world. The equipment has been trialled, and Senate House Library is progressing toward installation over the summer.

In the meantime, the ICWS continues to expand its special collections. The latest acquisition is the Paul and Adelaide Joseph Collection, containing letters, birthdays cards and some postcards dating from 1962 (when Mandela was arrested) up until 1985, along with 18 photographs (dated 1960 – c.2008), revealing the personal side of Mandela’s early years in prison and friendship with Anti-Apartheid activists.

Sponsorship of Commonwealth Journalists Association Student conference
ICWS has provided sponsorship to CJA-UK 2022 Birmingham Student Journalists' Conference to support attendance of student delegates.

Media Freedom Database
The School has funded the development and update of the Media Freedom website in ICWS, to monitor and report on media freedom issues across the 54 member states. These regular updates will provide big data information for researchers and will be circulated every month to key Commonwealth media stakeholders, including the Secretariat and Foundation.

The events programme continues to grow in preparation for the ICWS’ relaunch with the new Director in the next academic year.

We have already hosted seminars on China’s Global Media and the CommonwealthChina and media in AfricaThe Commonwealth and Media Freedom: Where do we stand?The Monarchy and Commonwealth Realms, the one-day conference on the contemporary Commonwealth, ‘Is the Commonwealth Working?’ - Session 1Session 2Session 3 and Session 4 (organised in Partnership with the Round Table, and the Commonwealth Foundation and the Commonwealth Association), The Kigali CHOGM (in partnership with the Commonwealth Journalists Association) and The Annual Holden 2022 lecture, with Nadia Joseph.

Upcoming events include:

30 June 2022
Excitement and Risk: Prospect of Journalists in the Digital Age (Commonwealth Journalists Association Conference).

Other events are already being planned for the next academic year on aspects of media freedom across the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth, conflict and conservation, and a series of key note lectures on human rights. In addition, a programme of events is being assembled to mark Commonwealth Week in March 2023.