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December 21, 2023

Well, That About Wraps It Up for 2023: Reflecting back on the year that was

Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/exchangeshistory

The Editor-in-Chief takes a look back over the year that was for Exchanges

Santa GooseIt has been a year, and what a year it has been for the Exchanges journal as we celebrated ten years of publication. It has certainly been a very busy year, with three issues of the journal published and no fewer than five issues currently underway for publication in one degree or another. It’s also been a year when our special issue programme really took off, and if certain potential projects are funded, we’ll be able to expand what we considerably. Which means behind the scenes we’ve been welcoming and training more associate editors than ever before.

Certainly, there have been some particular highlights worthy of especial attention. First among these was the launch back in February of our monthly email newsletter, which lets subscribers [1] keep up to date with the month to month operations of the journal. If you want to make sure you know what’s happening with Exchanges, and where there are opportunities to contribute or get involved, sign up for the newsletter is a great way to do that. Alongside that we saw those three issues, one of which celebrated the end of a two-year collaboration with the universities of Delft and Nottingham – it was very well received by the readership.

Collaborations, Publications & New Pages

Looking more to the future, 2023 was also the year we established two productive collaborations, firstly with the National Centre for Research Culture(NCRC) and secondly with Warwick’s Modern Records Centre(MRC). If plans come to fruition, the NCRC collaboration may be a longer-term engagement too, going beyond the production and publication of a single issue. Watch this space [2] for more details as and when that arrives as this is exciting news for the whole Exchanges team. Speaking of the team, we were also pleased this past year to welcome four new Editorial Board members, including the first new member from Monash University in four years. This was because we’d said farewell to a number of longstanding Board Members as their careers and lives moved on, and so we wished them well in their future endeavours. [3]

Mid-year we were delighted to launch a new suit of pages on and about Exchanges on our host department’s, the IAS (Institute for Advanced Study), website. We used to have a page but, this was pulled a few years ago – so having an enlarged space to talk about the journal was only to our advantage. Have a look if you haven’t already, as you may be surprised by what you find, especially in regard to what our editors, Board and associates actually do.

Social Media, Guidance & Podcasting

There were a few minor developments too – we rolled out alternatives to the Twitter/X microblogging sites with accounts on Mastodon and Bluesky.Social, which are both slowly building a following. We – and I should really say ‘I’ here – finally found time to not only update our editorial guidance handbooks, but also revise and refresh all our online author guidance as well. This was a task long in the delivery, and I was pleased to at last have a little time spare to tackle it, as it has sat on my ‘to do list’ for far, far too long for my personal taste. If you’ve not had a look as of yet and are thinking of submitting to us in 2024, I’d really encourage you to go have a good glance over the guidance. I hope you find it helpful![4]

The Exchanges Discourse podcast continued from strength to strength as well, with 13 episodes largely dedicated to interviews with past authors, but also a few focussing in on what makes a good critical reflection or conversation, and our most recent special issue call for contributions too. This marks the fourth season of the podcast(!), and I can’t believe that next year marks our fifth year of producing it – at times it still feels like a new idea! [5] I’ve already got one interview lined up for early 2024, with a second one pending the author’s availability, so there’s plenty of content still to come. We also hosted a range of symposium, workshops and seminars covering topics from publication strategies, effective editorial and reviewing work, book publication and publishing for post-graduate researchers. Each of these sessions was varied, and often called upon old ‘friends’ of the journal to contribute as panellists – to whom I’d like to add a note of thanks!

Behind Closed Doors

Of course, like an iceberg, much of what Exchanges does – and certainly what I get up to on a daily, weekly and monthly basis – is hidden ‘beneath the water’, in terms of keeping the wheels spinning, supporting my editors, liaising with authors and reviewers alike. 2023 saw the first year the Warwick University Press Journals group came together to seriously discuss some of the challenges we all face running our journals, and to explore routes in which the institution and ourselves could work smarter, better and more effectively. While more concrete developments here are still pending senior stakeholder buy-in, I’ve already been talking about a phase II piece of related work with one of my fellow chief editors, which bodes well for the medium to long term health of Exchanges and the WUP itself too.

And this doesn’t even touch on all the work I do promoting the journal in one way or another in conversations, personal appearances and in promotional materials. It might be less ‘note-worthy’ and even arguably ‘less tangible' in visibility but by Grabthar’s Hammer, if we didn’t do it – all the other stuff wouldn’t happen.[6]

Looking Ahead

So yes, undoubtedly a busy, busy year with many successes. But as we head into the new year, and the 11th of publication for Exchanges, we are not resting on our laurels. This is certainly because 2024 is shaping up to be even busier, so rest isn’t on the agenda for now! [7]

So I do hope you’ll be joining us, contributing or attending one of our events next year, or maybe even simply listening to our podcasts or reading the journal. I’m sure you’ll find it well worth your time.

Other than that, on behalf of the Board and associates, thanks for reading, and see you in the new year.[8]

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Endnotes

[1] In the sense they join the list, there’s no charge for the newsletter, naturally. :)

[2] The blog in general that is, not this actual specific post. But then you probably knew that already.

[3] It may be too early to tell, but I’d expect to see more new Board members in 2024 – assuming any of the current long-standing members feel the time is right to depart.

[4] If it’s not helpful – let me know too, as I’m always interested in areas of information we can improve upon or better clarify.

[5] There are plans – hush hush and TBC at the moment – to launch a new podcast series associated with Exchanges. But I’ll talk more about that if and when I can.

[6] Does the university get a fair ROI out of their investment in me and the journal? I’d argue they do magnificently well! Of course, were they to invest more, we could do so much more of course.

[7] Christmas/New Year vacation time aside that is.

[8] By a strange freak of nature, this makes the 44th entry for the blog this year...tying us with last year! How many posts in 2024? Possibly just as many...if not more!


September 21, 2023

MRC at 50 – Conference & Special Issue Contribution Launch

Writing about web page https://warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/

MRC anniversary celebrations set the scene for an exciting future journal volume.

MRC at 50Yesterday I attended the 50th anniversary symposium in honour of the Modern Records Centre (MRC) at Warwick. If you’re not been previously aware of the MRC and its work, the website and indeed the Centre itself is most certainly well worth a visit: if only to marvel at the variety and breadth of their collections. This diversity was a key element reflected across the spread of topics discussed at yesterday’s event. Speaker’s talked about their research which had all been generated – in part or in its entirety through usage of the MRC’s collections. From sex workers to trade unions through the French Resistance, disability and cycling: it was an undoubted smorgasbord of themes.

I recall, many years ago and in a previous post at Warwick, I had the opportunity to be walked through the MRC’s archive itself by the then Archivist. It was a rare opportunity to get ‘up close and personal’ with the ephemera, communications and collected papers of many significant figures in political, social and national history alike. Certainly, being that close to historical documents was a thrilling moment.

Since its founding though, the MRC has clearly had an impact far beyond Warwick itself. This was undoubtably reflected through the international scope of the discussions and presenters represented yesterday. I shan’t try and capture the essence of the day: there was so much to take in. Plus, I suspect offering this kind of perspective is an element which the special issue call we informally launched yesterday will do to a greater degree.

An archive of thinking and research to honour the archive itself!

Hence, we will be approaching all of the presenters, and a few other selected people too, over the coming weeks to invite them all to contribute a paper to this forthcoming special commemorative issue of Exchanges. I can assure readers that if its contents are anything like as engaging as yesterday’s talks, then you are in for a real treat! We hope to bring you the issue sometime in early to mid-2024, so watch out on our social media for more news as we get closer to the launch date.

My thanks to Pierre Botcherby and the whole MRC team for inviting Exchanges to form a modest but valuable marker of the MRC’s first 50 years of success!

A copy of the call for papers is now available.

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For more information on the MRC’s work or collections, visit warwick.ac.uk/services/library/mrc/ or contact archives@warwick.ac.uk. For more about the forthcoming special issue, contact Exchanges at exchangesjournal@warwick.ac.uk.


August 02, 2022

An Incomplete History of Exchanges

Writing about web page https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/exchangeshistory

Last spring I gave a couple of conference papers on Exchanges and the experiences of our associate editors. Part of these talks included presenting a potted history of the journal, from day 1 to 'today', as a way of adding context and showing how we weren’t a fly-by-night title. At the time of writing, I was surprised to find no one had actually collated anything like this before, and so I spent an engaging/frustrating couple of days combing over the website, through past issues and into what email correspondence I had from the 'before times' to create it. At the time I thought, while I did make my slides public, that afterwards it might be a nice idea to add such a historical perspective onto the journal website.

Well, time has passed and more history has happened for Exchanges, and now we find ourselves on the cusp of entering our (eep) 10th birthday year in the coming months. So, given if you read my last entry, you'll be aware how things are slightly quieter than normal presently for Exchanges HQ, which providentially removes any excuse I have for not getting the information added to the journal site. Here's the direct link - although you'll also be able to find it from the About the Journalpages too.

The page is not, I hasten to add, intended to be a complete and critical analysis of the journal and its developmental journey: I'll save that one for an ephemeral future paper, book chapter or monograph that I may write one day (or more likely won't). What it does provide are some of the key beats and moments from the journal's almost ten-year history, and an idea of the some of the discussions behind the scenes too. All of which hopefully goes to show how from our humble beginnings we've managed to emerge into something a lot more interesting and - I would hope - useful to our readers, reviewers, editors and author contributors alike.

Naturally, as the moment strikes me, I'll update the history. There are quite a few developments going on ‘under the hood’ right now, that I’m not quite ready to talk about publicly. Not because they’re especially secret, but rather because we’re not quite ready to announce them to the world. Hence, the entry for 2022 is likely to get a lot more populated by the end of the year. Furthermore, should anyone have any additional nuggets of historical interest they'd like to add, let me know. I might have been the Chief Editor on the title now far longer than anyone else, but that doesn't mean my knowledge of what happened before my ascension to editorial prominence (hah!) is absolute! [1]

But in the meanwhile, have a look at our past, and maybe reflect on what it might mean for our future!

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[1] Apologies for the hyperbole, I am writing this entry on a swelteringly humid summer afternoon, and it’s likely impacting on my prose style.


August 03, 2021

New Issue Published: Then & Now Special Isse

Writing about web page https://doi.org/10.31273/eirj.v8i4

It may be high summer, but behind the scenes at Exchanges HQ we’ve been busy working away towards our third special issue. And naturally, as it was published today, we’re excited to share the news with the rest of the world. You can read the issue via the link below. Go on, I can wait until you’ve done that before I continue.

https://exchanges.warwick.ac.uk/index.php/exchanges/issue/view/41

Good, now you’re all caught up. This issue is, as I highlight in the editorial, the culmination of 18 months of preparation work. It also, oddly, was a project we started on in the early months of 2000 when meeting in a crowded student café wasn’t a challenging prospect. The Then & Now project itself had to swerve direction somewhat with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown and campus restrictions. I’m pleased to say though, how beyond the lack of face-to-face meetings, pretty much every aspect of Exchanges’ editorial operations for this issue continued as before.

Anyway, it’s been a genuine pleasure working on this issue with my three associate editors (Pierre, Josh and Kathryn), and I’m really delighted to have the fruits of their labour publicly available too.

Of course with the issue out, there’s no rest for the editor, as I’m off to start work training up some new associate editors to work on one of our future issues next!


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