As the wider Minorities and Philosophy UK community continues to grow and evolve, so too do our co-directorship team. This summer marks the beginning of another new era, as Lizzy Ventham stays on and three new directors join the team - William Somtuaka Kombian, Casey Logue, and Daniella Meehan. We’re excited to get to work maintaining and improving the initiative for everyone, and to mark the start of our directorship together we’ve written this short blog post by way of introduction. Here we’ll say a little bit about who we are and what we have in plan for the future.
It will take a vibrant MAP to make the kind of impact that will endure over time. For this reason, I’d work with other Co-Directors to build a very strong Team. A proactive Central Team will enhance collaboration and make us work more efficiently. This way, we can partner with Local Chapters to revitalize their activities and make the impact of MAP felt and recognized.
Closely related to the first point is the need to increase the number of MAP Local Chapters across Philosophy Departments in the UK. Once we are able to increase our presence in many (all) Universities and intensified MAP activities at local levels, we can build a very active MAP with strong ties with all major universities. This will also imply increased space and opportunities for all minorities to function optimally.
To achieve the above mentioned objectives, we’d need a very reliable source of funding, both in the interim and in the long term. Through very effective collaboration, the new team will be able to rake in some funds to support our activities.
Another important objective we need to pursue has to do with increasing and or diversifying MAP Mentorship. It will be very helpful to have Local Mentors in the universities in which we have chapters. A large pool of mentors will help MAP members to choose experts who can give them the best mentoring.
The final point is about making our presence and impact felt on all available online platforms.
I’d like to see MAP garner more popularity. Through its website, blog, and social media pages, we can create a more actively engaged community of writers and mentors. There is also scope to host events at universities and schools across the UK: showcasing some of the latest work by minority groups in philosophy. My hope is that this might foster a new generation of thinkers engaged with MAP.
The above point is integral to the growth of MAP – which introduces my second vision for the organisation: increasing the number of mentors and mentees. We should not underestimate the impact of mentors, who provide essential one-to-one support for aspiring philosophers, at often crucial times in their development.
The long-term success of MAP’s work is contingent upon the funding which the organisation is awarded. This is a central priority. I believe that we can secure more support over the upcoming two-year period.
The development of MAP’s online presence is crucial. I aim to ensure that the blog and social media pages are active and inspiring spaces for marginalised groups. As well as promoting notable work by MAP philosophers, we should aim to promote the work of MAP itself, and engage with the wider public.
I’m really excited to get started in my role as a MAP co-director and work with my fellow co-directors to achieve our shared goals. My main aim is to assist in making philosophy a more welcoming and accessible discipline, and I hope that I can contribute towards this in some small way by working with MAP.
As a first-generation university student from a working-class family, one particular aim of mine is to raise awareness and give voice to the experiences of philosophers from similar backgrounds, and how these experiences have and continue to pose various barriers in philosophy. I hope that steps can be taken to promote working-class speakers at MAP events, create dialogue through the MAP blog and to offer support and share experiences via the mentoring scheme. I would also like for MAP to work with university departments to make them aware of the many issues that first-generation and working-class students face and what steps universities can take to minimize these barriers.
Additionally, I would like to focus on unifying the MAP chapters across the UK by encouraging collaborative MAP events, such as virtual reading groups, conferences and discussions. Alongside running these collaborative events, I would like to encourage MAP chapters to share their resources and learn from other chapters on running successful and effective events. I believe that sharing our resources and hosting joint events will help build the MAP community and also allow for more people to get involved with running, and attending, MAP events.
This spring marked the beginning of my third year as a co-director with MAP UK, and I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to share this position with so many amazing people while I’ve been here, every one of whom has taught me something important about working for the betterment of philosophy in academia and beyond. With some more new faces I'm excited to see what more we can do!
In the near future I have two main plans for what I'd like to do with MAP UK. Firstly, I'd like to continue building and maintaining links between MAP UK and other organisations that have similar aims. We're stronger when we work together, and I think MAP is at its best when we're supporting, celebrating, and amplifying the voices of other people. We do this already partly through the blog, with regular guest posts and spotlights on other projects. I'd like to continue this - and also to work with other organisations on improving the use of inclusivity guidelines for conferences (such as the ones we've developed here) and on improving support for the trans* and non-binary members of our community.
Secondly I'd also like to do more to increase the use of our mentorship scheme. I think this is a great project, and one that fills an important role. Not all departments are big enough to have their own mentor programmes, and there are a variety of reasons why someone might want mentoring and advice from someone outside of their own university, and perhaps who shares similar experiences as a member of an under-represented group. We have some great posters, some great mentors, and a good system that I hope can continue to help people. We just need to get the word out there a little more!
If you'd like to make a contribution to the MAP UK blog, or if you have any other questions, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org - we look forward to hearing from you!