Second JETAA UK Academic Special Interest Group

17th January 2018

Second JETAA UK Academic Special Interest Group

JETAA UK held its second Academic Special Interest Group (SIG) at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures at the University of East Anglia in Norwich on Friday 8 December 2017.

This event was organised by Dr. Simon Kaner, Director of the Centre for Japanese Studies at UEA and Head of the Centre for Archaeology and Heritage at the Sainsbury Institute, in collaboration with the Japan Local Government Centre (CLAIR) London. Seven JETAA academics from all over the UK attended as well as Mr. Kenji Saegusa from CLAIR HQ in Tokyo and representatives from the Japanese Embassy in London, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and the Japan Foundation.

The morning session covered discussions of the potential strengths of a JETAA Academic SIG and possible objectives, which can be summarised as:

  1. A platform to support funding opportunities for academics
  2. Information exchange to promote and share people’s research and encourage collaboration 
  3. A support network for potential academic JETs on how to get into academia (it was noted that to apply for academic funding ready for when they return from the JET Programme, this needs to start while they are in Japan)
  4. A network to enable people to get to know the various agencies and organisations involved that may be helpful to academics in their research including possible links with Japanese universities
  5. An academic buddying system 
  6. Further research into the JET Programme

The main issues identified were administration of the group, how to keep members engaged, how to differentiate the group from other academic groups and how to create interesting content outside of the conferences.

The afternoon session featured several presentations from JETAA Academics on the theme of ‘Global Communities’ to showcase the research they are doing relevant to Japan and how it affects communities on a grass-roots level.

Outside of the conference, attendees received an insightful tour around Norwich Cathedral led by Dr. Kaner, learnt about the history of the Sainsbury Institute and enjoyed a networking dinner to meet other Japan-related scholars at the University and the Sainsbury Institute.

There are tentative plans to hold another conference this year so there is a need for members to keep the conversation going, identify objectives and engage other members with relevant content. There is now a ‘JETAA UK Academic Special Interest Group’ Facebook group. Please find it here

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