Academic special interest group gets under way
The first meeting of the academic special interest group (SIG) of JETAA UK took place in December 2016 at The University of Sheffield’s School of East Asian Studies (SEAS).
It was organised by ex-JETs Dr Peter Matanle, senior lecturer in Japanese Studies and director of research and innovation at SEAS, and Sharleen Estampador, a PhD student at SEAS. Twenty ex-JETs currently in academia attended, representing universities from across the UK as well as Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands.
Mr Shima, director of the Japan Local Government Centre (the London office of CLAIR), and Mr Itakura from the Japanese Embassy also attended. In opening remarks, they spoke about how they value JETAA in the UK and warmly welcomed the development of SIG, offering their support of its future.
Sarah Parsons, chair of JETAA UK, spoke about the importance of the JETAA UK network and how special interest groups are a good way for ex-JETs to support each other and continue their links to Japan. She thanked Peter for taking the initiative of using this excellent network to form something worthwhile.
After convening, members introduced themselves, presented their research and how their participation on the JET Programme has impacted it.
After many fruitful discussions, the decision was made to hold another meeting in the spring/summer of 2017, to give the group a chance to expand and allow those absent to attend.
Attendees ended the day with dinner in a local Yorkshire pub.
When asked later about the event, Peter said: “For me it was very refreshing to see such diversity in research interests and careers, and I know that already some collaboration has been started as a result.
"I’d like to thank the Japanese representatives and all the participants for coming up to Sheffield, and also Sharleen, who did a great job organising the event.”
There is now a Facebook group called JETAA UK Academic Special Interest Group. To join, please find Peter, Sharleen or the group on Facebook and ask to join.