17 November 2008
London Citizens have chosen the department as the '2008 Best Academic Centre'. The award will be presented at the forthcoming London Citizens AGM (4 December, 7pm, Amnesty International HQ, Spitalfields).
The citation reads as follows:
The award "is given for the consistent and unparalleled support and interest you have shown in the revival of broad based community organising, initially in East London and now across London and wider. Yours was the first academic department in the country to recognize the potential for community organizations like LONDON CITIZENS to be one of the solutions not only to poverty and low wages amongst the working poor but also to the increasingly fragmented and disparate communities of the city. The caliber of your research and analysis of the changes that have taken place to work, community and family life as a result of globalisation has been of a consistently high and innovative character. LONDON CITIZENS has been the happy focus of much of your research and also has benefitted tremendously from your critique and findings. Your decision to not only analyse our work but also throw academic neutrality to the wind, roll your sleeves up and actually formally join our efforts and influence our struggles and first steps has proved to be mutually beneficial.
This Award recognizes your Department's courage to not only observe what is happening to the human condition (on your doorstep) but also – quite uniquely for Academic Departments – accept your responsibility to also join hands with your neighbours and change and challenge the market forces that, left to themselves can destroy the bonds that keep civil society together. Your university's decision to not only pay the Living Wage but also bring the outsourced cleaning staff back in house is a shining example of what a powerful anchor institution like a University can do to change the world around them for the better and give their most vulnerable staff the dignity and respect they deserve.
In considering the nominations for this Award the Trustees and Staff Team were unanimous that the Queen Mary Geography Department should be so honoured. It is LONDON CITIZENS hope that your example of high quality research, hands on analysis and practical and tangible respect for your neighbours will shine a light for others to follow as we share the same uncertain future and struggle together."
This is a wonderful way of recognising the work that many in the department have been engaged in with London Citizens. Special recognition must, of course, go to Jane who has shown such enormous energy, ideas and commitment, which have been so significant in driving this very important collaboration.
Of course, Jane has not worked alone in this endeavour. Martin Sokol, CathyMcIlwaine, Kavita Datta, Jon May, Yara Evans, Jo Herbert, Jill Fenton and David Pinder have all been involved in fostering this collaboration, as have a number of postgrads (Kate Hardy, Tim Heinemann, Fiona McConnell, Ant Ince, Jo Long, Jeremy Anderson and Felicity Paynter, Lina Jamoul, and others) and has involved the long-standing inclusion of many of our undergraduate and MA/MSc students.