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Special Collection

Slavic Studies Goes Public: Who? What? Why? Where? When?

Collection launched: 14 Jul 2021

Public engagement, impact, and knowledge exchange are concepts that today feature prominently on research agendas in the UK and are gaining significance in Russia and Ukraine. Yet, despite the sector-wide emphasis on the importance of these practices and thoughtful work in this area by both academics and administrators in the UK context, there remains work to be done in articulating what exactly constitutes engagement, the politics and practicalities of building collaborations, and of the ethics of conducting such work, particularly in explicitly transnational fields like Modern Languages and Area Studies. This special collection, comprising nine reflections (six short essays and three critical-creative pieces), showcases the innovative public engagement work ongoing in the interdisciplinary field known as Slavic Studies, but also provides a space for self-reflection, institutional criticism, and the expression of dissent. The contributions are structured around a series of questions relating to the theory and practice of engagement work: What institutional factors and politics inform and determine the “who” of our public engagement work? How can the us/them dichotomy be rethought and with it the idea of “giving voice” to “voiceless” communities? How can those leading projects be sure that the legacy or change is desired by or necessary for the communities engaged? When does engagement end? When should it never have begun? We intend this series to form a point of departure, engendering further conversations, collaborations, and creativity on the public engagement theme.

Guest editors: Victoria Donovan, James Rann and Darya Tsymbalyuk