As part of its commitment to transnationalism, SHARP has 20 regional liaison officers who act as both a conduit and resource in facilitating local initiatives from around the world. Regional activities include the series of larger SHARP focus conferences, such as SHARP Nancy (I.D.E.A.), SHARP Copenhagen, SHARP in Rio, SHARP Le Mans, and SHARP Monterrey Impresiones en el tiempo, in Mexico 2015. Earlier large regional conferences were held in Sydney, Australia; Kolkata, India; Cape Town, South Africa; and Venice, Italy. In addition SHARP encourages global grass roots activities and has been able to provide some limited funding for smaller seminar days, workshops and one-day conferences working with other local organisations in Buenos Aires, Puerto Rico, Canberra, Mainz, Madrid, and Helsinki, with more to come. Anyone interested in applying for funding for a local activity should in the first instance contact their local liaison officer or, if you do not yet have an officer for your region, then to the Director of Transnational Affairs.
As far as possible, SHARP aims to bring these activities to its members through the SHARP web, or other dissemination channels, which can include everything from reviews to podcasts, videos and livestreams of keynote papers or panels. Multi-lingual and other-than-English material is thoroughly welcome. Furthermore, the network of liaisons supports wider transnational interests by assisting initiatives such as SHARP Translation, our SHARP bibliography, and our plans for a rolling global conference to be held online at SHARPweb.
There are numerous regions yet to be sufficiently represented at SHARP, and our understanding is that SHARP members from every region would benefit from having greater access to global scholarship. To this end, we welcome any book-history initiative that helps bring the world’s regions together. If you would like to contribute in any way to SHARP regional liaison activities or believe that the regional office can help you as a member, please contact your local liaison officer or, if you do not yet have an officer for your region, then to the Director of Transnational Affairs
Summary of Requirements
To further the mutual interests of SHARP and scholarship in relevant fields, and to maximise the potential for new SHARP members as well as support concerns of existing members you should
- act as a facilitator and conduit between scholars in your region and SHARP
- ensure that SHARP publicity material is available at relevant events
- maintain SHARP’s openness to interdisciplinarity
- notify the executive of undertakings that may wish officially to link with SHARP or use the SHARP name
- keep SHARP members informed of relevant activities in your area through distribution channels such as SHARP-L
- return a regional liaisons report for your region each year shortly prior to the annual SHARP conference.
- attend whenever possible the annual external liaison meeting held in conjunction with the annual SHARP conference.
- and above all ensure that these dealings are undertaken in a spirit of friendly respect.
Regional Officer Duties and Job Description
The position requires that you
- ensure that local activities, conferences and so on are supplied with SHARP membership flyers and/or bookmarks (wherever you deem this to be appropriate)
- post notices on SHARP-L of any activities in your area (again, when appropriate)
- send in an annual report of activities in your area (half a page to two pages, indicating developments and perhaps futures)
- attend, whenever possible, the annual liaisons’ meeting held during the annual conference – although the executive realises that funding may not always permit.
The executive is well aware that all of us have busy, often extremely busy professional lives. Some officers find they only have resources for the most basic tasks and, as a voluntary organisation, SHARP does not have unrealistic expectations. All efforts made on a voluntary basis are both welcome and sincerely appreciated. However, should you choose, you also have the opportunity for instigating and carrying through more ambitious activities, which might include publications, conferences, networks, education and dissemination projects. In addition, this scope for initiative can also be passed on to other local scholars who seek a more active role in SHARP. Many early-career scholars, for example, are eager to organise events and help generally with SHARP’s activities, in return for some form of endorsement and/or official recognition that may assist them in their careers. SHARP’s regional liaisons, in particular, have the opportunity to spearhead SHARP’s aims for a more transnational approach to book history.
Along with its large annual conferences, SHARP conducts a series of regional/focused conferences, ideally numbering 100 or more international delegates, plans about which the Executive are always willing to hear. Many local members, however, find such sizable undertakings too ambitious, so it has recently been suggested that regional liaison officers may wish to link SHARP with smaller-scale activities, using resources such as SHARPweb as a means of dissemination through lecturecasts or webcasts. The impetus for such activities, following Executive approval, must come from local resources and the main people involved almost invariably should be SHARP members. The office of External Affairs has a small annual budget to help provide seed money for such initiatives, and in the first instance applications to this fund should go to the External Affairs Director. More importantly, however, SHARP can contribute a unique international forum of over one thousand members from over twenty countries, and all of the potential that such a network implies.
Whether local scholars are thinking of setting up a new integrated teaching and research platform, holding a relevant seminar series, launching a new journal, book series, or joint research project, you as a SHARP Officer should try to encourage those organisers to think of SHARP and to consider if there are ways in which the involvement of SHARP can be of mutual benefit to the organisers, to SHARP and to scholarship.
As an official SHARP Liaison Officer, you will be able to use SHARP’s name in connection with your liaising duties. However, plans that involve SHARP’s name in a public capacity should be passed to the Executive Committee for consideration, where you can be assured of an enthusiastic hearing and an honest appraisal. SHARP has always been driven by the friendly enthusiasm of its members, and this is something the society absolutely wishes to encourage.