First of all, I must express my sincere gratitude to everybody who responded to my call; the enthusiasm so far has been overwhelming and humbling, so my thanks for that. However, there's still a long way to go – please spread the word far and wide and urge people to get in touch. We need the right people on board if we're going to build something good.
In any case, I wanted to let you know what I intend to do next. So far I've drafted an organisational structure that looks something like this:
Academic Steering and Advocacy Committee
Finance, Sustainability and Legal Committee
My initial aim is to start to populate those various committees with people who can make them work. I'll be in touch over the next month or so on this!
The other angle that I'm working on is a bid for funds. I'm getting unofficial advice from helpful people (in helpful places) who assure me that they can help/advise with contacts/funding bids and we'll be aiming pretty high, as per the scope of the project. This will (hopefully) enable us to get some full-time staff on board to make the decisions/dreams/wildest fantasies of the committees a reality. As per previous point, sit tight and I'll keep you posted.
In the meanwhile, the most helpful thing that anybody can do would be to think, within each of your own disciplines, of the most senior, respected academics (in the traditional sense) who might be won over to sit on the Academics Steering Committee. There's a whole choir to whom it would be easy to preach; we need to make sure that this project is one that reaches further and that will only be possible by breaking the traditional mindset/credentialist models.
Secondly, we need suggestions for a name! This may sound a little like arguing over the colour* of T-Shirts before anything else exists, but the branding will be key in getting support. Ideas very welcome.
Very best wishes,
Martin Paul Eve
* you'll have to excuse my UK spelling habits; they persist.