A new article this week on Wonkhe, a leading higher education policy website in the United Kingdom, heralds the Atlanta Studies Network as a “world-leading, civic initiative” in higher education from which UK universities should learn. Writing in response to a UK report calling for greater university civic engagement, Robin Hambleton commends the network for its “firmly place-based” approach and the robustly multi-institutional nature of this Emory Center for Digital Scholarship partnership with other Atlanta-based universities and centers.
Hambleton, an emeritus professor of city leadership at the University of West England in Bristol, UK, highlights key initiatives of the Atlanta Studies Network:
- The Atlanta Studies Symposium: Hambleton shines a spotlight on this annual symposium, inaugurated at Emory in 2013, citing its robust attendance and reach across the metro Atlanta region. The article notes that the symposium, co-organized by Emory University, Clark Atlanta University, the Atlanta University Center’s Robert W. Woodruff Library, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Georgia State University in recent years, attracted 250 participants when it returned to Emory last spring. The article highlights the even broader institutional breadth of presenters, hailing from academic as well as “governmental, non-profit, policy or arts” backgrounds and representing “all levels of seniority, ranging from high school students to university presidents.”
- The Atlanta Studies journal: Hambleton notes the wide readership of the network’s multimodal, open access, peer-reviewed journal. Published by ECDS since 2015, the journal now attracts over 30,000 annual visitors to its interdisciplinary multimodal scholarship on issues facing the Atlanta metro region, according to managing editor and editorial board member Jesse P. Karlsberg, ECDS’s senior digital scholarship strategist.
Hambleton describes how two Bristol-based universities “have drawn insights from the imagination shown by scholars and civic leaders in Atlanta” in establishing a new annual event, the Bristol Forum. He hails the network’s activities and its remarkable breadth—additional partners include the Atlanta History Center, the New Georgia Encyclopedia, and Kennesaw State University. The Atlanta Studies Network, Hambleton writes, can serve as a model as UK universities deepen their civic engagement as “institution[s] rooted in place.”