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Chris Frank on his time as President of WCBS, and his forthcoming book

Chris Frank has spent two years with the Western Conference on British Studies as its President, and before that another two as programming chair. The Western Conference on British Studies, or WCBS, is one of six regional conferences that form part of the North American Conference on British Studies, which rotates through each region on a cycle. Over this time, Dr. Frank has overseen the development of a total of four conferences, consisting of about 22 panels each.

He has also, for the past seven years been working on a book-length research project of his own under contract with Routledge entitled Workers, Unions and Payment in Kind which he has had the opportunity to present over the years to a responsive, welcoming, but productively critical audience at the WCBS, Frank says it’s been nice to present “part of a chapter, and get questions, insights, and ideas where to go next.”

Dr. Frank says that he has enjoyed his time, and also enjoys the atmosphere of the smaller conferences, as they’re able to foster more collaborative approaches to research, allowing him and others to see colleagues work over time and develop their larger projects year to year, presently incrementally. This approach, he says, allows more collegial development of the work of a scholar, as well as being more welcoming to new scholars and graduate students at the start of their careers.

The atmosphere of smaller conferences allows for more close collaboration between colleagues from wide ranging institutions.  Dr. Frank’s membership with the WCBS allows him room to develop a project with more focused audiences who have been there to assist in the development of the project from the start, while allowing new voices in scholarship to join the conversation and provide newer ideas of where the project should head next. The smaller conference, as opposed to larger conferences with big names, also allows for more international and inter-institutional collaboration on projects of all sorts. Dr. Frank’s forthcoming book is only the latest example of the type of project which can come from smaller conference collaboration.

Posted in Research Check-in.

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