Volume II – No. 3 – February 2006
At the end of last year, the Call for Papers for our fourth conference was sent to all relevant locations on the Internet. Mathieu Flonneau, Vincent Guigeno and their team are now in full swing preparing our next international event in Paris in September/October of this year. In April, the Executive Committee will gather in Leuven (Belgium) to evaluate York and make the final decisions about Paris.
With T2M now in its fourth year, the EC will dedicate most of its meeting time in Leuven to questions which are not directly related to the Paris conference, but which are crucial for the stability and continuity of our Association. One of these issues is our Statutes and Internal Regulation, which are now nearly ready to be presented to the members, first through email, then, for a final vote, at the Members Meeting in Paris. Also, on the organizational level, the EC decided in York to give every EC member a portfolio of tasks in order to spread the bureaucratic labour over the whole committee. I hope to give you an overview of this subcommittee structure after our Leuven meeting. Important subcommittees are the one on elections, the one on our internet communications (including a listserve which we still don’t have) and the one on sponsoring.
No doubt the major concern of the EC’s deliberations is to our financial stability. At the start of our Association, in November 2003, our members decided to affiliate with The Journal of Transport History for at least the next three years. A wise decision, because we brought the expertise of the Editorial Board of JTH within the ranks of our Association. The downside of this decision, however, was that, because we do not ‘own’ this journal, the financial benefits for the Association are minimal, so we had to look for other sources of income, such as sponsoring.
Because the secretarial work has been ‘outsourced’ to the ECMD in Eindhoven (which, thus, subsidizes us with several thousands of Euro per year), our financial burden at the moment is rather modest, but this situation cannot last forever. In order to reach a minimum level of financial stability we decided, last year, to start a campaign to attract institutions and local companies as institutional members. They pay €200 per year and receive the same benefits as individual members (JTH, among others) plus the right to have a stand at the annual conference. One of our members in Portugal (Luisa de Sousa) took the initiative to send more then twenty letters to potential Portuguese institutional members and up to now, two companies have responded positively. I would like to call upon all members who think they know a potential candidate for institutional membership in their neighbourhood or in their country, to follow Luisa’s example. The secretariat in Eindhoven will provide all necessary support for such local campaigns.
In Leuven we will also discuss our latest members’ survey, a splendid tradition which helps the EC a lot when we have to make decisions about future policy. While our financial stability forms the foundation, the role of T2M in defining and creating the new field of Mobility History is the very reason of our existence as an organisation. As of today, you can consult the results of this survey yourself on our website t2m.org. Let me share some results with you now, in order to get an impression of how we are performing in our main objective. The first thing which strikes me as very important in this respect is that we – at every conference we organize – still attract a large amount of scholars who are not (yet) a member (Survey results Q1) and that our website and mailing campaign are crucial in attracting these scholars (Survey results Q2). Exactly as we have envisioned when we founded our Association, the majority of the conference participants are historians, but the number of scholars from other, non-historical disciplines, is very substantial (Survey results Q3). This reflects the growing interdisciplinarity of our field, a phenomenon we should keep in mind when organization our activities. A promising result of the York survey is also, that one third of the respondents are willing to get involved more actively in organizational matters (see chart below). It is to these members and non-members to whom I would like to repeat my call to take up the challenge of our institutional members campaign. Help us to put T2M at a secure financial footing!