I’m very grateful to my friend Jo for this endorsement of my UCU NEC candidacy. Jo has an extraordinary ability to both identify injustice and take action against it, and I hope that her perspective will help UCU members to better understand the background to the proposals which I’m putting forward in the current election.
I first met Ben on or around my 29th birthday when we began the MA in Medieval Studies at UCL together. It was a slog of a year; we’d do our Intermediate Latin classes together on Fridays and then retire to a coffee shop to recover with cake and coffee. As members of the academic precariat, our paths have since diverged and collided. After we’d gone our separate ways to do our PhDs we were then Scouloudi predoctoral fellows together at the Institute of Historical Research; and then in August 2019, after a stint in Germany, Ben came to the John Rylands Research Institute as a Leverhulme postdoctoral fellow while I was working at the John Rylands Library as a manuscripts cataloguer. Needless to say, the cake and coffee traditions continued.
In the ten years plus I have known Ben, he has been an unfailingly brilliant, kind and loyal friend. His work on late medieval Germany is second to none; and you can read more about some exciting discoveries he has made here. Ben, like myself, is invested in intellectual inquiry both as a medievalist and in a broad sense. This is something we as NEC representatives *should* be proud of.
Ben has become a tour de force in antiprecarity activism, which started when he got involved in the Manchester Anti-Precarity Network after the strikes in 2019/20. He has since started out as Branch Rep for Libraries and Museums and is undergoing the training necessary for this role; all while dealing with precarious employment himself during challenging times and running for NEC.
Ben has come up with innovative and interesting ideas on how we combat precarity in our universities and colleges – a risk-sharing model which you can read all about on his website. These ideas are exactly the sort of thing we should be encouraging our members at all levels to bring to the table. If elected, I look forward to working with Ben on how we can develop these plans.
Dr Jo Edge, fixed-term lecturer, University of Manchester; UCU NEC Women’s rep 2020-22
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