Friday, March 05, 2010

The rally to save ARM

I belong to an academic body called the Association for Research on Mothering (ARM). It operates out of York University in Toronto Canada, and there is an Australian branch. The Association runs conferences - 3 a year - one in Toronto, one in New York (with Mamapalooza) and one international. In Australia we have conferences every second year. They also publish journals twice a year, and other publications, as well as resources for academics who teach mothering units in gender studies courses. Its founder and Director, Andrea O'Reilly, is a main voice for mothers in Canada. You don't have to be an academic to be involved.

This week we received word that the Association is to close due to lack of funding. It was never set up as a research centre, so is not eligible for funding. York uni gives the centre an office. It is funded by other grants and membership fees and selling publications.

Women all over the world have been rallying to save ARM. We have been sending emails to York uni, talking about ways of raising the funds ourselves, possibly housing the Association at another uni. and asking people to buy the publications now. They need $20,000 to continue.

If you are interested in the continued existence of the Association for Research on Mothering please get involved now. If you never knew of their existence, now is the time to check them out. There is a Facebook page set up to support the group. They have their own website. Bloggers have been writing about what the Association means to them, and how sorely the loss will be felt.

Thanks. This Association has meant an enormous amount to me. That mothers are worthy of serious thought. That a group of academics connect with other mothering groups and are involved in social action. That I can read their publications and attend their conferences. That I found a home with them. That other women are thinking about how mothers can be feminists too. Can be activists and can support each other. And this Association is a driving force in the mothers movement. It was integral to the creation of the International Mothers Network.

I do understand that procedures must be followed, there are responsibilities to be met - accountability and fiscal management. I suspect the group may disband, and reform as a proper Research Centre, if we can't raise the funds to continue as we are.

I guess what we really need now is an Australian uni to house the Australian Research Centre for Mothering (our ARM branch was housed at UQ for the first few years, but now has no home). In the meantime, I guess the Australian branch can keep hosting conferences, where academics and practitioners can come together to share their research in all sorts of fields - medical, legal, culture, the arts, social policy, international issues.

Anyway, bloggers who say how I feel about ARM are here:

I'll put up others as I find them.

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