Members of Third Text Editorial Board Resign & Call for Independent Review of Journal

POSTED ON: August 8, 2012 IN Speeches & Statements, Word View

Third Text Editorial Board, 8 August 2012

Open Letter to the Board of Trustees of Third Text from members of the Editorial Board

The Editorial Board wishes to make public its position, as set out in letters sent to the Board of Trustees since Rasheed was removed from the day to day running of Third Text in the summer of  2011 (see below 24/11/2011 & 8/3/2012). These letters express our concerns over the situation.

Since that time (in total a period of approximately 12 months) we have attempted to arrive at a resolution behind the scenes. There has been no resolution mainly, it seems, because of a breakdown in communication between the principal parties.

In light of these events, we urge the Board of Trustees to commission a fully independent review, to investigate the management and editorial structure of the journal. This should include the role of the Board of Trustees. We feel that this is the minimum action required by those claiming to have the best interests of the journal at heart.

We, the undersigned members of the Editorial Board, having made every effort to establish dialogue between warring parties, feel we now have no choice but to tender our resignation.

Members of the Advisory Council are urged to offer their support.

Ali Ahmad
Jorella Andrews
Annie E. Coombes
Christine Eyene
Amna Malik

On 24 November 2011 18:52, Annie Coombes wrote:

To the Board of Trustees of Third Text,

Those members of the Editorial Board whose signatures appear below would like to formally reiterate their support for the Founding Editor of Third Text, Rasheed Araeen. We feel extremely uncomfortable with recent events at the Journal which have resulted in his isolation. All of us are agreed that the Editorial Board should play a fuller role in decision making at the journal but we are also only interested in being part of a Third Text which has Rasheed’s full support and participation.

We would be grateful for clarification over the future of the journal.

With warm good wishes,

Annie E. Coombes
Amna Malik
Jorella Andrews
Sean Cubitt
Raimi Gbadamosi
Christine Eyene
Leon Wainwright
Ali Nobil Ahmed (confirmed after sending)

From: Editorial Board, Third Text
Sent: 08 March 2012 18:21
To: [Board of Trustees of Black Umbrella/ Third Text]
Cc: [representatives of the Arts Council of England and Taylor & Francis]
Subject: Message from the Editorial Board of Third Text

Dear Colleagues,

We are writing to express our concerns about the current state of affairs at Third Text and to ask if we may open communications with you to discuss the future of the journal.

We hope that you will understand our deep regret to hear about the dismissal of Rasheed Araeen from his post at Third Text in summer 2011. As a Board we are in agreement that there can be no justification for the sacking of Rasheed, for the subsequent stopping of his pay, and for causing him to become disenfranchised from the journal. We had hoped by now to receive from you an explanation of why this has come about. Since this is not forthcoming we have begun to wonder in what regard Rasheed is held by the Trustees and what your intentions are in allowing this situation to continue without reinstating him.

The lack of communication from the Trustees has also raised our concern about the regard in which the Editorial Board is held by the Trustees, and how it sees the involvement of the Editorial Board in contributing to the progress of Third Text. As an Editorial Board, we see part of our role as forming an active and guiding intellectual core for Third Text. However, we have serious concerns that this profile has been side-lined and we are disappointed that the journal has apparently broken off its communications with the Editorial Board. We must note that we have not been called to our regular pattern of meetings, and that we have been cut out of the peer-review process at the journal. It is difficult to see how the Trustees envision the intellectual standards and direction for the journal to be maintained without our involvement. Moreover, we have to know whether the Trustees feel that our exclusion at all squares with the impression given to the journal’s contributors, readers, funders and publishers that we are continuing to act as reviewers of the scholarly content of a learned journal, even though this has not been the case for quite some time.

In restating our position, our sense is that the legitimacy of Third Text as a scholarly journal depends on the work of the Editorial Board, in keeping with the established aims and objectives for Third Text that were formulated by Rasheed in his numerous statements and articles. Without resuming our participation we see Third Text as in danger of losing its hard-won and important standing and we fear especially that the journal may be deceiving its public by claiming that its product has undergone our review.

Given the seriousness and urgency of this matter, we hope to have a written response from you within what we count as a reasonable period: by 23rd March. Should we be unable to solicit a satisfactory response, then we trust that you will understand our cause for approaching several other parties in seeking solutions to the current state of affairs at Third Text. We understand that Rasheed is minded, as are we, to take a democratic path by contacting the journal’s considerable community of supporters – here and around the world – in order to consult them on what they would see as a way forward for Third Text. These would certainly include Arts Council England and Routledge, Taylor & Francis, as well as our Advisory Council. We remain confident, however, and on this we seek your assurance, that affairs can be set in order at the journal without disclosing the uncertainties that have come about through the dismissal of Rasheed and the exclusion of the Editorial Board of the journal.

We very much look forward to hearing from you.

Yours, the undersigned,

Jorella Andrews
Annie Coombes
Sean Cubitt
Christine Eyene
Raimi Gbadamosi
Amna Malik
Ali Nobil Ahmed
Leon Wainwright


Professor Annie E. Coombes
Professor of Material and Visual Culture
Department of History of Art and Screen Media


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