The Lagos Conference is gradually becoming a major avenue to shape the trajectory of knowledge on the city in years to come. It is providing a fertile ground to train new generation of Lagos, Nigerian, and African studies scholars and help harmonize the intellectual energies of academics working across multiple fields and disciplines. It would also help bring our non-academic practitioners and members of the civil society—who are also knowledge producers—into serious conversation. The opening and closing keynote lectures will be given by academic and non-academic practitioners in order to reflect the LSA’s commitment to bridging the gap between the Town and the Gown.
2). Global Lagos: A Symposium on Emerging Themes on an African City
The global Lagos symposium will be held outside Lagos (North America, Europe, South America, Asia or the Middle East). Designed to focus on specific theme/s, members of the LSA can request to host the symposium in their universities. The Global Lagos Symposium would give global visibility to the works of Nigeria-based scholars, enhance academic networking, and help postgraduate and junior scholars to grow into serious professional colleagues. The LSA will work with the prospective host to frame and conceptualize the symposium. In order to enhance effective planning, the host will focus on securing funding and space in his or her institution, while the LSA executive and committees will handle correspondence with prospective participants, work with collaborators and funders, and give the event the publicity it deserves, among other tasks. Papers presented in the Global Lagos Symposium can be published as special issues in journals such as the Lagos Historical Review and Lagos Notes and Records, or as a book edited by LSA members.
3). LSA-Sponsored Panels at International African and Urban Studies Conferences/Meetings
LSA will sponsor panels/round-tables at international African and urban studies conferences such as the annual meetings of the African Studies Associations of the United States, Canada, and Europe. These avenues would give the LSA the visibility it deserves in the global African studies circles and further help provide the opportunity for our academic and non-academic colleagues to present their works and share their insight with the global academic community.
4). Occasional Seminars, Workshops, and Research Talks
Individual scholars will be able to share their research with their colleagues across disciplines and fields in the LSA Occasional Seminars, Workshops, and Research Talks. If you are working on a new project and would like to share your research with colleagues in your faculty or another institution, let us know! If you are based outside Nigeria and would like to test-run your research findings with colleagues based in Nigeria, let us know! The LSA will organize seminars for Nigeria-based and visiting international scholars in order to further promote knowledge sharing, and Lagos and African studies in general. Our non-academic practitioners, including artists could use the symposium to promote their activities. The LSA Occasional Seminars will also be organized around developments/events taking place in the city. LSA members will have the opportunity to gather to critically reflect over time-sensitive events and release public statements that all members could agree upon. In addition, the LSA Seminars and Workshops can be held to honor a milestone in the careers of members such as retirement and conferment of major national and international awards. It could also be used to honor members who have passed on.
5). Research and Writing Seminars for Postgraduate Students and Junior Scholars
The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) has noted correctly that the output of Africa-based scholars has increased tremendously in the past decade. However, the quality of their research and visibility in international academic publishing outlets have declined exponentially. One solution to this obvious problem is mentoring of postgraduate students and junior scholars through writing and research seminars. The LSA intends to invest seriously in new generation of scholars by supplementing the works of our colleagues who train and mentor postgraduate students. Special writing and research seminars will be organized for postgraduate students by editors of journals and senior colleagues based within and outside Nigeria. The seminars could be themed—such as “Research Methodology in the Social Sciences.” They could also touch on a broad array of subjects– example, “Academic Research, Writing, and Publishing in Tier-One Journals.” Regardless, the seminar will be an opportunity for senior scholars within and outside Nigeria to share their knowledge and expertise with junior and emerging scholars.
6). Data and Resources Sharing Program
Scholars and researchers have traditionally shared primary and secondary data (books, articles, archival materials, images, illustration, and qualitative records) with one another. However the LSA is attempting to co-ordinate and institutionalize primary and secondary data sharing in order to support quality research of its members. We will need user-friendly technology to do this. But essentially, a member can submit request for primary or secondary sources to a shared platform. Members willing to help secure the materials can then contact the requesting member directly. As the association grows, we might be able to get some institutions like the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago to donate or sell, at a discounted rate, microfilms of colonial Lagos newspapers, which are decaying very fast at the Ibadan National Archives, but are properly kept in microfilm and microfiche formats in research libraries across the world. We might also be able to secure funding to digitize the dilapidated colonial Lagos newspapers housed inside the Ibadan National Archives.
7). Research and Travel Grants
A portion of the LSA revenue will go towards supplementing the cost of conducting research by its members. The LSA research and travel grants could be used by members to conduct research either in Nigeria or outside the country and to attend international conferences/symposia/panels sponsored by the LSA. It could also be used to help members (especially postgraduate students and junior scholars) secure host institutions to conduct research or write under the guidance of senior scholars based outside Nigeria. A portion of the travel grant can also come in the form of free or subsidized accommodation on Lagos university campuses for international scholars and students visiting Nigeria for fieldwork and research.
The LSA awards come in different categories. Awards will be given (on a yearly basis) to the best paper by a graduate student presented at the annual Lagos conference, and the best PhD dissertation/thesis on Lagos studies. In addition, the LSA intends to reward senior academic and non-academic practitioners who have committed their distinguished career, countless hours, and energy in making Lagos a place to study and think critically about. This award comes in two categories namely “Distinguished Scholar Award” which will be given to academics and the “Distinguished Personality Award” to go to non-academic practitioners. The criteria for the awards is not cast in stone. Generally, awardees in the academic category must have published research articles or/and academic books that helped shape new directions in Lagos, Nigerian, and African studies. Non-academic awardees must have made positive, visible, and major contributions to Lagos politics, society, or economy.
9). The Online Encyclopedia of Lagos
This is a new ambitious project of the LSA that would remain in continual existence. The project would have multiple editors across the fields in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences who would edit for content and factual accuracy. The Online Encyclopedia of Lagos would give graduate students and up and coming scholars the avenue to experiment with academic writing through synthetic entries (ranging from 500 to 2000 words) on various aspects of Lagos history, culture, and society. The entries would range from topical subjects to biographies of people, place, and things. The online format would provide opportunity to revise and track the nature of edits made over time and to add to the list of entries or headwords.
10). LSA Newsletter
The Newsletter would provide our members the opportunity to publish short entries (between 500 and 2000 words) about their project, fieldwork, archive, and methodology notes, and topical issues. This is one way to introduce graduate students and up and coming scholars to academic writing. It would also have sections on various activities of the LSA, reports on the Lagos Conference and seminars, and reflections on the state of knowledge on Lagos.