The NAF/NAAR President's Address

The NAF/NAAR President’s Address
by Anne Elisabeth Toft

I am very pleased and proud that you have re-elected me as President of NAF/NAAR for another period of three years. I promise that I shall do my utmost to fulfil my duties, and that I will stand for NAF/NAAR and all that it represents.

When I look back on the last three years, I think we have accomplished a lot together.

When I became president in 2015, there were some things that I declared I would specifically work on:

First of all, I wanted to consolidate and stabilize the association as a platform for research. I wanted the association to be known for its high quality work and its unique profile: an independent Nordic association of researchers with an annual research symposium and a double-blind peer-reviewed research journal at the highest scientific level.

Secondly, I had an ambition to turn NAF/NAAR into an even stronger, more far-reaching association and brand than it had ever been. So a focal point was to make the association more visible – in the Nordic context, of course, but also internationally – especially to the younger generation of researchers such as PhD students.

Finally, I wanted to promote an active and cooperative board, where board members would take responsibility for and ownership of specific NAF/NAAR projects. I also hoped to be able to strengthen the board as an engaging, supportive and independent network for the individual board members; a network that would develop its own discourse.

Today – when I look back – I am pleased to say, that we have accomplished it all: Let me just bring to mind a few of our many important achievements within the last three years:

Our highly appraised journal NJAR is now at level two, not just in Denmark and Norway – but also in Finland.  The extensive work of digitalizing and archiving all previously published issues of NJAR was completed in 2015 by Trond Haug and Jonas E. Anderson, and the archive  is today free to visit at the website of the association.

The general interest in NJAR is growing. In April 2017 the chief editors of the journal had to announce a temporary stop for manuscripts, because the interest in NJAR was peaking with an ever growing number of scholars submitting articles.

Our website has developed significantly within the last three years – with more information being available about the association, its history and mission. As a platform it has become more transparent, and we have also developed transparent editorial guidelines regarding NAF’s/NAAR’s publishing strategies and peer-review processes.

Our newsletter, which has been run by Jonas E. Anderson, has regularly been sent out to 900 e-mail addresses, and since 2016 NAF/NAAR has also been on social media such as Facebook and Twitter – an initiative run by Lars Brorson Fich, which has proven most successful in making NAF/NAAR more visible and a more far-reaching brand and association.

Our NAF/NAAR symposia are attracting increasing numbers of attending researchers. I am very happy to say that the board can measure a growing interest in the discourse of NAF/NAAR and our research symposia. It is an interest that I think has to do with the integrity of NAF/NAAR, its scientific rigor and critical reflection. This interest, which is international, also led to NAF/NAAR being represented at the 15th Architecture Biennale in Venice in 2016, where the NAF/NAAR board curated an open hearing in the Nordic Pavilion – an open hearing on the production of knowledge in architecture by research.

Another key effort securing NAFs/NAARs autonomy and scientific rigor, carried out during my presidency, was the establishment of our publishing house in 2016. Nordic Academic Press of Architectural Research is a stronghold and a major contribution to the research community in the Nordic countries as it allows for double-blind peer reviewed open access proceedings publications.

I am proud of all the things we have accomplished during the past three years. In that context, I want to stress that nothing of this would have been possible without you, your support and your diligent work. I thank you all very much!

There is one person, who more than anyone else, however, has supported me throughout my presidency, and who deserves a special thank you and mentioning today – and that person is Magnus Rönn. Dear Magnus – thank you so much for all your help, your tremendous loyalty towards me and NAF/NAAR, your hard work, your good nature and great wisdom. I thank you for our friendship, too. I am very indebted to you, and I am thrilled that you will continue as vice-president of NAF/NAAR.

Last year we celebrated NAF’s/NAAR’s 30 year anniversary with founding members of the association – one of them being Magnus. It was a very moving experience to meet them and hear about the dreams and visions they had for the association.

I feel humbled to be allowed to carry on the work of my predecessors.  And I realize the great responsibility it is to be president of NAF/NAAR.

In the next period Magnus and I will focus our work on increasing the number of members of the association, thus ensuring the future of NAF/NAAR and its work even more. We will look at human resources within the NAF/NAAR board and begin looking for candidates for the next president and vice-president of the association.

I am looking forward to the tasks lying ahead.

Thank you very much!

 

Seinäjoki, Finland, 31. May 2018