Stop the closure of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, School of Advanced Study!

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We, the undersigned, are writing to express our outrage at the abrupt and unexpected decision to close the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICwS) early next year. While consultation is still on-going, we urge the relevant stakeholders to reconsider this decision.

ICwS stands at the very heart of Commonwealth and Post-Colonial Studies in the UK. Founded in 1949, ICwS is the only postgraduate academic institution in the UK devoted specifically to the study of the Commonwealth. The Institute is a national and international centre of excellence for policy-relevant research, research facilitation and teaching. It is home to a world-class research library, provides the editorial and administrative office for the Human Rights Consortium, the Refugee Law Initiative, is host to numerous interdisciplinary academic events, workshops and conferences, and provides invaluable support to early career scholars through its competitive fellowships and grants schemes. 

The threatened closure of both ICwS and the Institute of Latin American Studies would not just be a critical blow to the School of Advanced Study, its staff, fellows and alumni, but would also do untold harm to Commonwealth and Post-Colonial Studies throughout the UK and further afield. Indeed, we fear that this short-sighted and lamentable decision will contribute to job losses in Higher Education institutions across the country who are already struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As signatories to this petition, we are acutely aware of the importance of establishing strong international links and research interests. Commonwealth Studies are vital to maintaining these connections, particularly in the context of Brexit. Closing ICwS would be short-sighted and insular at best. 

We are therefore calling for an immediate reversal of this decision and implementation of inclusive consultation with both staff and students at ICwS.


In addition to signing this petition, you can send letters of your support against the closure of ICwS to the acting Dean, Professor Jo Fox, and the Vice-Chancellor of the University of London Professor Wendy Thomson, There is also a dedicated address for your concerns and questions regarding the organisational restructuring of SAS which can be contacted: 

Please also help us stop this decision by using the hashtags: #stopICwSclosure #SaveICwS




Text adapted from the 'Stop the closure of the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of London!' campaign. If you signed this petition, please consider signing the petition against the closure of ILAS as well as they are also threatened with dissolution: