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February 8, 2023

DEADLINE EXTENDED - CALL FOR PITCHES: Writing for Impact Workshop, 1-2 June 2023, Johannesburg, South Africa

As an academic, do you worry about the real-life impact of your writing? With a long lag time between research and publication, findings can become dated by the time journal articles and books reach their intended audiences. For the general public, academic writing can also be seen as long-winded, overly theoretical, full of jargon, and often without practical, policy-linked conclusions. Given the often-controversial nature of China-Africa engagements, we believe there is a level of urgency in getting current research published in a more accessible and time-sensitive manner.

The Chinese in Africa/Africans in China Research Network (CA/AC), together with the University of the Witwatersrand Africa-China Reporting Project (ACRP) and the China Global South Project (CGSP), propose to train China-Africa scholars to improve the impact of their writing, by turning academic research into formats more commonly read by general audiences and policymakers. To help bridge the gap, we are hosting an in-person workshop focused on translating academic work into policy briefs, op-eds, and long-form articles.

We want to help you make your scholarly research more accessible, help you reach wider audiences in a timely fashion, and leverage social media to circulate your work. This small (maximum 10 participants) two-day writing workshop will be hosted by the ACRP on the Wits campus in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 1-2 June 2023. Researchers will exchange with editors, policymakers, and China-Africa scholars who have succeeded in disseminating their findings to the non-academic world. Participants will aim to complete a draft of a policy brief, long-form article, or op-ed by the end of the workshop.

We are looking for China-Africa scholars (at any level, including current PhD students/candidates) who have a recent research project with a completed or recently published chapter or article that you would like to turn into a public-facing media article, op-ed, or policy document.

Selection criteria will include:

  • Researcher qualifications
  • Quality of work (chapter or article submitted)
  • Policy relevance or potential for public interest in your topic
  • Lack of public/media publishing record

African and other Global South candidates will receive priority consideration. If you have already participated in a SAIS-CARI or ASCIR writing-for-impact workshop, you are not eligible to apply for this workshop.

Send your pitch to by 11:59 pm EST on Sunday 19 February 2023 (Deadline extended to Tuesday 28 February by 11:59pm).

In your pitch, answer the following questions:

  • What is your topic, and why do you believe your findings to be relevant and of interest to policymakers and/or the general public? 
  • Who is your target audience? 
  • What kind of piece would you like to work on (media essay, op-ed, policy document) and
  • Where would you like to publish this piece? 

Your pitch should NOT exceed 500 words; it should be without academic or technical jargon and easy-to-read.

Checklist for your complete pitch:

  • your full name, affiliation, and full contact details (including email, phone for texts & WhatsApp messaging, and mailing address)
  • name of one referee/reference
  • your pitch (not to exceed 500 words)
  • your CV, and
  • the paper/chapter (which will form the basis of your participation)

Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. If you are selected, we will cover airfare, local transportation (including shuttle from and back to the airport), and most meals (including arrival night and final night dinners, as well as breakfast and lunch during the 2-day workshop), and 3 nights’ accommodation for your stay in Johannesburg. (We will NOT cover costs of Visas, hotel incidentals, or extra expenses.) For more information, please email us at

This workshop is supported by The Ford Foundation.

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