Tea Circle in Transition: Burmese translations and upcoming expansion

Dear Readers,

Our editorial team is excited to announce a number of new initiatives associated with the expansion of our current site. These expansion efforts have been made possible through a generous grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Some will be permanent while others will run on a trial basis through at least the end of October, but our team is working hard to secure more sustainable funding for these activities.

Since Tea Circle’s founding in 2015, our editorial team has been staffed by volunteers—scholars and practitioners from Myanmar and across the world—who have given their time in order to support the hundreds of writers who have published their contributions on our site. We are so grateful for the dozens of volunteers who have served as editors in this volunteer capacity, committing their expertise to the continuous improvement of our platform and content.

Expanding the scope of our editorial activities and our outreach within Myanmar and abroad has always been a goal of the Tea Circle team. Our ambitions for further growth have also been informed by a reluctance to place too unreasonable a burden on our volunteer editors.

Access to funding has changed this calculus and, while our English language editorial process will still depend on the generous contributions of our volunteers, we have been able to direct funding toward a limited number of paid roles that will be necessary for new content and more far-reaching collaborations. We’re excited to have established seven positions, in addition to the seventeen editors who continue to manage most of Tea Circle’s submission, editorial, and publication processes. This new scope of work expands in four critical areas:

  • Special events and collaborations: Tea Circle will soon host a series of special events (held as webinars), with the potential to feature written posts on the site. We envision these events as opportunities to expand on the discussions fostered by our site, and to build on the diverse collaboration we have established in prior years but that have, thus far, materialized only in writing. 
  • Outreach and mentoring: While we first began outreach to Myanmar-based organizations and educational institutions in 2018, and have since published numerous pieces emerging from informal writing workshops and formal partnerships, we will now have several mentors dedicated to supporting new contributors eager to submit to our site. They will provide guidance on Tea Circle’s writing, revision, and editorial review process. Support is available in English and Burmese, and we encourage anyone with preliminary ideas to reach out to our team at the email address below.  
  • Translations: As announced recently on our Twitter and Facebook pages, we will now publish a select number of posts in Burmese, in addition to our regular English language offerings.July will mark the start of dual language publishing on our site; we will begin slowly, but hope to ramp up to include English-to-Burmese and Burmese-to-English translations. This latter focus will include Burmese-English translations for an upcoming special forum in which we will accept and edit posts in Burmese, which we will translate for our English language audience. While the coming months are ultimately a trial phase, our hope is to expand this model to full dual-language functionality in Burmese and English, with other languages—including ethnic languages—featured as well.
  • Website redesign: In line with our emphasis on multiple languages, we will be launching a redesigned website in the coming months, one that will better feature our new offerings in Burmese, as well as facilitate seamless navigation between our dual language posts and series.

We’re delighted to share the results of these efforts with you over the coming months, and we’re appreciative of the many dedicated readers who have submitted pieces, engaged with our posts, and offered feedback as the site has evolved over the past six years.

In light of the February 2021 military coup in Myanmar, our commitment to critical dialogue and wide-ranging exchange feels even more urgent. We remain concerned, first and foremost, about the safety and security of those who contribute to our site and have therefore, expanded our policies to include avenues for anonymous and encrypted submissions.

We believe this expansion will augment our ability to realize our foundational vision of Tea Circle as a space of connection. Our individual pursuits— whether in academia, advocacy, or beyond— have only been enhanced by the kind of dialogue and exchange made possible by immersion in a community of like-minded and passionate peers.

We welcome your comments, suggestions and contributions as we begin this transition. 

The Tea Circle Editorial Team

editor@teacircleoxford.com | teacircleoxford@protonmail.com

Read the Burmese version of our expansion post here.

(Featured image by Stefan Munder, from Flickr)