HISTORY OF THE QRCA NETWORK
The QRCA network began tentatively as a “workshop” in 2018, at the USP in São Paulo. Many participants remember that they felt an important and distinct movement was then emerging: the development of a forum committed to a spirit of internationality, in which Latin American researchers, interested in “alternative” forms of accounting research, could present their research proposals and work in progress to a receptive audience. Since then, the QRCA network gradually expanded, particularly through the annual QRCA conferences that followed in 2019 and 2020.
From the beginning, presenters at the QRCA conferences have benefited from respectful interaction and the provision of constructive comments. This setting allows for listening and contribution among peers who make their knowledge and personal and professional trajectories available to the group. Further, graduate students are able to find within the QRCA network support from experienced researchers aiming to help youngsters developing their research. In so doing, younger researchers are provided with the opportunity to join a supportive academic community with which they can identify and which they could help to build.
One of the cornerstones of the QRCA conferences, from the very first meeting, is respectfulness toward presenters, discussants, and members of the audience. It is entirely fine to offer criticism of other people’s work, but at the QRCA conferences criticism needs to be guided by the spirit of collegiality and mutual understanding.
Another feature of the QRCA network is linguistic versatility. That is, anyone can present in one of the main languages of the Americas. Until now, presentations are predominantly in Portuguese and Spanish – and to some extent in English. Several colleagues in our community end up publishing some of their research in English language journals. Other colleagues, who grew up in Latin America, now work in institutions located on other continents. Colleagues from abroad, who are not necessarily fluent in Spanish or Portuguese, have also attended the QRCA conferences – being especially motivated to engage with the network in exchanging ideas. The active participation of colleagues who often express themselves in English should not be understood as a movement of domination or imposition of “foreign” values or agendas. On the contrary, their involvement should be viewed as a genuine initiative aiming to build bridges between our different origins. From a broad viewpoint, we all form a plural community that shares bonds and ties, characterized with openness and respect toward differences in culture, language, and generations.
For this initiative to be sustainable and have continuity, we need people to rejuvenate the QRCA network – and we are keen to welcome newcomers each year, able to participate in diverse ways in sustaining the network.
The QRCA is not just a small group of people. As a meeting place and melting point, the network seeks to grow and develop beyond labels, beyond language barriers, overcoming theoretical, disciplinary and cultural differences, becoming a forum where we are not afraid to ask hard questions and rethink our positions and trajectories.
Our experiences concerning the past editions of the conference indicate that we are able to develop with such noble ideals and values. We have engaged in conversations that matter, bringing in people from diverse environments, cultures, and contexts who did not feel constrained in discussing sensitive issues. We have seen participants proposing relevant research, exposing themselves, opening up new possibilities, calling for change. People have attended sessions in different formats, overcoming language and epistemic barriers, to communicate and contribute to each other’s work.
Finally, we want to stress two words that, we believe, reflect our essence: solidarity and reflexivity. Solidarity in many ways, including the constitution of bridges between academia and social movements. Accordingly, some of us are increasingly interested in academic activism. Reflexivity regarding several key questions: Are we seeing ourselves as equals? Are we participating in debates while maintaining our civility and academic collegiality? Are we being constantly reflexive about our role in each of the debates with which we engage? Are we open to different ways of doing and thinking research?