SRN Executive Minutes – March

Minutes of SRN EC Meeting

Monday 16.3.2020 at 9 pm GMT/UTC (via Skype)

Circulation list: Carmen Sofia Brenes (CSB), Rose Ferrell (RF), Alexandra Ksenofontova (AK),
Rafael Leal (RL), Margaret McVeigh (MM), Paolo Russo (PR), Rosanne Welch (RW)


1. Apologies for absence

  • MM

2. Minutes of previous EC Meeting for approval

  • Minutes Approved. PR to send final draft to RL for upload to website.
  • Note: the agenda for the March meeting was modified in order to priorities decision re: SNR2020 in light of the COVID-19 emergency; PR has circulated a memo outlining possible scenarios and implications prior to the meeting (attached here for reference).

3. Contingency Plan for SRN2020 in light of COVID-19, and

4. SRN2020 Oxford Conference update (PR)

  • The EC agrees that given the circumstances SRN2020 can no longer be held in September 2020 and therefore postponement options are to be discussed. Given the exceptionality of the situation, there is no precedent to rely on; which means that the decision made by the EC will set such precedent although, hopefully, never to be needed again in the future. AK praises the level of detail outlined in the memo and suggests September 2021 as the best option. RW considers whether the EC should survey the membership about this. CB points out that the EC chooses the locales and dates without asking for a group vote from membership and therefore this too is a decision that pertains the EC.
  • The EC agrees that, should the conference be postponed by only a few months (i.e. January 2021), this would impact the Vienna conference negatively. Also, RL notes that if the pandemic is not over by the Summer we would have to postpone again anyway, leading to even more complications. Moreover, Claus Tieber having offered to move Vienna to 2022, and RW and RL agreeing to do the same for their conferences in 2023 and 2024, the EC agrees that postponing by one year to September 2021 is the best option (note: MM was consulted after the meeting and agreed as well). PR thanks CT, RW and RL for their help and availability.
  • PR thinks postponing to September 2021 should be feasible in terms of practicalities. Shortlisted delegates will be accepted for 2021 automatically, as long as they are still willing to attend. PR also assures that any PhD students who might become faculty or change their status in the meantime will still access discounted registration fee, although their access to travel and budget arrangements at their institutions may change by next year. PR will have to look into and iron out some financial concerns as a result of postponing – e.g. non-refundable deposit for the booking of the conference dinner, extension of website subscription fee for another year. AK asks for details re: the course of action if postponing by one year, what questions will come from the membership, and what issues need to clear with Oxford-Brookes.
  • ACTION: PR will email membership tomorrow with the EC’s decision and will deal internally re: all logistical issues at Oxford Brookes. Registration will be suspended and any payments made reimbursed. Once the September 2021 date can be fully confirmed, PR will set up the registration system and the website again. The information will then be posted on Facebook, on the SRN2020 website and on the SRN official website as well.
  • CB points out that since the responsibility for the decision ultimately lies with the EC, should anyone not be happy with it they can speak directly to the EC. RF wonders whether the postponement will cause issues/problems to the organizing committee of SRN2020. PR replies that, since a lot of work had already been put into it, the committee will simply have to pause preparation for now, then resume whenever possible. Anyone whose proposal had been accepted will roll over – those who can’t attend in 2021 will open it up to others and a new CfP can be posted in the Autumn of 2020 if needed. PR informs that, so far about 15 delegates had already registered and 3 already informed they could not come at all due to the pandemic.
  • SRN Awards: the prize money being funded by Oxford Brookes and the award ceremony being held during the AGM, the awards will be pushed to 2021 and nominations will cover a two-year time span. PR has liaised with the Jury members who agreed on this change. PR has also tried external funding/sponsors for the prize money but no luck so far.
  • ACTION: The newsletter and Facebook page should inform the members that the Awards will skip a year.
  • AGM and EC Elections in 2020: the question is raised about whether there can be elections without an in presentia AGM in 2020. Can elections be held online or should the current EC serve for another year ex officio? RL observes that Google just opened a platform for conference: could we use that to call a virtual AGM and hold the elections this way?
  • ACTION: to be discussed in the April meeting and that the platform could be tested before making a decision. If, eventually, the current EC members are to serve an additional year, the EC could seek Ian MacDonald’s advice about how to formally action this extension.
  • ACTION – PR to double check the SRN statute by the April meeting. Should this be the case, the EC could use the extra year to focus more systematically on the plan to reach out to underrepresented regions (as per RF’s memo).

5. Any other business

  • AK informs that German colleagues including CT are planning to go ahead with a local German event in Hanover in November 2020 (expected attendance: 40 delegates). Anyone who speaks German can think of attending: the CfP will be posted by end of April to see how people react. Two diverging opinions emerged among the organizers: is it the right or wrong time to call for abstracts? And does everyone presume that by November this pandemic will be over?

Date of next meeting: Monday 20 April (TBC), 10 pm UTC/GMT (consider DST)

The meeting ended at 10:05 pm