SRN Executive Minutes – June

Minutes — SRN EC Meeting

Monday 22.6.2020 at 10 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

  • a. All pending Action Points have been itemized in the agenda.
    Minutes approved.

3. Ratification of results of online voting to CTM/Resolution re: AGM and EC elections 2020 (PR, All)

Data collected shows 22 respondents, 100% of which in favour of Option 1 as per EC recommendation (i.e. both AGM and EC elections postponed to SRN2021 and mandate of current EC members extended by one year). The EC ratifies the result.

ACTION – PR to notify Membership within a few days via mailing list and Facebook.

4. Discussion re: institutional statement in light of recent events (Black Lives Matter, etc.) (All)

The EC has initiated discussion on this issue via email in the past few weeks. Today’s discussion focused on whether it is advisable, timely and necessary to issue a formal statement as SRN. A necessary premise is that the EC is (as defined in the Constitution) the body elected to make such decisions on behalf of the Association and in the interests of the Membership. The discussion continued to consider other statements issued by other institutions that have attracted some criticism. The EC agrees about the need to avoid sounding self-serving or making a statement
that simply joins the bandwagon.

It also needs to be clear that making a statement of social standing, while also a political act (in the civic sense of taking a stand), is not necessarily political in content. At the same time, deciding not to make a statement would itself amount to a political act. CSB shared memories of EC meetings in the first years of the SRN to point out that the opportunity of making such statements – about inclusivity, gender balance etc. – has been a sensitive topic since the inception of the Network so as to define its very nature.

RL added that it is also in the best interest of our members to stand up for scholars and screenwriters from underprivileged areas or other “problematic” regions. The EC also weighed pros and cons and whether making any statement could be a cause of concern for or make any Members uncomfortable. The EC carefully revised the wording of the current working draft of the statement and observes that only two short passages make reference to specific issues (e.g. racism, oppression) or express a judgment value on recent events (using the adjectives sad and contemptible) but they are not overtly political in their essence. The core message of the statement is, and has to be, that the SRN and the EC will continue the work initiated in the last year by increasing our efforts towards being more inclusive in line with the core aim of the association, which is to bring scholars together to exchange ideas (any ideas). This also reflects the feeling of countless members and conference delegates who over the years have expressed the sincere joy we all share in being an inclusive group.

ACTION – The EC approves the implementation of the slogan/banner suggested by RF “We Welcome All” on our website and other materials in future communications.

The EC also considers the timeliness of issuing a statement which should not necessarily depend on specific episodes happening in a given country, especially since issues such as racism are widespread and transcend national boundaries. At the same time, it is simply not realistic to release a statement every time any such episodes occur. It goes without saying, the EC is not so naïve as to believe one statement will end racism.

The EC also pointed out that even in case a formal statement was made by the EC on behalf of the SRN, any member agreeing with it would do so by expressing their own individual views, which
would not be representative of their respective affiliations, and that individual members will always be entitled to their own opinions regardless of any statement issued. Having said that, it is also important to point out that when members subscribe to the SRN they also subscribe to what the SRN stands for, as per the articles of the Constitution.

In light of the above, CSB suggests the following:

  •  The discussion and the decision about the statement will be adjourned to the next EC meeting in September. As this will be at a time when the Membership will be informed about the new
    Executive Council, the Annual Report, the Action Plan for next year and the introduction of the role of the Inclusivity Officer, it would be the best time to release the statement as drafted
    by PR, minor amendments pending and to be discussed and agreed upon, as part of our ongoing business rather than due to contingent events.
  • The themes of the upcoming conferences also show our work towards bridging rather than dividing. We will remind the Membership of those, without waiting for the Calls for Papers to be issued in the forthcoming years.
  • We will introduce the slogan mentioned above.

The EC seconds the suggestion.

ACTION – As per above at September 2020 EC meeting.

5. EC roles (All)

  • a. Rota for Chairperson, Secretary/Acting Chairperson following CSB standing down as of September 2020
    i. Updating profiles on website
    This is now the first point of order in the agenda for the September 2020 meeting of the EC. Based on the result of CTM, all current members of the EC will be in attendance for this, minus CSB as noted. However, CSB has given her conditional availability to stay in post, should the need raise.
    The entire EC expresses their gratitude to CBS for her wonderful leadership.
  • b. Membership Officer to become Membership and Inclusivity Officer
  • c. Call for Expressions of Interest in ECR post for 2020-21 (AK, All)
    The EC discussed the text of the current draft of the CfE; it is relevant to keep AK’s description (it gives a more real/personal feel of the role, rather than a utilitarian one). But the text can be streamlined a little and made more to the point.
    AK makes herself available to any potential nominees who would like an informal chat with the current ECR.
    ACTION – AK to revise her quotation. PR to finalize draft and issue Call to Membership by the end of June. Deadlines are fine as stated in draft.
    AK thanks the EC for the “amazing year”. PR asks the EC to include in the minutes that AK has done an amazing job in reviving and managing the network’s social media outlet; the EC thanks AK especially for all her contributions to our discussions!

6. Newsletter (MM, RW)

  • RW confirms the June issue is being finalized for publication in July. She suggests that a more flexible template could eventually be more useful in the future. CSB observes that this is fine as long as the Newsletter format as a whole maintains its typical brevity.

7. Website

  • a. Update on ongoing history(ies) of SRN (RF, CSB, RL)
  • b. Analytics/data
    RL reports that the data are the same as last sent. He is working on ways to convert data into useful strategies to recruit other people. So far he has tried to contact and attract new members from Paraguay and Argentina.
    RW suggests that, following RF’s work in the past months, we should be asking more peer reviewers to join.
    RF points out that it is important that invites are “personal” to make them more engaging.
    RF and RW also suggest more and better use of the information we collect on subscription form – e.g. welcoming new members on our social media. PR reminds the EC that this would be possible only if we get expressed permission from members due to Data Protection laws.
    AK also notes that data analysis on Facebook page show that posts dedicated to individuals evoke the least interest whereas book suggestions gain the most, as do Calls for Papers.

8. Social Media (AK, All)

  • a. Planning use of Facebook over Summer months
    AK provides a status update. Currently, the SRN has 1,200 followers on Facebook – i.e. double the
    Membership. AK will keep the Facebook page alive during the Summer months.
    ACTION – AK to draft summary of activity on Facebook for last year.

9. Planning EC Activities Report and Action Plan for next year (All)

  • a. Brainstorm items to include (in addition to AP from previous meetings)
  • b. Assign sections to draft by September
    ACTION – PR to draft Report and Plan over the Summer and share with EC members who will then
    add their own paragraph/information (e.g. data re: Membership, Website etc.). Ready to share with
    Membership in September.
  • c. Further discussion on short videos to report on achievement of last year and to lay out
    our vision for next year/rest of mandate
    Carried forward to September to be started in new academic year.

i. Updates (if any) from RF and CBS on contacting previous conference organizers for interviews
RF explains proposal of collating interviews for gaining histories of previous conference organizers. There will not be a specific time line for doing this, but we will kick it off ASAP in the forthcoming months.
CSB will host the pilot episode with the founders of the SRN, which will then work as a sample to share with Membership and future Interviewees for subsequent episodes.
RL offers to help with the technology during production of interviews.

10. Update on Membership (RF)

  • a. To be included in Annual report
    RF reports current membership standing at 604 members.
    ACTION – RF and PR to weed out a few duplicate records over Summer.

11. Any other business

PR is networking with Romanian National Film School about potential future collaborations.

Date of next meeting (after Summer break): Monday 7 September 2020 (TBC), 10 pm UTC/GMT
(consider DST)

Meeting ends at 23:32 UK time.