In the past few months most of us have been following news and developments of Black Lives Matter and the renewed discussion this has precipitated regarding – amongst other things –
the decolonisation of curricula, the dismantling of current systems of oppression within organizations and our responsibilities as scholars within our respective HEIs and countries
to keep looking inward and outward in order to enable individuals to take action, ensure positive change and, last but not least, remain accountable. Many of us have seen and received institutional statements against racism, discrimination and violence, some of which were very heartfelt, others more matter-of-factly or oddly worded. To the extent that, in some cases, they were seen as rather self-serving; others, paradoxically, led to vehement criticism of (in all likelihood unintended and yet telling) added insult to injury.
The SRN Executive Council has been paying close attention to the current situation and pondered whether we should issue our own formal statement as well. As we all reflect on many personal and much broader issues in these unprecedented trying times, we would like instead to reiterate two founding tenets of our Constitution that outline, amongst the principle aims of the SRN, “to promote policies which encourage full participation in screenwriting studies by all sections of society; and which address issues of gender and sexual orientation, ethnicity and disability” and “to establish, maintain links with, and encourage dialogue with similar Associations and other appropriate bodies, both nationally and internationally.”
First of all then, rather than simply showing off how good we are, we felt we wanted to renew our support to all colleagues who might be experiencing difficult work and/or life situations, wherever they are and for whatever reason.
When the C19 crisis is over and we are finally able to officially confirm SRN2021, the plan is to make our next Annual Conference into a champion of inclusivity: the theme is “Pushing boundaries” – let’s push them! The following year in Vienna, it will be about “Global” issues; in Missouri in 2023 the conference will tackle “Gender inequality”; and as for Rio de Janeiro in 2024 we’d like to borrow Stuart Hall’s words to consider “colonization as part of an essentially transnational and transcultural global process”. In other words, we have already set a four-year path that calls out to submit bold papers to advance and establish our field at the forefront of the challenges of our times.
What about now? In the last academic year, one of the long-term actions introduced and pursued by the Executive Council has been to reach out and encourage more and more active participation from members from so far underrepresented regions. This is an ongoing, systematic commitment, also reflected in the new role of Membership and Inclusion Officer (currently, Rose Ferrell). We invite all members to participate in and contribute to this effort: any suggestions to take down barriers and make our members feel “at home” and valued in the SRN will be most welcome.