SRN2021 Research Seminar Series Online

Dear SRN2021 Delegates and SRN Members,

Finally!

I am now able to announce the proposed format and dates for the SRN2021 Research Seminar Series Online (replacing the SRN2021 Annual Conference originally due to be hosted in Oxford). You will find all the facts and info here below: be prepared, it’s a long list with lots of bullet points (if more convenient you can find all the details in the enclosed PDF as well). It goes without saying, this is the initial plan with lots of TBCs and TBDs yet to be sorted out, and therefore things may still change.

 

FORMAT

–       [BEFORE] Papers: pre-recorded 15-minute presentations (to be made available in advance via the event website; so far we expecting as many as 90). Delegates are asked to watch as many as possible so as to enable lively discussions during the relevant live sessions.

–       [DURING] Live sessions (via Zoom, see dates below):

o   24x chaired Q&A panels (3-4 papers each): each speaker will be asked to give a 3-minute abstract of their respective pre-recorded paper presentations, followed by 30-35’ interactive discussion (chairs will be able to collect questions from all attendees – in person or via the chat boxes – during as well as before their live sessions).

o   2x Keynote speakers.

o   2x AGMs (includes EC elections): the same session run twice, to cover all time zones.

o   SRN Awards: prize winners announced by Jury + 2x winners’ 30-minute lectures.

o   2x Working Groups (TBC)

o   1 or 2 Round Tables (TBD)

o   1x Projects and Collaborations (TBD)

o   “Happy hours”: at the end of many live sessions attendees will be able to stay online for one more hour of networking, informal chatting, etc.

–       [AFTER] Bonus content (via Zoom, TBC):

o   Special guests (TBD)

o   1 or 2 “SRN in Conversation with…” (TBD)

o   SRN Early Career Researchers 2021 Symposium (November, TBC)

 

DATES

[BEFORE] Pre-recorded presentations

All shortlisted speakers will be asked to submit a pre-recorded 15-minute presentation of their paper in advance so as to give all delegates enough time to watch as many as possible before the scheduled live sessions. Please plan to record and submit your presentations according to the following rules of thumb:

–       Ideal world deadline for submission: ASAP in June/July. In other words, start now and submit as soon as you can.

–       Formal deadline: 31 July 2021, however…

–       “If-you-still-can’t-make-it” deadline: any time after that, in the awareness that the later you submit, the less time other delegates will have to watch it.

 

Guidelines for recording and submitting presentations:

–       File type for submission: MP4

–       Is there a maximum file size: no, but on average a 15-minute mp4 file tends to be 3-600 MB.

–       How do I submit my MP4 file? Hopefully, I will be able to set up a dedicated submission dropbox to share with everyone ASAP. Until then, a few options are:

o   Upload it to your GoogleDrive/OneDrive or similar, than share it with me, or

o   Upload it to DropBox and share it with me, or

o   Send it to me via WeTransfer

Pick anyone that you can use for free.

–       Maximum duration: 15 minutes. In my experience, slightly shorter pre-recorded presentation are much more effective than longer ones and consider the subsequent live session/Q&A an integral (if delayed) part of your presentation as well. As a rule of thumb, begin the recording by introducing your core research question briefly, avoid excessive contextualizing/framing, then argue your 3-4 main points concisely and leave the audience wanting for more during the live session (when you can have all your other notes at hand to complement your presentation).

–       What device should you use to record your presentation? Any – PC, Mac, tablet, phone, camera, webcam, Zoom recording (or similar), etc.

–       What format should your presentation be? Again, any, as long as it suits the presentation. Examples include but are not limited to:

o   You simply reading your paper to camera

o   A PowerPoint/Keynote presentation + you reading your paper as Voice Over

o   A PowerPoint/Keynote presentation + you reading your paper to camera in PiP in one corner of the screen

  • Note: if you use slides (in any app) summarize the main points of your arguments as opposed to cram them with long paragraphs pasted verbatim from your paper.

o   A video-essay (either formal, creative, performative)

o   A podcast-like presentation (audio only, no video)

o   A mix of the above

–       Can you embed clips/include citations in your presentations? Yes, you can, within “fair use” limits as you would normally do in an in-person paper presentation, as long as you cite sources correctly.

o   Try to limit the use of embedded clips anyway as they will eat away time from your 15-minute allocation. If available, it is best to provide links/references to freely available online resources that can be consulted by delegates when watching your presentations. Remember that delegates will watch presentations in asynchronous before the live sessions and therefore they are not bound to the 15-minute limit of the presentation itself.

 

[DURING] Live sessions

 

Five (5) dates for your calendar!

 

  • Monday 30 August
  • Friday 3 September
  • Wednesday 8 September
  • Monday 13 September
  • Friday 17 September

 

In the past year I have attended about 20 online conferences/festivals/events/seminar series trying to figure out what works best and what not. I can say, without a doubt, that:

–       Those who tried to simply transfer their original in-person conference schedule/format online failed regularly. It simply won’t work like that online.

–       Attending any online event for more than 3-4 hours straight is most counterproductive, let alone full-day sessions (I managed to attend one that started at 8.30 am and ended at 10 pm for three days – I will abstain from adding any comments).

–       Events that schedule several days in a row tend to see their audience wane exponentially the longer they went on.

–       On the other hand, events that scheduled sessions are regular intervals every few days over a few weeks (essentially turning into a “series” of dates) generally worked rather well.

 

So, on the five days listed above we will have:

–       All our papers Q&A sessions: these will all be one-hour slots – 50 mins. discussion + 10’ break (see above for some more details)

–       Keynotes, AGMs, Round Tables, SRN Awards: these will likely be 75-90 mins.

 

TIME ZONES

After much thinking, calculating, trialling and errors, I can confirm that we will follow two main criteria for scheduling our live sessions: 1) by time zone/geographic area, and 2) thematic grouping (based on papers’ keywords/content).

However, I have realized that the best way to proceed is to split our planet/time zones into 2 big regions rather than 3. This takes into account the fact that, although we do have speakers whose geolocation spans 20 time zones, the vast majority are still from Europe. Therefore, the following schedule will divide each Live Session Day into two slots of roughly 4 hours each:

 

US West US

East

South America Western Europe Central Europe & Africa Eastern Europe Middle East India Western Australia Japan & Central Australia Eastern Australia New Zealand
Slot 1 24-4 3-7 4-8 8-12 9-13 10-14 11-15 12.30-16.30 15-19 16-20 (+30’) 17-21 20-24
Slot 2 9-13 12-16 13-17 17-21 18-22 19-23 20-24 21.30-1.30 24-4 1-5 (+30’) 2-6 5-9

 

While it’s basically impossible to have colleagues from the Americas and from Asia-Pacific attending live simultaneously (unless they decide to burn the past-midnight oil), the above will allow for the largest and broadest possible audience: Slot 1 will be on in the morning (for Western and Central Europe), early afternoon (for Eastern Europe, Africa, Middle East and India), and in the late afternoon/evening (for Asia-Pacific countries); a 5-hour break will then be followed by Slot 2, which will allow attendance at decent hours for colleagues in the US (morning and early afternoon), in South America (late afternoon), in Europe and Africa (late afternoon/evening), as well as in the Middle and India (albeit in the late evening).

The AGM will be run in both slots so as to give everyone the same chance to attend and participate in the discussion and in the EC Elections.

By the way, as you know, you have time until Sunday 20 June 2021, 3 pm (UK time) to vote the motion to amend two articles of the SRN Constitution (see email sent out on 20th May) to enable hosting AGMs and EC elections virtually. You will receive plenty of details soon enough once the results are in, so I won’t add any here.

 

ZOOM AND RECORDINGS

In all likelihood, we’ll be using Zoom for our live sessions. As I will be setting up all sessions, I will be able to use my University’s license which grants unlimited use and allows for up to 1,000 participants in Meeting mode (the one with interactive audience, as opposed to the boring Webinar mode, where only hosts and speakers can be seen and heard).

I will then make all chairs and speakers co-hosts.

It doesn’t matter whether you or your university have a Zoom license: once you register for a session, you will receive a link to attend freely. You will be able to log in to Zoom either within your browser or you can download the Zoom app for free on any device.

We are also exploring the possibility of streaming the live sessions via YouTube and/or Facebook: this option won’t require prior registration and logging it to Zoom, but you may not be able to interact with the speakers and the other delegates (yes, I know, we can use the chat boxes on YouTube and Facebook as well, but that will depend on how many people will be on hand to help out in any given session – so let’s say we will follow up on this with more precise details in due course).

We will record all live sessions so as to make them available via the SRN2021 website to all those delegates and members who cannot attend live. However, we will likely require registration to access all recorded content.

 

[AFTER] Bonus content

 I am trying to organize a few extra events that will hopefully make SRN 2021 an even more lively and engaging event. I have contacted a few guests from the industry (writers, producers, a few policymakers) and am awaiting their responses regarding their availability to join us for some informal conversations and Q&A. If available, I will leave them the option to choose from either a live session or a pre-recorded one to be then shared with you. In any case, as a rule these extra sessions will be at later dates in September/October (unless their availability is limited to one of the dates above, in which case we might want to shuffle things around a bit).

The same goes for another possible type of extra session. As you will remember, a couple of months ago the Executive Committee launched the first of a series of recorded sessions titled “SRN in Conversation with…” past conference organizers with the aim of building a memory archive or our main events and activities of the past 15 years. We have more in the pipeline, and it might well be that one or two could be planned for the Autumn. In which case, again, we have a choice of pre-recording it, just like the first one, or going live and give access to all of you for more interactivity.

Finally, we also have one more event in store for you – likely to be in November 2021. The Early Career Researcher Symposium will be announced later in June (via a regular CfP) and will be organized by our ECR rep on the EC, Ann Igelström. Although the ECR Symposium will be a stand-alone event in its own right and with its own format, we can consider it as a great closing event to what is going to be a very exciting Autumn season despite having to postpone meeting in person for another year. All ECR will be eligible to submit a proposal for the Symposium, including those who will participate in the Seminar Series in September should they wish so. Stay tuned for more soon!

So… Is that all? Pretty much but not necessarily. If you have any further suggestions, just throw them our way and we can discuss whether they can make a good addition to this programme of online activities.

 

Help needed!

Many of you have already come forward to help out with the Seminar Series. Thank you ever so much to all of you and I will be contacting each one of you in the next few weeks: perhaps we can arrange a Zoom briefing session so we all get together and get an idea of what I might need from you apart from the usual chairing. Although, in principle, some help in coordinating by geographic area might be the main priority.

 

Website and registration

Most pages on what used to be the SRN2020 website are now disabled as I am redesigning it and repurposing it for the SRN2021 Seminar Series Online. The idea is to make the website the go-to navigation platform for the event, with lots of useful features, a repository for the pre-recorded presentations, links to everything (recordings and live sessions), guidelines, as well as a thematic map of the content shared by everyone. After all, our Annual conferences (and their current virtual replacement) are all about exchanging our research findings, networking, finding shared interests, etc. I will do my best to make sure that the website enables all this in the best possible way. I have also obtained some funds to purchase a Business WordPress domain which means all the event content will be available to registered delegates/members for the next two years at last, so the exchanges are not limited to the live interaction next September.

As soon as the website is ready, it will include instructions to register to attend the SRN2021 Research Seminar Series Online. Registration will be FREE but required as it will give us the chance to monitor and optimize access to all content and sessions, and avoid any uninvited guests (e.g. Zoom bombing and similar).

* * *

 

Quite a lot to digest already, but more (and more precise) information yet to come in the forthcoming weeks.

Any clarification needed, just give me a shout.

 

Take very good care of yourselves

Best

Paolo Russo BA PhD

Screenwriting Research Network Chairperson

 

A PDF version of this text can be accessed here.

Call to Membership – Motion to amend two articles of the SRN constitution

CALL TO MEMBERSHIP

20 May 2020

MOTION TO AMEND TWO ARTICLES OF THE SRN CONSTITUTION

(ACTION REQUIRED)

 

This Call to Membership (CTM) is posted to all SRN Members via the SRN mailing list and is available on the SRN Website as well. It aims to consult and call all Members to vote a proposed amendment to two articles of the SRN Constitution (available here): more specifically, articles 7.1 and 5.9 regarding, respectively, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and the Elections to the Executive Council (EC). These are minor amendments aimed at avoiding possible logjams in the future in case of force majeure. If the motion carries, these amendments will allow us to run AGMs and EC Elections via virtual means if necessary, including this year.

 

Members are invited to read the full details of the proposed amendments below and to cast their vote by clicking HERE by no later than Sunday 20 June 2021, 3 pm (UK time). As per SRN Constitution (10.2) all active members of at least one year’s standing are eligible to vote. 

Claus Tieber has been appointed by the EC as independent scrutineer. 

When voting, members can express one of the following preferences:

  1. Approve
  2. Object
  3. Abstain

IMPORTANT: Note that any members who wishes to abstain must formally express such preference on the ballot form; non-responses will be considered “silent consent”. 

The motion will carry (i.e. the amendments will be approved) if passed by no less than two thirds of the eligible members. The result will be ratified at the next meeting of the EC scheduled on Monday 21 June 2021. However, given the current extraordinary circumstances, if passed the motion will be subject to final confirmatory vote at the next AGM in presentia, to be held in Vienna in 2022.

 

PROPOSED AMENDMENTS

Key:

Blue – Excerpts from current Constitution

Red – Proposed amendments

 

AGM

7.1. There shall be a General Meeting of the membership held annually. This will be called by the Executive Council, which will give two months’ notice of the date and location of the AGM.

Suggested amendments:

7.1. There shall be a General Meeting of the membership held annually (Annual General Meeting, AGM). This will be called by the Executive Council, which will give two months’ notice of the date and location of the AGM. 

7.1a. The AGM will normally be held in person at a specified location (i.e. usually, the location of the Annual Conference).

7.1b. Where, due to force majeure, it is not possible or reasonable to hold the AGM in person at a specified physical location, it may exceptionally be held virtually (e.g. through video-conferencing) albeit with analogous procedures provided that reasonable steps are taken to ensure the broadest participation possible.

EC ELECTIONS

5.9. Elections to the Executive Council will be conducted by secret ballot, by means appropriate to an international Association (e.g. by postal ballot with proof of membership, added to votes received at an AGM etc.). 

Suggested amendments:

5.9. Elections to the Executive Council will be conducted by secret ballot, by means appropriate to an international Association: these may include votes received at an AGM as well as postal ballot, e-mail, e-messages, web-based survey tools and other means with proof of membership, provided that appropriate anonymity arrangements are in place.

 

* * *

 

With very best wishes

 

SRN Executive Council

SRN Executive Minutes – April 2021

Minutes of SRN EC Meeting

Monday 19.4.2021 at 10 pm BST/GMT/UTC+1 (via Zoom)

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

Agenda

  • Apologies for absence

MM

  • Minutes of previous EC Meeting for approval

All pending Action Points have been itemized below in the agenda.  

The minutes are approved by the EC as accurate. RL will upload on the website to make them available to the Membership as per usual.

  • Update on SRN2021 conference (PR, All)

PR submits a memo to the EC for approval, outlining pros and cons considering all information available at present. The main unresolved issues are: in-person events will still require safety measures in place (face covering, social distancing etc.) and restrictions (even extreme ones such as total travel bans) will be in place for incoming visitors to the UK. In short, IF all goes well the UK should lift restrictions and allow public events by the end of June 2021, but with quarantine and testing protocols in place. However, the above still does not take into account situations in all the delegates’ countries. Finally, academic travel and insurance will likely not allow members to participate.

The EC agrees unanimously that the conditions to run the SRN2021 Conference safely in presentia in Oxford are not met and therefore it will be cancelled and replaced by an alternative online event.

Re: the suggested online alternative event, PR confirms that: 1) The School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University will fund the keynote speakers, the SRN Awards money prizes, and the event’s website subscription for two more years; 2) The two keynote speakers (i.e. Murray Smith and Elizabeth Kilgarriff) have confirmed their availability, regardless of the event format. 

PR and AI have met to discuss the inclusion of a proposed Early Career Researchers event as part of the SRN2021 online event as well.

PR suggests splitting up the planning of the event sessions based on geographic regions/time zones, scheduling one or two days every few weeks in September/October/November. There could be an opening day for plenaries (e.g. keynotes) and a closing day at the end for the Awards and the AGM.  PR is also in talks with more special guests from the industry (TBC).  

All presentations can/should be pre-recorded and circulated via the SRN YouTube Channel before the event in preparation for the relevant Q&A sessions to be run live via Zoom. Both the pre-recorded presentations and the recordings of all live sessions will remain accessible after the event for further access and research.

RF notes that it would be exciting to bring in practitioners to enhance the online experience. 

PR points out that the EC will have to discuss an amendment to the SRN Constitution to allow the running of the AGM online as well as an alternative protocol for the EC elections. Such amendment will have to get Membership approval and formally confirmed/voted/seconded at the next in-person AGM in Vienna in 2022.

ACTION: EC to discuss amendment to SRN Constitution in May 2021 meeting.

ACTION: PR will email Membership tomorrow re: SRN2021 cancellation. RL to post announcement on the website and AI to post on Facebook page. 

ACTION:  PR to draft memo for alternative online event in forthcoming weeks.

PR also reports back from a meeting he had with the SRN Award Jury members recently. The Jurors agreed to hold the Awards this year even in case SRN2021 will have to switch to an online alternative event, also to avoid having 3 years’ worth of nominations in 2021. Janet Staiger also suggested (seconded by the other Jurors as well) that the Jury should inform the EC and the winners in advance (likely by August 2021), so that the Awards can be turned into mini event with the two winners giving short lectures about the underpinning research of their publications. The EC approves and commends the suggestion.

PR also met online with Claus Tieber re: SRN2022 Vienna to be announced during the online alternative event this coming autumn. The SRN2022 Conference will take place at the University of Vienna, Austria, on 29th-30th September and 1st of October, 2022.

The option of pushing/rescuing Oxford as a conference host city in 2025 will be discussed next academic year.

  • Other updates:

  • Social media

AI sums up upcoming scheduled Facebook posts: Cancellation of SRN2021, ECR event once planned, a reminder of the SRN Awards deadline at end of May, a scholarships as per email received from Craig Batty. 

  • Website

RL confirms that the formal renewal process of the website hosting by the University of Leeds is underway although not complete yet. 

RL also reports stats re: users’ access to the website. UK, US, China and Australia top the stat, with  Sunday mornings being the busiest. 

PR proposed to hold off updating/revamping of the website once renewal of host is finalized and once the more urgent matters re: the AGM, the EC elections and the SRN2021 online event are dealt with.

  • Newsletter

MM informed PR that she has sent out a final reminder and that a few pieces are for the upcoming issue. The next issue will include updated info on SRN2021.  

  • Any other business

 

RF suggests implementing the use of a new membership online form. RL is available to create it.

RF updates the EC on the “We Welcome All” banner. RL confirm we will have to wait completion of the website host renewal from University of Leeds first as we need to find out which application they prefer us to use for it.

 

Date of next meeting: Monday 17 May 2021, 10 pm BST/GMT/UTC+1 (consider DST; refer to shared DOC for each country’s time zone)

SRN2021 MEMO AND STATUS UPDATE 

FAO of the SRN Executive Council 

CURRENT SITUATION (up to date as of 19 April 2021) 

At the moment, in the UK we are riding out of the third wave of pandemic, which seems to be  subsiding quite substantially, with numbers down to 1500-2000/day, although now that some  restrictions have been lifted these are predicted to rise again in the forthcoming weeks. 

Last week saw the enforcement of Step 2 of the so-called Roadmap out of lockdown, which can  be summed up as per below: 

  • Only outdoor activities/hospitality venues/attractions have re-opened 
  • Working from home whenever possible still apply 
  • No accommodation (e.g. hotels) 
  • No catering services indoors 
  • No unnecessary travelling 
  • Universities have re-opened with limited activities (i.e. practice-based) and capacity Gathering: 

o No indoor gatherings (fines of up to £10,000) 

o Only family/friends up to 6 outdoors 

  • Usual guidelines still apply:  

o 2-metre social distancing 

o Face covering 

o Sanitising hands 

However, the situation worldwide is still quite challenging. 

In countries like Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Finland and Denmark, it seems to be fairly  under control as it’s been for most of the past year. 

There seems to be much improvement in other countries such as, for instance, Spain and Portugal. But it remains tough in the US and in most other European countries; and it is still dire in South America and quite a few other countries such as India (not all countries in the map supply up-to date data). 

As known, the rollout of vaccination programmes has been seriously delayed in many countries and even implemented in different ways: for example, in the UK about 50% of the population has  now received their first dose of the vaccine, but only about 15% have received the second dose as  well. Comparing current data from the WHO, Johns Hopkins University, and BBC, very few of  our delegates’ countries – e.g. the U.S., Chile, and the UAE – are doing fairly well with 23-29% of  the population now fully vaccinated; most others (especially in Europe and South America, where  80% of our delegates come from) are lagging much behind (2-9% on average). The most optimistic  predictions seem to converge towards the late Autumn/early Winter for vaccination programmes  to reach significant results both on a local and global scale. 

Travelling to England from outside the UK 

While several countries are beginning the rush to open their doors to tourists, at the moment the  “real” situation is as follows: 

  • Travel ban/no entry to the UK from countries on “red list” (i.e. the whole of South  America, all countries in the Southern half of Africa, a few Asian countries, with India likely  to be added soon as well) 

o At the moment, this involves at least 13-15 delegates 

  • Passengers from ALL other countries are subject to mandatory test-and-quarantine rules (i.e. applies to ALL other non-UK resident delegates): 

o Before you leave for the UK: 

Take a Covid-19 test and get a negative result during the 3 days before you  travel 

Book a test-and-quarantine package (£1750 per person), which includes: Accommodation in a managed quarantine hotel (if you do not have  private accommodation)

o Throughout the whole duration of your quarantine, you  

CANNOT leave your hotel room 

  • Two Covid-19 tests to be taken during quarantine 

o If you test positive, you will have to stay longer 

Complete the online passenger locator form (within 48 hours of departure) o On arrival in the UK: 

Provide proof of a negative coronavirus test (only accepted in either English,  French or Spanish) taken in your country 

Quarantine/self-isolate for 10 days, either:  

  • In private accommodation (if you have one), or 
  • In a managed quarantine hotel 

Take TWO Covid-19 tests on days 2 and 8 of quarantine (as per your booking) 

  • You can book and take an “early” test (called Test and release) to  

end quarantining on Day 5, at extra cost (£220; rumoured to be reduced to £55 in the near future) via private providers 

  • Infringement of any of the above is considered a serious criminal offense and carries fines  of up to £10,000 and imprisonment for up to 10 years  
  • Upon returning to your country: 

o Most countries have enforced their own test-and-quarantine rules, which might  apply when returning home in some cases 

EXPECTED CHANGES IN MAY/JUNE 

Step 3 of Roadmap out of lockdown (not before 17 May) 

  • Outdoor gathering and events of up to 30 people 
  • Events with up to 30 (does not specify whether indoor events are allowed; and if  conferences are included in this category that so far includes weddings, funerals and  similar) 
  • Indoor hospitality re-opens (e.g. hotels) 

Travelling to England from outside the UK 

  • Rules will most likely switch to a “traffic light system”: 

o Green: free entry/no restrictions subject to negative pre-departure test and  subsequent negative PCR test (i.e. a swab of your mouth and nose) on Day 2 of  your stay in the UK 

At the moment, only a handful of countries are predicted to be given green  status – as concerns our delegates, these will include only USA and Portugal o Amber: equivalent to current test-and-quarantine system 

Most of our delegates’ other countries will be “amber”  

o Red: equivalent to current “red list”, i.e. total ban/no entry 

  • In short, not much will actually change compared to the current situation Step 4 of Roadmap out of lockdown (not before 21 June)
  • Plans to reopen all activities and events (including indoors) 
  • Travel traffic light system to be reviewed on 28 June and 31 July; while many hope this will  mean even fewer restrictions, in fact predictions are for numbers to get worse in the weeks/months following re-opening of international travel and therefore said periodic  reviews could end up tightening restrictions instead
  • Full review of restrictions/guidance (including how long social distancing and face masks will  remain in place) 

BUT 

  • No specific dates are mentioned regarding the latter 
  • All the above depends on the outcome of “a scientific Events Research Programme to test  the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer, where we will trial the  use of testing and other techniques to cut the risk of infection” (source: UK.gov, no further  details available so far) 
  • All the above applies to the UK population, on the assumption that most will be vaccinated  by the Summer 

o Visitors from abroad attending events will still be subject to the traffic light system,  and therefore test-and-quarantine where applicable unless restrictions are changed/lifted in June-July 

CONCLUSIONS 

To sum up, in the most optimistic scenario: 

  • If all the above goes according to plan, and 
  • If no new waves occur and/or no new variants emerge 

It might be possible for IRL events such as SRN2021 to be “legally” allowed from July onwards. 

A meeting with the Events Team at the conference venue (i.e. the Mathematical Institute) was held  to assess all the above and viability of the conference based on available information and on the  participation of many delegates from outside the UK. 

In practical terms the most likely scenario in case we ran SRN2021 as normal, is as follows: 

  • Social distancing and face covering rules will still apply indoors at the venue and during the  conference, regardless of whether new regulations will allow for some more flexibility Social distancing rules will mean severely reduced maximum room capacity. More  specifically: 

o Main Lecture Theatre (used for plenaries and panels): from 250 to 55 

o Other seminar rooms (used for panels): from 40 to 12-15 

  • In turn, this means having to reduce the maximum number of delegates to 55 However, the cost of hiring the venue will remain the same and therefore registration fees  are bound to be substantially higher than expected 
  • Only formal sessions possible: no additional social/networking activities can be planned Catering: 

o At the moment the venue’s supplier cannot guarantee service for large numbers o Assuming catering can be supplied, it will likely be in the form of individual pre packed parcels to be consumed and cost more 

o Regardless of the above, at the moment the caterer is unable to provide a quote

  • A hybrid solution is not financially viable: the venue does not have in-house capability for  that and will have to hire an external company to handle the setup and live streaming – daily costs are from £1200+VAT and would add to existing running costs 

The above considers the situation in situ in Oxford. Unfortunately, we still need to factor in a few  more issues for delegates, especially those coming from abroad. 

  • While this might change in the forthcoming months, as things stand now most international  delegates will very likely have to follow test-and-quarantine rules, with all the extra time  and cost that this entail. Luckier delegates coming from “green-listed” countries will still  have to take tests and if positive will have to quarantine as well. 
  • Virtually all universities in all countries currently enforce a ban on international travel that  is likely to last till the end of the academic year – i.e. until August-October in the Northern Hemisphere, but until the end of 2021 in the Southern Hemisphere. 
  • Linked to the above is the freeze on funding for international travel. Budgets for this work  according to deadlines of the academic year and therefore for most delegates this means  funding won’t be available before September/Autumn in the most optimistic scenario. 
  • Also linked to the above ban, is travel and health insurance. Most delegates work for  academic institutions and when they travel to attend conferences overseas they are  covered by their work insurance. Until universities’ travel bans last, this means insurance  cover is void if delegates decide to travel and attend the conference anyway and therefore  they will have to purchase cover out of their pocket. 

In light of the above, I conclude that, unfortunately, the conditions to run/host SRN2021 in Oxford  safely as per plan are not met and, therefore, for the 2021 Annual Conference to be cancelled and  be replaced by an “alternative online event” TBD ASAP as per discussions so far. To this purpose,  pending the SRN Executive Council’s approval in today’s monthly meeting:  

  1. I will announce the decision to the Membership on Tuesday 20 April;  
  2. I will outline an “alternative online event” format to be presented to the Membership,  possibly by the end of April – this will include alternative format(s) for paper panels and  Q&As, keynote speakers and guests (where available and confirmed), virtual AGM, EC  Elections and SRN Awards and will take into account time zones and limitations and/or  advantages of available platforms (e.g. Zoom).  

On a final, positive note, I can confirm that the School of Arts at Oxford Brookes University is still  willing to provide minimum financial support (roughly £1300) to cover the cost of keynote  speakers’ fees, SRN Awards and website subscription/hosting. 

19 April 2021 

PAOLO RUSSO 

SRN2021 Conference Director

SRN Executive Minutes – March 2021

Minutes of SRN EC Meeting

Monday 22.3.2021 at 9 pm BST/GMT/UTC+1 (via Zoom)

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

 

Minutes

 

1. Apologies for absence 

RF  

2. Minutes of previous EC Meeting for approval

All pending Action Points have been itemized below in the agenda.

The minutes are approved by the EC as accurate.

3. Update on Newsletter (MM)

MM will post call for April issue after Easter – considering new theme – e.g. sharing online teaching ideas/experiences, having to work around unexpected issues such giving instructions to students online and leaving questions of how to create group identity. Plus updates re: EC activities, conference etc. 

The introduction of non-English languages worked well, was easy to implement and coordinate and therefore should be continued, whereas the theme could change.

The Newsletter can also include an update re: the SRN Awards

ACTION: PR to meet jurors next week for an update.

ACTION: MM to prep call for Easter issue.

4. Social Media 

4.1Update on Facebook posts

AI confirms regular posting and scheduling new posts.

4.2 Launch SRN Conversations

CSB reports back: 4 guests (i.e. the first 4 SRN Conference organizers). Mood was friendly and the level of the conversation was quite high. Each gave thoughts about organizing conferences and the interchange was so lively that the hour went by quickly. The EC will continue to plan more Conversations, and the format may vary (e.g. Q&A, virtual round table), also based on reactions from Members.

RL has already edited and posted the video on the YouTube channel.  

ACTION: PR to email announcement to Membership and AI to follow up with FB post by end of the week.

RL reminds the EC that the guests also sent in photos of the conferences. RL has created a photo album via Google photo, where we can keep collecting more with a view to creating a photo archive in the near future to share with Members. PR observes a photo archive will add to the historiography of the SRN and it’s best to start archiving materials now before they disappear in future years.

PR reminds that we will need to allow Members to take down photos of themselves should they not wish them to be publicly available online.  

5. Update on SRN2021 conference

PR reports back re: Zoom meeting he had recently Events team at the Conference venue to discuss current and future status in terms of feasibility. Some good news/some bad.  The spaces remain available and there is no need to put down a deposit until we can confirm an IRL conference will take place, which buys time and reduces risk of losing funding. 

The Venue has hosted no events since the pandemic broke out and all other events that were scheduled in 2021 have cancelled and moved online. 

In terms of Covid restrictions, in UK these are expected to be lifted by the end of June but there is talks that face coverings and social distancing could be enforced for up to 2 years and this needs to be accounted for: it means the main lecture theatres’ capacity will be reduced to 35-55 each (instead of 250). At present, we have no guarantee that catering can be supplied. The hospitality industry was hit the worst and contractors’ staff have been furloughed: they don’t know if and when they will be back in business. If catering is supplied, the most likely option will be pre-packaged lunches consumed with social distance in place, and it will cost more. 

As concerns delegates who must travel from outside the UK one needs to consider possible rules re: enforcing vaccine passports, the fact that in many countries the roll-out of vaccines is still very slow, and that in many countries universities are not awarding any travel funds to attend conference – which also implies possible insurance issues.

PR has discussed the option of running a hybrid conference with the Events Team: unfortunately, the venue does not have in-house capacity for that and therefore this would mean having hire an outside company: quotes for this begin at around £1300/day +VAT. These costs would add to the registration fees. 

If, eventually, we will have to switch to a fully online event, the sheer number of delegates from as many as 19 different time zones means that, very likely, sessions will have to be organized by geographic regions. One solution to this is to use an online format featuring regular weekly events rather than concentrate all in a few days which would imply several logistical problems. 

Some Members/delegates have come forward to offer to help arrange from around the world. 

CSB observes that Covid has forced us to be creative and therefore running SRN2021 as series of seminars (or study days) could be a useful experiment for any future situations that would allow SRN Members to keep gathering at least online. I’ve been in a few such seminars over the last year and it worked. Both CSB and RW note that their experience of attending similar online events in the past year has been generally positive.

PR points out that if we decide to proceed with the switchover to the different type of event – regular seminar series instead of one-off conference – the format will need some thinking too as some sessions could go live but many will need pre-recording with live discussion.

ACTION – PR to draft memo of potential new format for discussion at April’s EC meeting.

Should SRN2021 become an online event, the EC will have to discuss a viable way of holding this year’s AGM and Elections and whether this require any change the SRN Constitution and, if so, how these can be executed. RL suggests proposing the AGM online option to the Membership and an online vote for any changes to the Constitution which would allow us to run this year’s activities; all changes would then have to be confirmed for good by the in-person AGM at the 2022 conference in Vienna. Likewise, the EC elections could be hold as a combination of postal voting (via email) and in-person voting during the online AGM: also, voting by proxy could be considered.

PR adds that the online AGM could be split into two sessions based on time zones so it could be run live for all Members: the later session would repeat the main reporting in the exact same way. The EC will also have to figure out the appropriate protocol and an impartial Election officer to run these.

ACTION – EC to discuss alternative AGM, EC Elections and changes to Constitution by May, once SRN2021 format is confirmed.

RW notes that, should SRN2021 be turned into an online event, this would still require a lot of effort in terms of organization and running, but it would not be fair to consider SRN2021 as based in Oxford anymore. As a result of this, RW suggests that Oxford as a conference location be rescued and pushed to the end of the current queue (i.e. Vienna, Missouri, Brazil) in 2025. PR appreciates the suggestions and replies that it could be decided by the EC (minus PR) but TBC after the Vienna conference, by 2023 based on situation and funding at that later time.

ACTION – EC to discuss and approve Oxford 2025 if/once SRN2021 moved to online event.

6. Website: update on renewal from Leeds

RL reports good news that the School of Communication at the University of Leeds has finally agreed to renew the hosting of the SRN website for 5 more years, starting in August 2021 up and until July 2026. The School will also cover the related cost. 

RL will liaise with Leeds’ IT team to assess feasibility of revamping the website design. 

ACTION – RL and PR to run website audit to identify all needed changes/upgrades.

7. Membership

7.1 New form to collect missing members’ info

Item adjourned to April’s meeting but RL suggests use of Google Form templates to capture all the info instead of current form as it allows quick analysis of data.

8. Any other business

There were no other business.

 

Date of next meeting: Monday 19 April 2021, 10 pm BST/UTC/GMT (consider DST; refer to shared DOC for each country’s time zone)

SRN Conversations World Premiere

First episode of the new series – SRN Conversations: Memories from SRN Conferences (2008-11)

with

  • Ian W. Macdonald
  • Eva Novrup Redvall
  • Kirsi Rinne
  • Ronald Geertz
  • and Carmen Sofia Brenes as Moderator

    remembering the origins of SRN and the first conferences.

    Follow us on Facebook (@screenwritingnetwork) and Twitter (@SRNConference)

SRN Executive Minutes – February

Minutes of SRN EC Meeting
held on Monday 15.2.2021 at 9 pm BST/GMT/UTC+1 (via Zoom)

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

MINUTES

1. Apologies for absence

MM

2. Minutes of previous EC Meeting for approval

All pending Action Points have been itemized in the agenda.

Approved by all present

3. Website

Renewal of website host

RL confirmed Leeds University is willing to renew. Professor Claudia Sternberg will serve as liaison with the Admin Team at Leeds to cover fee (£ 100 a year) via her department budget. Ian MacDonald will manage contracts. RL will liaise with the IT team at Leeds to double check specs for the website.

PR remarks need to wait admin paperwork is finalized before discharging the issue, although this now looks like a favourable outcome.

RF informs the EC that she too had tried to liaise with contacts at Edith Cowan University who she thought might be interested. Although no reply was received, this could be an option to keep in mind for any future renewals.

Update on Call for translations for new slogan

RF has sent images of the banner with the “We Welcome All.” slogan. She asks whether each language should include the English translation. PR replies there is no need for it because the placement of the banner on the website will make the meaning self-evident.

RF asks RL how the animation of dissolving text can be made. RL suggests the easiest way will be to use a plug in. But Leeds may not allow even free plug-ins due to tech limitations of their web design.

ACTION POINT: RL to liaise with Leeds IT team to figure out the best way to update the banner. Then, RL to inform RF on how to proceed.

ACTION POINT: EC Members to review banner and offer suggestions to RF.

4. Membership update (RF)

RF informs that since the Porto conference (Sep 2019) 160 new members have joined the SRN, while 38 left the Network.

RF points out that some members, though, have simply changed email address and re-joined.

5. Newsletter (MM)

Adjourned to March meeting.

ACTION POINT: PR to contact MM to check whether an extension is needed for the forthcoming issue.

6. Social Media

AI reports recent post re: article by Sengupta on Hinduphobia.

PR relays two requests received from Members.

AI will post an obituary on Jean-Claude Carriere, who was one of the keynote speakers at the Brussels conference in 2011.

Another post will regard the Global Film Industry call for submissions to form writers’ networking groups.

AI informs of intention to post a Call for Abstracts reserved to Early Career Researchers to participate in an ad-hoc symposium (to be held locally or online via Zoom) in line with similar events organized by previous ECTs. The event would give a chance to Early Researchers to practice their presentation skills and to be heard by more experienced members of the SRN.

The EC agrees this is a commendable initiative and PR suggests the previous ECRs can share their experience with AI.

RF notes that even small symposia take a lot of work to organize, and shares news of event held at her university where ECRs did 3-minute presentations, followed by a 10-minute Q&A panel.

RL too shares a similar event he organized at his university: 4-minute pitches to a panel followed by a 4-minute feedback session.

PR notes that AI can of course consider various presentation formats – e.g. pecha-kucha (20x20x400”), traditional papers, posters, etc.

CSB suggests asking senior researchers to attend a few presentations so as to act as informal mentors. It is important to create connections with members who will represent the future of the SRN.

PR agrees that senior academics’ generosity should benefit younger ECRs, as it has always been encouraged within the SRN.

ACTION POINT – AI to keep EC updated on any development.

SRN history Zoom talks

RF has got very positive response from Ian, Eva, and Ronald about participating. In terms of format, there will be a lot of ground to cover, and therefore it would be good for this first event to be more “general”

RL notes that recording Zoom sessions looks best with 4 people on screen at any given time. The suggestion is to change the settings of the Zoom sessions so as to show the 4 guests on the screen. The host and any other attendees can add questions via the chat box. We can then assess whether this approach works and decide whether in the second event we should try a straight interview approach instead, with one organizer at a time.

PR reminds of the need to accommodate the time of the event around the various time zones of all guests and of CSB, who will be hosting the first session.

Action Point – RF to liaise with guests to confirm a date/time and coordinate organization with CSB, RL and PR. RL to help out re: tech support before/during event. PR to arrange recording via Zoom.

Update on SRN2021 conference

PR will send update to Membership within a few days. At present, there are three possible scenarios: 1) In person, 2) hybrid, 3) entirely virtual.

Current situation in UK: lockdown still enforced for several more weeks, although a review of the restrictions is expected on 22 February. This should lead to a gradual reopening of university campuses starting on 8 March. However, some restrictions may remain in place for a much longer time: e.g. a physical conference will likely still require social distancing (which implies a significantly reduced capacity of any venue) and wearing masks/face covering. Can a conference be run that way?

Furthermore: currently there is a travel ban (blacklist) from as many as 33 countries (most of South America and Africa) with at least 15 delegates coming from those areas. Travelling from all other countries is subject to strict restrictions: i.e. testing (in country of origin within 3 days of arrival, plus mandatory tests in the UK on day 3 and 8 after arrival) and 10-day quarantine with friends OR in approved hotels that come at a high cost for travellers.
Vaccines are being rolled out effectively in the UK, expecting most of the population to have been vaccinated by May/June. But the situation is dire in most other countries.

All of the above shows that it is necessary to develop plans B and C (i.e. hybrid and/or virtual).

Should the in-person option no longer be viable, PR notes that the main issue to deal with will be the 19 time zones that delegates come from. PR suggests alternative format for online conference by splitting delegates by geographic regions based on time zones: three may suffice (i.e. Americas, Europe/Africa/Middle East, and Asia Pacific). In this case, though, it could not be considered an “Oxford” conference anymore. CSB observes that it could still be if the organization comes from Oxford. But PR remarks how a global/online option will have to be arranged regionally and he will need several members to help in the organization and in the actual running of each satellite event.

Should this option be pursued, each regional leg of the conference can be run live, but all sessions will be recorded and made available online for all other members to watch offline.

RF asks when a decision will be made in case the idea of keeping the conference in Oxford has to be dropped. PR reply he hopes to make a decision by around Easter.

ACTION POINT – PR to send update on alternative scenarios to Membership.

With regards to AI’s plan to organize an event for ECRs, PR suggests finding ways to link it somehow to the Annual Conference (although not necessarily on the same dates) so as to avoid “marginalizing” it as a minor event.
Any other business
There was no other business.

Date of next meeting: Monday 22 March 2021, 9 pm BST/UTC/GMT (consider DST; refer to shared DOC for each country’s time zone)

SRN Executive Minutes – January 2021

SRN EC Meeting

Monday 18.1.2021 at 9 pm BST/GMT/UTC+1 (via Zoom)

MINUTES

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

 

Agenda

  • Apologies for absence

RL, MM

 

  • Minutes of previous EC Meeting for approval

All pending Action Points have been itemized below in the agenda.

The EC approves the minutes which will be uploaded to the website.

 

  • Website

  • Update on Call for Hosts (RL)

RL will repost the Call – deadline 31 January. Any received bids will be considered at the EC February meeting.

  • Update on design of and Call for translations for new slogan (RF, RL)

RF is drafting text and design of Call for translations to post on FB and JISCmail.

PR suggests to post the call the week after the Call for Hosts (website) is issued.

  • Newsletter (MM, RW)

RW reports that from now on MM alone will be in charge of the Newsletter so that RW can focus on Secretary duties. All appreciated the December end-of-year issue idea. The plan is to have 4 issue per year – one per season, likely in March, June, September, December.

RF observes that the Newsletter in different languages was a wonderful welcoming idea and the more of that we can do the better.

 

  • YouTube channel

PR asks whether RL will be the next to record a message: this could be about the renewal of the website.

RW asks whether the Channel could/should be used for posting lectures by members. PR observes this should be discussed at next AGN to see if the members agree: if that were to be the case, the EC will need a plan for how to upload – and how often. Meanwhile, it is good to stimulate more posts on Facebook.

  • Social Media 

  • Update on Facebook posts (AI)

Upcoming posts include the EC Minutes, the Welcome slogan translation request, the website Call for Hosts reminder, a reminder to submit nominations for the SRN Award, research-archive post.

AI is thinking about posting about small conferences and organizing a small event for early researchers.  

Also, the outreach has been good with the FB posts on publications by members. The latter this have been so many this last year that it will be difficult to award the prize at this year’s conference.

ACTION – Include update on early researcher symposium when ready.

  • Update on SRN2021 conference

  • Responses to December survey so far (PR)

PR shares data/stats of responses to survey, which is generally positive and shows most delegates are still hopeful and willing to participate in some form. The purpose of the survey was to make sure there was a quorum of members still planning to attend. If too few had said yes we would have had no reason to plan further. This is not the case.

The current lockdown in the UK could be lifted by the end of March and the mass vaccination program being rolled out will help to improve the situation in forthcoming months. However, uncertainties remain – e.g. will social distancing still be in place? If so, the capacity of the biggest lecture theatre at the conference venue (normally 250) would be capped to 50 people. This means that even if attendees are willing to travel it might be difficult to actually congregate.

RW asks when a decision can realistically be made. PR figures/hopes by end of March/early April.  Trends and forecasts seem to show the worst of the current 3rd wave should occur this coming month, then wane and, thanks to vaccination, finally abate. By Easter almost half of UK should have been vaccinated. But then we need to factor in the situation in other countries the delegates come from. Will there still be travel bans? What about budgets for travel from universities? Will the UK require vaccination proof to allowing in travellers?

RW asks whether the necessary information can be broken down by countries? PR confirms he should be able to do so but it’s not going to be easy to collate or find a common solution. 

ACTION – PR to respond individually to all 100 delegates who responded to survey. 

RW asks whether PR will incur in a monetary loss in case he had to cancel the venue. PR reassures that the venue (i.e. the Mathematical Institute) took the reservation with no deposit needed upfront last Autumn. This means there won’t be any financial risks at least until the Spring when a contract will have to be signed if the conference goes through. 

PR reminds the EC that he is still pursuing the option of bringing the conference back to Oxford Brookes because if that was viable we would have more rooms at our disposal, which may allow to deal with social distancing more easily.

CSB asks about the virtual conference option? PR reports that 77% of delegates responded they would attend if the conference were to switch to a virtual platform. This scenario could include a hybrid format TBD and we would have to organize the technology around such an event.

However, PR points out a large number of practical issues that makes this option not easy to adopt: how do run parallel sessions online, live or recorded, with delegates from 19 time zones? Should we pre-record in some geographic zones and go live in others? And what happens to the AGN for the full membership?  

RW asks whether delegates were asked about need for travel funds? PR reports that many responded they would attend anyway.

PR puts to the EC whether a new Call for Papers should be issued. RF remarks that, rather than getting up hopes, it might be better to wait until we know when/how the conference will be held. If by April we are in a clearer place and a more realistic number can be assessed, we can still post a late Call for Papers. Therefore no action required here at present.

ACTION – PR to email update to Membership in early February.

 

  • Any other business

CSB notes that when members change universities their email addresses change too and they cease to receive emails. They should be reminded to connect with the Membership officer to change their addresses. 

PR reminds EC that there will be a Membership update at the February meeting at which point we could issue such a reminder to the Membership.

 

Date of next meeting: Monday 15, 2021 TBD, 9pm BST/UTC/GMT (consider DST; refer to shared DOC for each country’s time zone)

Announcing Issue 11.3 of the Journal of Screenwriting, focusing on Women in Screenwriting

This video announces the publication of a special issue of the Journal of Screenwriting focused on “Women in Screenwriting” co-edited by Rosanne Welch, SRN Secretary, and Rose Ferrell, SRN Membership Officer. While focusing on female screenwriters Issue 11.3 seeks to be as international as possible including articles covering five continents including countries: Japan, China, Syria, Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Zimbabwe and Canada.