SRN Executive Minutes – November

Monday 16.11.2020 at 9 pm BST/GMT/UTC+1 (via Skype)

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

 

1. Apologies for absence 

CSB

 

2. Minutes of previous EC Meeting for approval

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

The minutes are approved without changes.

 

3. Newsletter

    1. Update re: latest issue (MM)

MM has received some responses on international meetings held this year in own language. Will have pieces from RL, RW, Claus Tieber, Paul Wells. MM to connect with previous ECR rep John Finnegan re: an event he planned/attended – and also looking to connect with Maxine Gee to see what her news is.

RW mentions three book publications to be noted in the Newsletter.

MM asks whether we shall remind people about the deadline for SRN Awards. PR has recently been in touch with the jurists for an update.

ACTION – PR to liaise with RL to update info on the SRN Website.

ACTION – PR to write a short update for the next Newsletter issue. 

MM suggests coverage of publication of the Special Issue of Jos? All agreed.

PR observes the latest Newsletter issue looks a positively dense, end-of-year issue.

 

4. Website

PR reports a request to mention members’ publications on the website but points out that the website as an institutional platform should be about achievements of the SRN as  a whole rather than individual members. The latter are best publicized via the Newsletter, JISCmail list and Facebook page.

All EC members in agreement.

Re: the future hosting plans for the website, PR reports back about his chat with Ian Macdonald re: the current situation at Leeds University: the new faculty members might no longer be fully invested/interested in continuing to host but Ian will ask formally by December. The EC will await response from Leeds on this before circulating the agreed Call for Hosting to members.

RW observes that, even in case Leeds Uni renews availability to host website, we will still face the current limitations so we might have to look for alternative hosts anyway. PR confirms that in such a case we would have to negotiate with Leeds Uni about availability of plugins and website design.

ACTION – RL to share current draft of Call for Hosts looking at formal approval at December EC meeting. 

ACTION – EC to circulate Call ASAP in January so as to collect responses, possibly, for discussion/approval at the end-of-January EC meeting.

 

5. YouTube channel

ACTION – RW plans to have her video message ready by the end of November. Happy to talk about how the issue brought in more members.

RF comments on the good outreach of RL’s recent event in terms of recruiting in South America and that this could be made into a video as well to push for even more.

Work on the history of SRN by CSB/RF is ongoing and an update will be in the agenda for the December meeting. 

 

6. Update on design of new slogan (RF)

Adjourned to December meeting. 

 

7. Social Media 

AI reports an increase of interest in the FB posts once again. Scheduled posts in the forthcoming weeks will include this meeting, the newsletter, the JoS special issue, Calls for Papers, etc.

PR/AI share receipt of yet another CfP for another issue of JoS which will be publicized as well.

PR suggests posting reminders re: nominations for the SRN Awards every six weeks until May. Also to avoid the jury from receiving ALL the materials at once near the deadline.

ACTION – AI to schedule regular SRN Awards reminders.

RW suggests introducing posts about archives around the world. PR notes that some archives also have Fellowships available ECRs and there are valuable digital archives for all researchers.

ACTION – AI to implement archive posts on Facebook and to hashtag them as SRN Resources via Twitter.

RL/AI report that an application for a Twitter developer’s account has been made. No response received yet, so AI will double-check and update.

 

8. Update on SRN2021 conference (PR, All)

PR has updated Delegates/Membership about new/current plans for 2021.

The EC will have to monitor how the situation evolves over the coming months and consider alternative scenarios and related implications in terms of costs, technology, formats. For each scenario, the EC will need to weigh pros and cons and feasibility. 

Also, should SRN2021 be run in hybrid or virtual format, the EC will once again need to consider how to run the AGM. A virtual AGM might require amendment to the SRN Constitution.

PR suggests that, should SRN2021 be run in-person in Oxford after all, we should discuss and approve an amendment to the SRN Constitution at the AGM to include alternative provision(s) to be used in the future when force majeure applies.

All EC members agree.

ACTION – PR to draft memo of alternative scenarios and EC members to send notes about personal experience of attending hybrid conferences this year. To be discussed in January.

PR noticed that recorded papers followed by live discussion would minimize technical issues.

RL reports about recent event he organized in Brazil. Many questioned the decision to pre-record the speakers, but it protected against tech issues well.

Also, PR observes, live presentations require full-time technical assistance from Brookes or by the venue (at an additional cost) which is hard to acquire.

MM did attend a live virtual conference that used the registration fee (which stayed the same as in person) to invest in tech and requested pre-recorded papers as back up. MM emailed her PPT to the host and everything seemed to have worked well. The conference was in Europe but the hosts accommodated time zone changes. Every session sent a live link via email for access. There were longer breaks between presentations to allow everyone to move in and out of sessions.

This seems like a very good approach but PR notes that, should all the delegates initially shortlisted for SRN2020 attend, we would have participants from 21 different time zones, and a programme of 4 parallel panel sessions over 3 days which would be massive to handle. 

PR will keep contacting all shortlisted delegates to get confirmation of attendance. Only when we have a better idea of numbers we will be able to come up with a more precise, viable format. 

Re: the possibility of a new CfP, MM asks whether a reminder should be sent out about deadlines because no matter the format there will still be a presentation opportunity. PR will make sure that all reminders are sent out promptly and in due course.

PR confirms that the conference theme will remain the same so hopefully the shortlisted delegates will still be conducting the relevant research.  

 

9. Any other business

PR is awaiting info from Hospitality team at Oxford Brookes University to confirm whether on-campus accommodation will be available for SRN2021 delegates.

RL suggests using Zoom for the December EC meeting to see if it works better than Skype

ACTION – PR to set up Zoom link for December EC meeting.

 

Date of next meeting agreed to be Monday 14 December at 9 pm BST/UTC/GMT (consider DST; refer to shared DOC for each country’s time zone)

SRN Executive Minutes – October

Minutes of SRN EC Meeting

Monday 19.10.2020 at 10 pm BST/GMT/UTC+1 (via Skype)

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

The meeting begins at 10.05 pm BST

Apologies for absence

RF

Minutes of previous EC Meeting for approval

All pending Action Points have been itemized below in the agenda. The minutes are approved without changes.

Welcoming new ECR

All EC members welcome AI who officially starts this month in her ECR role and look forward to working with her in the new academic year.

Update on SRN2021 conference (PR, All)

  • Status update re: venue, suppliers and costs

PR has secured new venue – i.e. Andrew Wiles Building available on Aug 30-Sept 1, 2021. The change of venue became necessary as, sadly, Oxford Brookes University is all booked for graduations next Summer. The Andrew Wiles Building is part of the Mathematical Institute in Oxford City Centre and offered better facilities at less cost compared to more historic colleges, whose hospitality team insisted on SRN members renting all their on-campus rooms.

The main lecture theatre in the new venue accommodates up to 250 people and offers state-of-the-art AV. PR has revised the conference budget thoroughly (which stood at around £17,000 for SRN2020). The move to the new venue meant a significant increase due to the hiring cost of the spaces – now forecasting between £26,600 and £33,300 depending on the number of delegates. In order to keep the registration fee around £100 baseline early bird rate, some budget item had to be revised for savings: e.g. the conference materials will be entirely paperless, and there might not be room in the budget for a pre-conference wine reception. However, these can be added back in later based on numbers of attendees and final budget. PR’s plan to break even is also viable thanks to the financial support he has secured from Oxford Brookes’s School of Arts, who has pledged £5000 in funding. In the last two months, PR has also secured substantial additional support of up to £12,000 through Brookes’ Research & Development funding.

One other consequence of the move to the new venue and revised budget, is that SRN2021 will revert back to the 3-day format and, as a result, the maximum number of papers is estimated at around 108, which means the organizing committee might have to withdraw acceptance of a few (from the 118 initially shortlisted).

  • Uncertainties due to COVID-19 and reaching out to delegates
  • Planning alternative scenarios
  • Updating Membership and delegates

The EC will have to keep monitoring the situation caused by pandemic globally. Realistically, and optimistically, we won’t be able to confirm that the conference will in fact go ahead until Spring 2021. Should this be the case, PR will have to revise the phasing of the various registration rates/deadlines.

ACTION – PR will reach out to the Membership and to this year’s shortlisted delegates to start gauging their ability to attend. A new Call for Papers will be issued, if necessary (i.e. if too many delegates decide not to attend anymore).

CSB asks about the viability of going virtual, should the pandemic persist for longer than hoped?

PR confirms this scenario is on the table. This will of course be an issue for the EC to discuss thoroughly in the forthcoming months, taking into account all the possible drawbacks: e.g. time zones make it impossible to have all delegates join online sessions simultaneously.

ACTION – The EC to discuss possible scenarios and alternative options.

PR confirms that the two Keynotes (i.e. Murray Smith and Liz Kilgarriff) and a “surprise” guest are still on tap to attend 2021, although TBC nearer the conference date when the situation is clearer.

Website and YouTube channel

RL confirms all new EC roles have been updated.

Update on accessibility requirement (PR, RL)

PR confirms that new UK law only applies to public bodies – the SRN’s website is not. However, the EC note that it will be a good idea to discuss ways to improve and enhance accessibility once the renewal of the website is sorted out.

Action plan for renewal of host/domain of SRN web-page:

RL confirms contacts at University of Leeds have changed and that the current agreement expires in July 2021. PR observes that with Ian Macdonald not at the department in Leeds anymore, we do need a new contact there. Moreover, the current website design at Leeds Uni is not very flexible as it does not allow many plug-ins. RL remarks that if we were to move to WordPress, the subscription would be free, but we’d still need host server fees paid. RL’s production company would offer use of their server for free. In short, we would be able to keep domain while the website would be hosted on RL’s server. RL adds that he could ask his university in Rio for institutional support as a host. PR suggests we should post a public call for hosts first (to which Rio as well could respond). CSB observes that hosts do not necessarily have to be universities. Also individual members should be considered. Nonetheless, we should offer first look option to Leeds as they were foundational to the birth of the SRN.

ACTION – PR to contact Ian Macdonald and, subsequently, new contacts at University of Leeds for good practice before moving on to Call.

ACTION – RL to draft Call for Hosts with relevant guidelines and specs to be discussed and approved by the EC by December 2020.

Update on EC’s YouTube videomessages (All)

PR has posted the first YouTube message and calls for other EC members to do the next few. Short videos can be sent to PR who can then add logo and copyright-free music track.

ACTION – RW offers to do one in November to announce special issue of JOS – perhaps together with RF?

Update on ongoing history(ies) of SRN (RF, CSB, RL)

CSB reports that Ian Macdonald is still working on writing a history of the origin of the SRN. RF’s update on oral histories is adjourned.

Update on design of new slogan (RF)

This item too is adjourned to the next meeting.

Social Media (AI)

AI praises Alexandra Ksenofontova for a thorough handoff re: the use of our Facebook page. AI plans to revamp the use of the SRN’s Twitter account, i.e. more activity by retweeting members’ tweets and post on updates on research/industry to start with. RL can install the WordPress plug-in on Twitter – this allows automatic posting of links from WordPress to Twitter.

ACTION – AI and RL to add WordPress plug-in and test it

Any other business

PR reports a recent exchange in JISCMail where a member complained about potential misuse and for the EC to moderate/intervene. Having assessed the content of the exchange, PR does not believe this to constitute a breach of netiquette.

RW observes that, in this case, the message happened to promote books about screenwriting. Others in the past did the same, which helped her find new titles to review for JOS and therefore ended up being helpful and useful.

RL announces an upcoming event called “Screenwriting Dialogues”, i.e. a series of talks he has organized in Brazil with screenwriters and producers. PR suggests this to be posted on our Facebook page and on the website under Local Initiatives.

MM will issue the Call for next Newsletter issue in a few weeks’ time. MM wonders – given new modes of communication we are adding to our interactions with our Membership – what are the philosophies/rationale behind each new form introduced. Is the Newsletter old hat? Can we do book reviews from other languages even printed in other languages?

MM reports that previous issues have also included reflections from the last conference that were very personal and can serve as archival material in the future; another article covered all the EC’s members work for the Network.

PR observes that while format and technology might need us to adapt and update/upgrade from time to time, it is still vital to collect valuable information in one place. For instance, the new YouTube videos were introduced as a surrogate for the EC to communicate with the

Membership in the absence of an AGM this year but will not replace the information contained in the Newsletter. MM also wonders whether the fact that she uses a Page template might pose an issue. RL suggests we might be able to use a WordPress template which allows for better posting on the website once we move to a new hosts. This would allow to embed all Newsletter issues as PDF, or as a file for download (like we currently do for minutes), by converting from pdg to html. PR appreciates that while suggestions for improvement are always welcome, the current look of the template seems well designed, simple and effective.

MM adds that the theme for the next Newsletter issue will be inspired by the “From my window” post during the pandemic. But it will also build off RL’s “Screenwriting Dialogues” and similar SRN-style events in other countries and will feature the languages of those countries. RW and RL praise the idea!

Date of next meeting: Monday 16 November 2020, 9 pm BST/UTC/GMT (consider DST; refer to shared DOC for each country’s time zone)

We Welcome All!

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.

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)

Agenda

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
    Approved.
  • 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.

SRN Executive Minutes – May

Minutes of SRN EC Meeting

Monday 18.5.2020 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)

Agenda

1. Apologies for absence

AK, MM

2. Minutes of previous EC Meeting for approval

Some minor phrasing/wording and a few typos amended.

Minutes Approved.

Action: PR to send final draft to RL for upload to website

3. Contingency Plan for SRN EC elections in light of COVID-19 (Cont’d from April meeting)

a. Proposal for special Call to Membership (CTM) to outline/consult on the following:

  • i. No AGM in 2020
    ii. No EC elections in 2020
    iii. Current EC members’ appointment extended by one year (next 3 up for election in September 2021 when usual rota will resume)
    iv. EC to issue Plan for 2020-21
    v. Next AGM (incl. 2-year Activities Report and Election of new EC) in September 2021 in Oxford

ACTION: PR to draft the CTM text to send to Membership. Will circulate to EC members later this week for approval, aiming to sending it out to Members next week.

This is in accordance to the SRN Constitution, which recommends appropriate consultation of Membership before making significant decisions. The CTM will include the main points of discussion from the April and May 2020 EC meetings and outline the legal framework of the SRN, the Articles of the SRN Constitution that apply to the current situation and any further guidance.

The CTM will outline two options:

  1. (recommended by the EC) Postpone AGM and EC elections by one year and mandate of current EC extended accordingly. But constitution requires consulting members before making decision.
  2. No AGM in 2020 but virtual elections held in September 2020.

The CTM must explain that Option 2 is not devoid of risks (e.g. secrecy of vote, polling apps, etc.). On RF’s suggestion, the deadline for expressing preferences will be by mid-June, so as to be able to ratify the result by the June meeting of the EC (the last one before the Summer recess). CSB suggests that if members should be able to propose ‘other ways’ provided they give reasoning
for it. If so, the EC will consider their feasibility before final ratification. RF thanks PR for the in-depth research conducted into the matter at hand.

PR advises to use all available outlets to inform members of CTM and related deadline for expressing preference between two options – i.e. mailing list, Facebook page, Newsletter, Website, Twitter. With regards to the extension of the mandate of the current members of the EC, RF asks: should Option 1 go through, what if current members need/choose to step down. The SRN Constitution specify clearly that a minimum of 5 members if needed; therefore, so as long as no more than one current member decides to leave, there is no need the replacing them. In case, two or more did, the plan is to go back to the Membership for an interim election (protocol TBD by the EC).

CSB notifies the EC of her decision to step down from her role in September 2020.

b. Update on COVID-19 emergency and potential timeline back to normality

Unfortunately, the situation is still unfolding and there is too much uncertainty at the moment for a realistic forecast.

ACTION: EC to assess again in September 2020 meeting.

c. Drafting Call for Expressions of Interest in ECR post for 2020-21 (June posting, and deadline for submission)

The Call for EoI’s in the role of ECR will go out in late June, after the last EC meeting. The role will be filled/renewed in September 2020, at the first EC meeting of the new academic year.

ACTION: EC to finalize and issue Call for ECR at/after the June 2020 meeting.

4. Newsletter (MM, RW)

ACTION: MM and RW will put out a call for more news to be included in the June 2020 issue. Suggestion/plan to add a section analysing how the CTM was received. Another suggestion for a section titled “What I’m Watching/What I’m Teaching?” in these difficult times, and how SRN colleagues can share/help each other with example of good practice. RF suggests drafting and posting a Call for diversity in membership to follow up on and keep building on the major strategy about inclusivity initiated by the EC this last year.

5. Website

a. Update on ongoing history(ies) of SRN (RF, CSB, RL)

RF shared a spreadsheet on Google drive to collected information/history about the SRN conferences. This is already getting populated with facts and data – PR and Ian Macdonald have added substantial info. Suggestion/discussion re: RW and/or CSB to figure out how to approach past conference organizers to collect their info/experiences as well. CSB suggests short oral interviews – 5 questions, same for all – which can then be transcribed and slightly edited (if needed).

RW notes this would help create a sort of oral history that can then be posted on the website or bitesize on Facebook. Suggestion to set up a YouTube Channel to post/share this type of content. RL points out this would also allow us to stream the interviews live. PR also thought of implementing new initiatives in a similar way as a proposal in next year’s Action Plan. Given that the AGM is not going to be had this year, RF suggests EC members could record short videos to report on  achievement of last year and to lay out our vision for next year/rest of mandate.

ACTION: EC to discuss this further in next meeting (either June 2020 or September 2020). PR to include in proposals for Action Plan 2020-21 (to be finalized by September 2020)

ACTION: RF and CSB to start contacting other conference organizers for interviews.

b. Ideas for revamping website over Summer/Autumn (All)

PR praises RL for much good work put in updating the website so far. The EC will need to start considering (soon) how to ensure the website stays on once the agreement
with Leeds University hosting it is over – i.e. Summer 2021.

ACTION: PR to contact host contact at Leeds University to check their intention for the future. In case Leeds University won’t host the SRN website any further, the EC will need to consider an
alternative. RL and PR observe WordPress is probably the easiest solution to use but the EC will need to look into costs.

ACTION: EC to discuss as ongoing “urgent” item in 2020-21 academic year. When the above is sorted would be a good time to think about revamping the website design.

6. Social Media (AK, All)

Item postponed to next month.

7. Membership update?

RF reports subscription of 63 new Members since the Porto conference last September, against only 6 leavers. Which brings the total Membership up to 604! RF reports one issue with JISCMail not admitting one request to which the help desk has not responded.

ACTION: RF to try and add member manually.

RF observes that the new, simplified protocol for subscribing to the SRN is working very well, with 100% of new members now filling out the personal information form. RF also reports a broader range of countries now coming in, with most new joiners coming from Asia and South America, which can be taken as a clear sign that the push towards inclusivity of under-represented regions is starting to work.

RW observes that new peer-reviewers of the journal’s special issue are also joining thanks to RF’s
efforts.

ACTION: RF to include all stats about membership in Annual Report (during Summer 2020). PR thanks and praises RF for her work as Membership officer.

8. Any other business

RW suggestion to swap years of the Annual Conferences between Vienna and Missouri is not applicable. Therefore, the schedule for the forthcoming three years remains as is. PR suggest for EC next year to develop long-term strategy to elicit bids for conferences to be held in Asia and Africa in next call for conferences (due out in 2022-23).

Date of next meeting (last before Summer break): Monday 22 June (TBC), 10 pm UTC/GMT (consider DST)

The meeting ends at 11:10 pm.

Resolution re: 2020 AGM and Election of Executive Council

This Call to Membership (CTM) and Resolution is posted to all SRN Members via the SRN mailing list and is available on the SRN2020 Conference website as well as here on SRN’s website. It aims to consult and call all Members to take action by expressing their preference for one of two options re: this year’s AGM and related EC elections.

1)     Both AGM and elections to be delayed to September 2021 + Mandate of current EC members extended automatically by one year; or

2)     AGM (only) delayed to September 2021 + “virtual” EC elections to be held in September 2020

Members are invited to read the full details in the PDF document attached HERE (also available on the SRN website and on the Conference website) and to cast their preference by clicking by no later than THURSDAY 19 JUNE, 3 pm (UK time).

The CTM follows on from the announcement issued on 17 March re: the postponement of the SRN2020 Annual Conference and Awards due to the COVID-19 crisis. It outlines the legalities of the pending situation and reports about the decision/recommendation reached by the Executive Council re: this year’s AGM and related EC elections, which has been the most substantial item of discussion in the April and May meetings. You can find full details of these in the agendas and minutes available on the SRN website as usual.

Kind regards

 

Paolo Russo

SRN Acting Chairperson

on behalf of the SRN Executive Council

SRN Executive Minutes – April

Minutes of SRN EC Meeting

Monday 20.4.2020 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)

Agenda

1. Apologies for absence

All present. RL joins at 10.30.

2. Minutes of previous EC Meeting for approval (All)

Minutes Approved. PR to send final draft to RL for upload to website.

3. Contingency Plan for SRN EC elections in light of COVID-19 (All)

a. AGM
b. Alternative options or postponement to 2021

PR initiate discussion amongst the Executive Council (EC), which will be work in progress with a view to reach a decision by the May meeting so as to notify SRN membership in due course.
According to the SRN Constitution, elections of new EC members requires secret ballot which can only be ensured at the AGM.

The EC considers the feasibility of a “virtual AGM” for elections only. First of all, the elections are not meant to happen as a stand-alone event (i.e. not tied to an AGM). Moreover, a virtual AGM would prove very difficult to set up given that members are scattered all over the world in different time zones and would require some form of membership authentication before anyone could be admitted to vote. Similar issues would arise as well if using online polling tools/apps – these would possibly guarantee secrecy of ballot, but would need a separate system to check eligibility and would not comply with the required presence of impartial scrutineers. The SRN Constitution allows “postal” votes for those who wish to express their votes but cannot attend the AGM; but not as a replacement for the elections per se.

MM and AK point out that, from a strictly legal point of view, a virtual AGM does not equate to an in-person AGM; the same is true for “postal” and “email”. Unfortunately, the SRN Constitution does not include any special arrangements in case of extraordinary circumstances such as the current COVID-19 crisis; at the same time, there is no precedent to base a decision on. This vulnus can be addressed by amending the Constitution but any changes need approval by two thirds of members at an AGM; and therefore, while the SRN might consider adding alternative arrangements in case of any future unforeseen circumstances similar to the current one, this can only be done at the 2021 conference at the soonest, and at the moment these are not viable.

Given the above, it will be down to the EC to make a decision, bearing in mind that the Constitution also states that decisions made by the EC must benefit all members. The most sensible option at the moment seems to issue a Call to Members with a proposal to extend the mandate of the current EC by one extra year (one off, until 2021), including the three members who are due to step down this year (i.e. Carmen Sofia Brenes, Paolo Russo and Margaret McVeigh – pending individual availability) as well as the other three members due to step down in 2021 (i.e. their mandate will extend until September 2022) so as to ensure that the new members elected in 2021 are supported by the extant members with more experience of the roles and duties. This would ensure continuity for all the initiatives developed by the EC these past few months, whose visions and future plans (which were due to be reported at the SRN2020 Oxford conference) can be duly actualized. The EC would keep expanding membership, especially by promoting the SRN in underrepresented regions; revamp the website; draft proposed changes to the Constitution to be put to Membership in 2021.

ACTION – PR and All to draft Call to Membership for EC approval in May meeting before sending out to Membership. Point raised by AK, to which PR confirms that the Early Career Representative (ECR) is an exception to the above as it is not voted in by members but rather chosen and co-opted by the EC.

ACTION – EC to put out Call for Nomination for new ECR by June meeting (min. 60 days before deadline). Nominations to be collected over the Summer; decision to be made by EC in September.

4. Newsletter and social media updates (MM, RW, AK)

a. Updates on skipped March issue of newsletter and Facebook posts
b. Planning June issue of newsletter

PR and AK have planned the move of March news items to the Facebook page. MM wonders whether this would make the newsletter redundant but the general consensus is that the newsletter and Facebook complement each other rather than overlap.

In general, with regards to news items, we should keep using Facebook to tease members to read the full items in the newsletter. Moreover, even though some content will have been released on Facebook in April and May, nothing prevents us from including it in the June Newsletter for reference anyway. It is also noted that the Newsletter is then archived on the website and remains always accessible, not just at the time of the issue’s original release.

On the other hand, the Facebook address can also be a useful port of call for new members, especially from underrepresented regions who can find and connect with colleagues who have similar research interests.

The EC notes that – without the usual lead-up to annual conference – the Facebook page might not be as lively in the upcoming Summer months. MM suggests using it to share stories of transferring teaching online (and more) that most colleagues will be experiencing at this time.

RF congratulates AK on her excellent work on the Facebook page! AK thanks everyone for sourcing content for the Facebook posts.

5. Future conference dates (RW, All)

RW raises some uncertainty over the 2023 slotting of the Missouri conference due to the now much later date further into the future and her contractual position with Stephens College. She therefore wonders whether she could swap with the Vienna conference in 2022. The EC cannot make such a decision and advises RW to contact the Vienna organizer (Claus Tieber) directly. Should he agree on the swap, the EC would second the new plan.

6. Any other business

RF proposes to create content on the history of the SRN to put on the website.

The Facebook page can be used to attract contributions/stories from members and conference organizers that can then be collated and uploaded onto the website. All agree this is a good idea and PR notes this should/could be an ongoing task – not just one point in time – with the new website section kept open for any future contribution.

To this purpose, RL has prepared a shared folder in Google Drive that can be further customized and used as a template/work-in-progress document for members to add content. PR has lots of useful information about past conferences that he can share.

CSB offers to help RF with this ongoing project.

Date of next meeting: Monday 18 May, 10 pm UTC/GMT (consider DST)
Confirmed.

Meeting ends at 11.12 pm