Please find here the AGM agenda.
That’s right! The wait is over, the whole event has finally taken shape and as of today you can start accessing all content and information via the website at srn2020.com (I know, but changing the domain name meant additional costs, and if sport events can keep the original 2020 name, why shouldn’t we at least in the URL).
Let’s get to business! The first thing everyone should do is register to SRN2021. Registration is FREE but “required” for everyone – speakers and regular attendees alike. This is because, among other things, while a good wealth of information is freely accessible anyway, the core content of SRN2021 – namely, pre-recorded video-presentations of papers, live panels and related recordings – will only be accessible via password, which you will receive when you register. To register, simply fill in and submit the form that applies to you (speaker or attendee) on the website. Registered delegates will also receive the login details (i.e. link, session ID and password) for all the live panels’ sessions (these will be sent out as invitations around mid-late August).
Then you can take a look at the schedule for the Live panels to get an idea of the incredible amount, variety and originality of the research being presented by our panelists this year. Despite everything that is going on, we still have 20 panels and 76 papers in our line-up. More about this in a minute.
As you all know, SRN2021 Online replaces (or, at least, will do its best to try) our Annual Conference, which had to be cancelled. Switching online meant having to adjust to the unusual format but also gives us the opportunity to make the most out of what it offers. Therefore, the SRN2021 experience is not limited to the “live” sessions: it starts before (essentially, NOW) and it continues afterwards, with the website as your central control hub for everything – as easy as 1, 2, 3!
1) PRE-RECORDED PRESENTATIONS: all speakers have been asked to submit their papers as pre-recorded 15’ video-presentations; they will then attend their respective live Q&A panels in a few weeks’ time. Given the number of papers, the best approach is to watch as many presentations as possible ahead of the live sessions so as to be able to make an active contribution to those. On the website you can find all the abstracts and bios, and you can easily access (via password) all the presentations. A dozen or so are already online (many thanks to those of you who submitted early!) and most other submissions are expected in the next week or two – I will upload them on the website on a daily basis.
2) LIVE PANELS: bookmark the dates on your calendars if you haven’t done so already. We kick off on Tuesday 31 August, then continue in September, on Friday 3, Wednesday 8, Monday 13 and Friday 17. The full schedule is available as a PDF document: the reference time zone is UTC/GMT (i.e. UK time), but you will find downloadable versions for all time zones (at least those of our speakers). And you can also access the programme for each individual day. The schedule is now pretty much final although some tweaks might still occur.
As per previous emails, on each day we will have two sessions so as to give delegates from all geographic areas a chance to attend at least one (colleagues from Europe can easily attend both). Unless you turn into owls you will probably miss a few sessions when it’s night time in your country: not to worry because we will record all of them and make them available ASAP as catch-up via the website. However, please please please do try and attend as many as reasonably possible: we do need lively panels to make this work. And remember that, on top of the regular panels’ Q&As, the live sessions also include the two keynotes, the AGM, the EC Elections, a round table, the SRN Awards, the Working Groups, plus time to network with colleagues. Again, info on all of these are available on the website.
Q&As: each panel will last on average 45 minutes (a little longer if it’s a panel of five). How to ask questions to our speakers? During the live session you can ask questions either in person or via chat (the chair/host will moderate these). But you can also submit your comments/questions on the website when you watch the presentations; in this case, the relevant chairs will collect them and forward them to the speakers during the live panels.
3) The AFTERPARTY: I am planning to organize a few extra one-off events with special guests (I’m still working on this though). If things go to plan these will be in late September/October/early November. These will likely be informal chats with writers and/or producers, and/or workshops with colleagues, and/or more ad-hoc networking sessions to foster collaborations with SRN colleagues. Plus, last but not least by any means, in November we will have the ECR Symposium organized by Ann Igelström – you can find the details to submit your proposals on the website (as well as on the SRN website). The deadline is 10 August, so hurry up! And yes, if you are an Early Career Researcher you can submit to the Symposium even if you are already participating in SRN2021 (with a different paper, though).
Specific dates and events aside, the website (and all its content) will remain available to all registered delegates for the next two years, thus giving all of you plenty of time to check out research strands you might be interested in and get in touch with colleagues for potential future collaborations.
As you can see, there’s enough on the website to get you going for a long time so better get started straight away, right? I have done my best to redesign it and hopefully you will be able to navigate it as smoothly as possible: however, if you spot any errors, or bump into anything that doesn’t seem to be working properly, do give me a shout and I will try to fix it. For instance, I tried to optimize the website so it can be accessed from computers, tablets and phones, but it looks like older devices might have some issues displaying some content.
You will notice a few pages on the website still marked as “Coming soon”. These are still under construction and will become available within the next few days. One of these, for instance, will allow you to search for content in different ways based on your interests. If you are not familiar with Zoom (the videoconferencing platform we will be using for our live sessions) you will soon find guidance and tips on the website. Or, again, the specific pages for individual days of the live panels. I will send out weekly updates from now on, each one focusing on a few specific things in the lead-up to the live sessions.
One final reminder: on Day 4 (13 September) we will hold our AGM and the elections of three new members of the Executive Council of the SRN. Please consider standing for election: the call for nominations was issued last month, is available on the SRN website here, and you will soon find the relevant info on the SRN2021 website as well. The deadline to submit your nominations is 16 August and we will set up a secure online voting system in the forthcoming days.
This is it for today.
Do explore the website, register right away, get watching the presentations, mark the dates on your calendar and start enjoying SRN2021!
Looking towards the Future
ECR2021 Online Symposium for Screenwriting/Screenplay Early Career Researchers
Call for Papers for the 2021 ‘Looking towards the Future’ online symposium specifically aimed at SRN Early Career Researchers taking place the week commencing 15th of November. It follows the SRN2021 Research Seminar Series.
The symposium is a unique opportunity for early career researchers to present and discuss their on-going research with the wider research field.
Presentations should be pre-recorded and no longer than 10 minutes. The purpose of each presentation is to introduce on-going research and highlight a specific research question under examination that can be discussed during a live panel. Ending the presentation with queries to the listeners and fellow panelists are encouraged to make the live sessions as engaging as possible. This could, for example, be archive or reference related queries as well as broader questions of publication outlets and possible collaborations.
The presentations will be organised into panels depending on topics and time zones with no more than 4 presenters in each panel. The Early Career Representative, Ann Igelstrom, will chair the live panels together with a researcher from the specific field under discussion. The pre-recorded presentations will be uploaded and made available on the SRN2021 Research Seminar Series website. Questions by attendees can be submitted ahead of the live panel.
During the live panels, each presenter gives a brief summary of their presentation (2 min) followed by a discussion with fellow panelists and attendees led by the chair. The session ends with a general conversation. The aim is that the panels do not exceed one hour to maximise the ease to attend and minimise ‘screen fatigue’.
The number of panels and exact dates will be decided depending on received and accepted abstracts.
Please submit your abstract (max 300 words) together with a short bio before 10th of August. This allows enough time to organise the event and makes it possible to introduce the Symposium program and panelists during the SRN2021 Research Seminar Series.
Please send your submission and any queries to email@example.com
In 2021, the Screenwriting Research Network will gather the membership in an Online Seminar during August and September.
More information and the full programme can be accessed here.
The Screenwriting Research Network has released two Calls for Nominations:
The first is to the SRN Executive Council, as three (3) members will be elected at the next AGM to fill the expected vacancies and serve for two academic years (2021-22 and 2022-23). More information about this call can be found here.
The second is to serve as Early Career Researchers representative (ECR) on the SRN Executive Council for the academic year 2021-22. This is an appointment made by the Executive Council (i.e. no election), as with any co-opted member as per SRN Constitution. More information about the ECR role and the call can be found here.
SRN welcomes all nominations from the Membership!
The SRN Constitution, adopted in 16th September 2012, at the Sydney AGM, received a second amendment in 21st June 2021.
The updated version can be found here.
Dear SRN2021 Delegates and SRN Members,
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.
– [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)
[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.
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:
|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.
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
Paolo Russo BA PhD
A PDF version of this text can be accessed here.
CALL TO MEMBERSHIP
20 May 2020
MOTION TO AMEND TWO ARTICLES OF THE SRN CONSTITUTION
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:
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.
Blue – Excerpts from current Constitution
Red – Proposed amendments
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.
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.
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.).
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
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)
- 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
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:
- I will announce the decision to the Membership on Tuesday 20 April;
- 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
SRN2021 Conference Director
First episode of the new series – SRN Conversations: Memories from SRN Conferences (2008-11)
- 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)