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
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)