AGM Minutes for 2012 in Montreal

[private]Friday, 3 August 2012, Montreal, Canada
2-4 pm, Room EV 1.615

M. Hawkins moved acceptance of the agenda; E. Reggiano seconded. Approved.
1. Chair’s address—Margaret Kelleher
It is a sincere pleasure to be in Montreal for this, the 36th annual IASIL conference, and I would like to extend my warm thanks and congratulations to Michael Kenneally, Rhona Richman Kenneally, Susan Cahill, Kerry McElroy and their colleagues for all of their work in preparation and for the dynamic and creative programme which they have put together under the stimulating and invigorating conference topic.
The hospitality provided by the School of Canadian Irish Studies has been immense and we extend particular thanks for the generosity in providing bursaries to over registration fees for all graduate students attending which has, in these straitened times, been crucial in enabling many to attend.
I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Executive Committee for their concrete support throughout the year which has enabled us to advance a number of important initiatives. As you know, last year we completed a detailed revision of the IASIl constitution and also finalised a significant and enhanced relationship with the Irish University Review. This new departure, as we will hear from John Brannigan, continues to flourish and we congratulate John and colleagues on the new relationship with Edinburgh University Press which brings a number of benefits to IASIL members.
This year, as will be discussed on the agenda, we have advanced important infrastructural issues, most notably the operation of Paypal, and buíochas ó chroí to Joachim Fischer, Chris Berchild, Dawn Duncan and Patrick Lonergan for their longstanding and detailed work in this regard. Our working group on publicity has put to tender a proposal for an updating of the organisation’s website and public profile, and we will ask the committee’s support today for finalising this process.
As will also be discussed at the executive meeting, offers to host conferences continue to flourish and we are pleased to bring for the committee’s approval proposals from York (2015) and Vienna (2017), building on the previously agreed locations of Belfast (2013) and Lille (2014).
It is impossible not to mention the particular and deep economic difficulties under which so many of our members labour, and which can threaten both new and longstanding initiatives. In this regard I warmly welcome the inclusion of a roundtable on the future of Irish literary studies organised by this year’s hosts and recommend that we continue to find outlets for the discussion of means to support members and programmes in these challenging times. Our commitment to expanding the profile of IASIL as an organisation which can lobby internationally and nationally for the status of the humanities and Irish studies specifically is all the more relevant; our agenda includes specific proposals to further this role and I would greatly welcome other suggestions from members.
And lastly, I would like to welcome new members attending this conference. Our scholarships play a particularly important role in creating the next generation of Irish studies scholars. We welcome this year’s holder of the IASIL scholarship, Mariana Bolfarine of Sao Paulo, and will discuss a proposal to once again release funds to enable graduate students to travel to Ireland for the 2013 Belfast conference.

On a personal note, my thanks for the wise counsel afforded to me throughout the year by Secretary Dawn Duncan; to Joachim Fischer and Lucy Imbusch for all of their work on the financial front; to webmaster Chris Berchild; to the members of the publications committee and publicity working group; to members of the scholarship committee ably chaired by Shaun Richards; to the bibliographical committee generously chaired by Beatriz Kopschitz Bastos, and to all of the regional representatives and members who do so much to keep IASIL a flourishing organization.

2. Minutes of Leuven —L. Izarra moved acceptance; A. Poulain seconded. Approved.
3. Matters arising—none
4. Secretary’s Report—Dawn Duncan
• The listserv continues to provide a daily service to our membership in the form of announcements that include:
o Opportunities: Calls for Papers, Job Openings
o Events: Upcoming Conferences, Seminars, Book Launches
o Governance: Announcements dealing with IASIL, such as annual agenda, minutes, Paypal online, and other items necessary to our ongoing service to members
o Sympathy: Notice of Loss of members, Obituaries
o Celebrations: Special Awards and Significant Chairs

• Database: I continue to exchange database information with Lucy Imbusch on a quarterly basis, and we now have fewer changes to make each quarter as we have kept our records up to date together. This year, in an effort to make the exchange clearer for Lucy, I have kept the Japanese membership as a separate database though all are merged in the listserv. Accordingly, the current IASIL database shows 618 members, of which 273, or 44%, are in past due for renewal. The Japanese membership as of 27 Dec 2011 shows 147 members. Japanese membership is renewed each October. The combined total then comes to 765 members, of which 713 remain on the listserv. Those not on the listserv either have access problems or have chosen not to avail themselves of the service.

• IUR Board Meeting: As per the decision taken last year with regard to Board membership representation from IASIL, I skyped into the annual meeting held at UCD on 18 April 2012. Following discussion of smooth changeover of publication to Edinburgh, I confirmed two points of action that I would undertake.
o First, I arranged for Lucy Imbusch, assistant to our Treasurer, to send our database to Anne Lambert at Edinburgh. With a few exceptions of late payments and only one accidental omission, all members received their copies on time. Working with Anne to communicate to the membership, any errors in delivery (such as members forgetting to update their addresses) were quickly amended. This series of communications also had the extra benefit of alerting some members that they needed to renew membership.
o Second, based on a generous offer from IASIL member Joseph McMinn and assistance from John Brannigan, I facilitated communication with Ondrej Pilny at Charles University in Prague, suggesting that McMinn’s complete collection of the IUR since its inception might be of great benefit to our colleagues and students at Charles University since they are vibrant scholars in Irish Studies yet do not have access currently through JSTOR or any other research method to the IUR. I am happy to report the university library and the college found space and provided support for the collection to be moved onsite. The shipment was made last month, and we can know that the collection will be put to good use.

• Website Re-design: Following last year’s sub-committee decisions, I approached the Graphic Design program at Concordia College-Moorhead, MN to see if they might be interested in a collaborative project to re-design our logo and materials. When they realized that we would keep the Louis le Brocquy logo as central to any re-design, they did not feel it would be a feasible project for senior design majors. In conversation, the working group, of which I was a part, decided to seek proposals from professional design teams who would consider our needs. Once Margaret Kelleher forwarded the six design tenders, I reviewed each, making notes of positive and negative attributes of each and sharing these notes along with my summary with M. Kelleher. Our group will continue to work this year as we move forward with re-design and focus on other aspects of promoting and sustaining IASIL’s image in the world.

• Organizational Skype Sessions: M. Kelleher and I have continued to meet via skype throughout the year. These conversations have been helpful and fruitful as we continue to serve IASIL.
My sincere appreciation and thanks to Joachim Fischer and Lucy Imbusch for data updates, John Brannigan and Anne Lambert for work with the IUR, our Executive members for sharing their reports electronically for ease of record keeping, Chris Berchild for his work to transition the website and for prompt uploading of materials, the IASIL Montreal team for excellent communications, and, especially, to Margaret Kelleher for her calm, wise, and friendly leadership and our enjoyable IASIL skype conversations.

5. Treasurer’s Report—Joachim Fischer
• Audited Accounts 31 May 2012 (see Appendix 1)
b. IUR 41(2). 2011 bill for €3,162.80 received
IUR 42(1). 2012 bill for £3,600 (€4588.48; €15.30 per copy) received and paid; see under 6.
€2,187 Carvalho Fund collected and spent; incl. €142 from IASIL
€800 for IASIL scholarship 2011
€5,000 set aside for website redesign
No claim from 2012 scholarship holder yet
No applications to Support Fund

• Paid-up Membership (without IASIL Japan members)
Paid-up Treasurer’s database
in July (incl. lapsed memberships
for two further years)
2012 (Montréal) 362 (incl. 61 students, 631
19 without IUR)
2011 (Leuven) 333 (incl. 54 students, 618
ca. 20 without IUR)
2010 (Maynooth) 405 (incl. 71 students) 666
2009 (Glasgow) 378 723
2008 (Porto) 419 702
2007 (Dublin) 519 724

Joachim also shared a country-by-country breakdown of memberships.
26 presenters at IASIL Montreal not paid up as of 25 July 2012: include membership fee for non-members in conference registration fee? to be collected by organizers?
• Online Payment
PayPal set up
Cheque payments in Sterling

• Membership fees, membership form
Increase in membership fees necessary: €140 3-years couple; €120 3-years; €60 one year couple; €50 one year; €40 student/unwaged; €20 student, no IUR

284 subscriber list for IUR Spring 2012
343 incl. late subscriptions, July 2012 (contract to buy 320 copies min.)

• Thanks
To Lucy Imbusch, Margaret Kelleher, Dawn Duncan, Chris Berchild and Shaun Richards.
Note: We will monitor the membership and cost of the IUR and make a decision next year as to whether we need to adjust membership fees.

6. Website report—Chris Berchild
In this last year, the management of the IASIL website has shifted from Patrick Lonergan to me, Chris Berchild. I wish to thank Patrick for his tireless dedication to the site for the last nine years.

Over the last year, I have spent a great deal of time examining the pros and cons of the site as it currently stands. One of the most positive steps that was taken this year is our success in establishing online Paypal payments for membership. Additionally, in conversation with Margaret Kelleher, Dawn Duncan, Joachim Fischer, and Rui Carvallo (amongst others), many thoughts concerning IASIL’s online future have been shared and discussed, leading the executive to seek tenders/bids for an IASIL website redesign/overhaul.

• Paypal
After a number of years of attempting to establish an online payment option for our members, we have finally navigated the complex organizational structure of Paypal to offer our members a secure and easy method of paying online that eliminates the complexity of currency exchange. While we realize that this may not be perfect and solve all problems (as certain countries and territories still do not allow for payments via Paypal), we are certain that this will offer a vast majority of our membership a much easier and safer way to pay membership dues. I would especially like to thank Joachim Fischer for his work on establishing the financial groundwork for Paypal and Patrick Lonergan who spent many years laying the groundwork for this success.

• Site Redesign
Due to a number of observations made in last year’s report concerning the decline in site use over the last year as well as discussions concerning the nature of IASIL’s online presence amongst certain members of the IASIL executive, a decision was made to seek tenders/bids for a complete professional redesign of the IASIL website in order to better serve its membership and present a professionally-branded face to the world.
After I presented a list of thoughts regarding ways to better serve our membership online to Margaret Kelleher, she began the process of seeking tenders. To date, we have received six tenders of various costs and quality that will be discussed during the executive meeting in Montreal. I intend for the site to be much simpler (as it is currently a bit unmanageable in its current incarnation) and easier to maintain so that it may address the main needs of both our current and future membership.
• Facebook and the website
As noted last year by former webmaster Patrick Lonergan, “the site is no longer being used very often as a source of information by members – certainly not to the extent that it was in 2007.” This continues to be true, but hopefully our proposed website redesign will address some of the major issues that Patrick identified last year.

The list-serv still continues to be the most consistent and reliable source of information for membership, largely due to the fact that it comes to the inbox of individual members on a regular basis rather than having the membership seek out the site. Though most of this information will find its way to the website, it currently stands as a repository of this information due to the time and effort required to maintain the site properly (at least in its current format).
Once redesigned, I believe the site will become an attractive presentation of IASIL to the world and therefore to future members, as recruitment of new members continues to be the main function of the website. I would also hope that current-member usage will expand with the redesign as I have proposed a “members-only” section of the website that will allow for easier communication and flow of information between current members and organizations.
The presence of IASIL’s Facebook page is growing, as we currently have 446 “likes.” I intend to renew my dedication to the Facebook page in the coming year. A number of IASIL members have used the Facebook page to promote CFPs and conferences, and there have been numerous “likes” and comments on these posts. I would hope that current members continue to use the page in this way. I would also like to investigate using the Facebook page as an inexpensive marketing tool that can target those individuals interested in Irish studies and lead them to the IASIL website.
The IASIL blog that Patrick Lonergan established is no longer being maintained as the amount of time required to maintain and the lack of external contributions to the blog made it unfeasible.
7. Website Tender and IASIL Promotion
a. Report from working group—After reviewing tenders from 6 companies, we all agreed that Vermillion would be the top choice, coming in on budget and allowing us to use WordPress
b. Creation of membership area—consensus on private membership area for checking and updating membership information
c. General Promotional materials—The next stage will be branding our other print materials to match up with website. The working group will continue to work on these items.
Motion: The Executive Committee moves that IASIL accept Vermillion’s tender for website re-design.
The membership approved.
8. Bibliography subcommittee report—Beatriz Kopschitz Bastos
• As last year, there were a significant number of reports from most countries that are currently represented in this sub-committee.
• I wish to thank Dr Bernard Escarbelt, from Université de Lille III, France, and Dr Rosalind Schut, from University College Dublin, representative for The Netherlands, who resigned after many years of dedicated service in their posts. Alexandra Poulain has agreed to take over bibliographic duties for France.
• Fiona Coffey, from Tufts University, is the new representative for the USA.
• Sandra Mayer is now the assistant for Professor Dr Werner Huber, from University of Vienna, representative for Germany and Austria.
• A few vacancies are open for regional representatives, so I will make contacts throughout the year to fill the posts.
• The final edited 2011 Bibliography has already been sent to IUR and will be published soon.
• I thank all the regional representatives for their impeccable contribution and, particularly, Mariana Bolfarine and Fabiana Dias, for their priceless help in editing the final compilation.

9. Scholarship subcommittee—Shaun Richards
This year (2012) there were 22 applicants, the highest number (by one) in the three years I’ve been involved in the process and, thankfully, there were none that had to be excluded because of the failure of referees to provide the necessary forms. The geographical range was as wide as previously but with a clear concentration from those countries where, as we know from IASIL membership lists, the highest numbers of members are found. Specifically, the applicants came from: Ireland (6), the UK (6), USA (2) Netherlands (2) and then one each from Brazil, South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, the Czech Republic and Serbia. The clear winner was Marianna Bolfarine from University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
A few points:
i) The conference programme indicates that 12 of the 22 applicants will still be attending and presenting papers. That’s 11 who did not win a scholarship and possibly the generous waiving of a conference fee for PGs presenting papers helped in this. Clearly retaining the interest and attendance of PGs is a crucial aspect of IASIL’s future.
ii) Looking at the locations of applicants across the past three years the constant is the high numbers coming from Ireland and the UK, the next highest is the USA but with a far more variable profile. The constant strong presence of Ireland and the UK should bode well for next year’s conference at Queen’s, Belfast and it might be worth utilising the New Voices network to spread word about the conference and scholarships, especially as their conference this year was held at Queen’s.
iii) This is the second time in three years that a scholarship has gone to a student from the University of Sao Paulo. This is obviously a testament to the strength of that programme but also a good demonstration of the international dimension of IASIL, showing that quality projects and strong applicants are not the preserve of the Anglophone countries alone.
Finally, thanks to Margaret Kelleher, Tina Mahony, Joachim Fischer and Youngmin Kim who again acted as the panel and ensured that deadlines were met and candidates informed well within our stated timetable.

Motion: The Executive moves that we fund scholarships up to €5000, with amount variable according to travel cost for students.

Membership approved.

10. Reports from IASIL reps:
Each of the elected representatives, except those not present, gave a couple highlights. Complete reports may be viewed in Appendix 2 to these Minutes.
11. IUR and Publications plans—John Brannigan
First of all, I would like to begin my report by recording my deepest gratitude to Professor Maurice Harmon, who retired from the IUR Management Board earlier this year, after many years of devoted service. As you all know, as the founder and longest serving editor of the journal, his experience and his wisdom are unrivalled, and I have benefitted greatly from his advice during my tenure. I would like to thank Maurice for all of his help and support, and as I’m sure IASIL members will well appreciate, his long service and dedication to the Irish University Review. I would also like to record my particular gratitude to Kate Bateman, whose UCD contract as administrative assistant with the IUR unfortunately ended in December past, and I know that I can speak on behalf of IASIL members as well as all my IUR colleagues in expressing sincere appreciation for Kate’s tireless devotion over the past three years to ensuring that the journal was administered, produced, and delivered efficiently, and, above all, with fantastic good humour.

• Edinburgh University Press Partnership
I would like to express the wholehearted appreciation and gratitude of the IUR editorial and management boards to the IASIL executive and members for their support for our joint partnership with Edinburgh University Press. There have been some teething problems, I know, with distribution, and the accidental omission by the printers of the editorial boards from the covers of the first issue, but I have been very happy with the prompt and professional response of staff at the Press to make sure that these issues are resolved. I hope that members have already taken advantage of online access to the journal, and continue to enjoy the high standards and production values which we knew Edinburgh would deliver. On the editorial side, I know that my colleagues and contributors have already benefitted from the additional levels of support for the editing and proofing process which the Press also provides. The production process has been very smooth and efficient so far. It is too early to note any benefits which will accrue to the journal and to IASIL from the marketing strategies and efforts of the Press, but I hope and expect that we will see these benefits in the years to come. Edinburgh have a committed and friendly team of staff to work with, and should any IASIL members encounter any problems with access to the IUR, in print or online, please do contact the journals team at the Press. If members also have suggestions for how we might promote the journal and the Association through the Press, I would be grateful also if you would send those on to me, and I can raise those with the Press in my annual meeting with the staff in October.
• Forthcoming Issues
We are currently about to send in the typescript for the next general issue of the Irish University Review to Edinburgh, an issue which contains exciting and rich new essays on the Irish Literary Theatre, J.M. Synge, Katharine Tynan, Kate O’Brien, John McGahern, Brian Friel, Stewart Parker, and Seamus Heaney, as well as the invaluable annual IASIL bibliography. This will be followed by what I anticipate will be a very important development for the journal as well as the field of Irish Studies, with the Spring special issue devoted to Queer Studies in Ireland, guest edited by Anne Mulhall, Eibhear Walshe, Sean Kennedy and Sarah McKibben. In 2014, we will publish a special issue devoted to the topic of Brendan Behan and working-class writing, partly to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Behan’s death, but partly also to reflect the growing body of work and interest in social class in Irish writing and culture. In 2015, the journal will publish a special issue on Twentieth-Century Irish Drama, more details on which will be available in time for next year’s conference in Belfast.

On behalf of the Irish University Review, I wish IASIL another successful and congenial conference here in Montreal, and we look forward to enjoying our fruitful collaboration with IASIL in the years to come.
Discussion: The last bibliographic covered 20 years and came out 12 years ago. We might think about the future and when it might be done again.

12. Future conferences—
Eamonn Hughes announced that IASIL 2013 will be held in Queen’s University Belfast, Monday 22nd to Friday 26th July 2013. The conference theme will be “Urban Cultures.”
Last time we were hosted in Belfast was 1985, so this is a wonderful opportunity to reconvene there in 2013.

Alexandra Poulain spoke about Lille 2014 and expressed pleasure at hosting with the Lille team. The last time Lille hosted IASIL was 1978. Lille is in the north of France and is the capitol of Flanders. There will be good fun and good food.

• C. Connolly proposes a space in the IASIL conference, maybe a particular day or portion of a day, which would focus on a conference theme. This could include a variety of formats, allowing an interdisciplinary approach to that theme. Such a day would allow focus, while also allowing the rest of the conference to become more expansive since the other days would not have to be quite so focused.
• M. Kelleher suggests that we take the model of Montreal and create an evening of launches, inclusive for members with new books for the year.

13. Other business—none
14. Plans for election—Returning Officer: Rui Carvalho Homem elected.
15. Potential Strategic Partnerships
a. Presidential Renewing the Republic Seminars
b. World Congress of Scottish Literatures
M Kelleher spoke briefly to both initiatives as a means of strengthening IASIL’s profile nationally and internationally, and undertook to explore their potential further.