IASIL AGM 2015 Agenda and Minutes

IASIL Annual General Meeting Minutes

Friday 25th July 2015. 2 pm. University of York.

  1. Chair’s address—submitted by Margaret Kelleher

It is a sincere pleasure to be in University of York for this, the 39th annual IASIL conference, and I would like to extend my warm thanks and congratulations to Matthew Campbell, Emilie Morin, Ríona Nic Congáil and Bryan Radley for all of their work in preparing this wonderfully dynamic academic programme and cultural activities.


This year also marks the end of the second of the three-year term of the Executive Committee and I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to my colleagues for their concrete support and hard work during the year. This will be visible at both the Executive Meeting and AGM, but the initiatives presented there are supported by lots of work, consideration and commitment ‘behind the scenes’ and I would like to take the opportunity to recognise this publicly. My grateful thanks to our hardworking Secretary Dawn Duncan and our Treasurer Tina O’Toole; we as an organisation are greatly endebted to them both. Thanks also to Clíona Ó Gallchoir, Rebecca Graham (our postgraduate representative) and others who have enlivened our facebook presence, and we look forward to the help of all members with regard to the further promotion of IASIL members’ activities through twitter, facebook, instagram and other social media.


The relationship with the Irish University Review and Edinburgh University Press continues to flourish, and brings a number of benefits to IASIL members, in addition to the two volumes of the journal. Continuing thanks to Professor John Brannigan (IUR editor) and Sarah Edwards (EUP) for their invaluable assistance.  We would especially like to convey our congratulations on the recent IUR issue Mirror up to Theatre in honour of past IASIL President Professor Christopher Murray, edited by Csilla Bertha and Cathy Leeney.


As members know, our scholarships play a particularly important role in creating the next generation of Irish studies scholars. We welcome the 2015 holder of the IASIL scholarship: Katie Mishler, and encourage members to continue to advertise this scholarship widely. This year we are launching a special scholarship appeal inviting donations by members to support extra scholarships for IASIL 2016 and we would greatly appreciate your generosity for this worthy initiative. Members are encouraged to donate either during the conference or through PayPal and we will send reminders via our weekly list in this regard.


Next year’s conference will be held in Cork (25-29 July 2016) on the topic of Change; the excellent cfp has been already distributed by Professor Claire Connolly and Dr Clíona Ó Gallchoir at this year’s conference; warm thanks to them and their colleagues.


Finally, my thanks again to all those who enable our organization to run so smoothly, including members of the scholarship committee ably chaired by Shaun Richards; the bibliographical committee generously chaired by Beatriz Kopschitz Bastos; IUR editor Dr John Brannigan;, and all of the regional representatives and members who do so much to keep IASIL a flourishing organization.

  1. Minutes of Lille meeting—accepted. Proposed by D. Morse; seconded by  B. Olinder
  2. Matters arising
  3. Secretary’s report—submitted by Dawn Duncan

From my perspective, this year went rather smoothly.  I performed the following duties on behalf of the membership:

  • Liaison with conference organizers to update information for the membership.
  • Liaison with web designer to update site. We have a new designer as of this fall, which meant more online work together as he learned the site and we made improvements.
  • Renewal of website licenses.
  • Updates to the World of Irish Studies page
  • Communication with the Executive membership about matters arising
  • Participation in two annual board meetings with the Irish University Review (via Skype)
  • Ongoing conversations with President Margaret Kelleher to assure attention to any matters arising
  • Posting of governance issues such as agenda and minutes
  • Weekly update of membership database, including generation of passwords for new members. The only issue that has come to my attention is a problem receiving IASIL messages if the member in question has not set email to accept html messages from us.  In that event, the person contacts me and I send the access information in a text email.  Currently, I have created 840 member entries.  Currently we use January 1 as the date at which all memberships expire and must be renewed.  However, recently I have been working with the web design team to ascertain whether we might use the site to send renewal notices so that we could use actual year-to-year dates that match when members pay.  We think this will be possible, with notices of expiration going out 5, 3, and 1 day prior to expiration.  I have set up a trial to that should show us this week if this feature works.  If so, then it will benefit members and relieve the work load for the treasurer and assistant treasurer when it comes to renewal notices.
  • Weekly posting of announcements to the website and the Sunday email digest. Occasional postings to Facebook and Twitter when the information is immediate and will not hold until the digest.  My thanks to Clíona Ó Gallchoir and the IASIL Graduate Representative, Rebecca Graham for managing our Facebook presence.  The IASIL Facebook page now has 955 Likes, up from approximately 500 in 2013, and is maintained by Clíona. The weekly News items from the website are circulated via Facebook by Rebecca. Other items of academic and cultural interest are also posted and items from other sides such as BAIS are shared. The most popular posts were as follows: 1. Announcement of the 2015 Peter Lang Young Scholars Competition (1,600 views); 2. IASIL Conference 2015 Website goes Live (1,300 views); 3. Applications are invited for Professor and Head of Department of English, NUIM (1,200 views).
  • Creation of a handbook for the next elected Secretary. As I enter my final year of 16 years on the Executive and 13 as your Secretary, I want to ensure a smooth transition for the next individual who will serve our community.

Finally, I want to thank the Executive team who work so well together to make my job easier and to serve this organization.  My thanks to President Margaret Kelleher, Treasurer Tina O’Toole, and her wonderful assistant, Lucy Imbusch.

  1. Treasurer’s report—submitted by Tina O’Toole
  1. Accounts
    • Audited Accounts 31 May 2015 (see Appendix 1)

NB: In contrast to last year when membership subscriptions rose by €5000 there was a sharp decline in revenue this year (partly explained by a large number of members taking out a three-year membership last year). However this, combined with extra expenses this year (incl. web maintenance), has meant a considerable difference between income and expenditure.


  1. Paid-up Membership (without IASIL Japan members)

Paid up to date                                 Treasurer’s database

                                                                                                                (incl. lapsed memberships

                                                                                                                for two further years)

2015     (York)                  330                                        590

(incl. 19 3-year memberships [62 in 2014],

275 ordinary, 26 students + 29 without IUR)

2014     (Lille)                   390 (incl. 56 students,                  622

21 without IUR, 20 couples,

4 honorary/life members)

2013     (Belfast)              366 (incl. 51 students,                  580

21 without IUR, 17 couples,

4 honorary/life members)

2012     (Montréal)         358 (incl. 61 students,                  594

16 without IUR)

2011     (Leuven)             333 (incl. 54 students,                  618

  1. 20 without IUR)

2010     (Maynooth)       405 (incl. 71 students)                 666

2009     (Glasgow)          378                                                        723

2008     (Porto)                                419                                                        702

2007     (Dublin)                              519                                                        724

For regional distribution see Appendix 2.


Falling membership

Membership rose last year (at 390, highest since 2010) but at 322 this year has dropped to the lower end of our annual rate (29 conference attendees yet to pay on 13.7.15). North American membership has dropped by 29; European (outside Ireland) by 26. Given our current expenditure, our finances are unsustainable at these levels.

Issue: despite keeping student rates low, we don’t seem to be attracting may new members to IASIL; as those ceasing to attend the annual conference / going into retirement stop their subscriptions, this will inevitably lead to a more general decline in membership.

Issue: an even larger number of conference attendees than last year had not paid the membership sub in the run-up to the conference (approx. 40 when reminder email circulated two weeks before conference). Suggestion that, as at Prague conference, the Treasurer should be available at the registration desk  for first day or two during registration to collect subscriptions..

  1. Payment Procedures

PayPal working reasonably well, although we had a problem with recurring payment set-up where 3-year memberships concerned (the billing cycle can either be shown as ‘yearly’ or ‘monthly’ and PayPal seemed incapable of resolving this issue for us). In the coming year, we will remove the recurring payment option from 3-year membership.

We explored the suggestion of a direct debit facility last year but, given that IASIL doesn’t have an online banking facility (with a business bank account, rates for online banking are exorbitant), we decided against it. The problem is that, by the time bank statements are issued, those paying by direct debit would not have access to the website for a month or more after paying their sub – we thought this was impractical.

Streamlining of membership / subscription procedures and follow-up access to Members Area of website working smoothly.


  1. Membership & Fees

Fee income currently insufficient to meet commitments

This year’s fee income:                €10,455

Outgoings:                                          €19,277

Subtracting once-off expenses from this (€2,175 web maintenance in 2015), we are still left with a shortfall of €6,597. Having raised subscription fees last year, we have no recourse to that as a solution; we must now reduce expenditure.


  1. IUR

Payments for IUR fully up to date; see audited accounts for details.

  1. Donations only €35 (from two members) received this year, even though facility was set up for donations on the PayPal site. We agreed to begin a new drive for scholarship donations (perhaps members or outside donors might be encouraged to fund a scholarship for a specific region or on particular topics).


  1. Thanks to Lucy Imbusch, Margaret Kelleher, Dawn Duncan, and Shaun Richards.

Discussion Points:

  • Special appeal for scholarships including country associations: We aim to have more scholarships for our meetings in Ireland, for example next year in Cork. There will indeed be a special named scholarship for next year.  We also encourage members from a particular country fund a scholarship for a graduate student from that country so these will be designated.  Use the donate button on PayPal and, if you desire, designate the named scholarship or a specific country designation, or feel free to leave unspecified.
  • Eliminate postgraduate fee with IUR:   Members indicated that this seems quite reasonable.
  • Q to members – Are we seeing any gain from the free memberships we have provided to graduate students?  This does not seem to be of much interest to these students.
  • Has making the website pages public, except for governance, decreased a reason for others to join? Richards prefers open pages.  A. Pilz agreed leave it open. C. Lynch mentioned that privatizing the pages would drive members to other sites/conferences.
  • New idea for recruitment: Perhaps have students pay for a few days of conference rather than whole week.  Encourage others who live in area of conference to house postgrads.
  1. Future Conferences:
  • Cork 2016—Claire distributed the CFP, with a theme of Change, and 25-29 July dates, plenary speakers will be ; Cliona and Claire shared an enticing PowerPoint.  They announced that there will be no conference fee for postgrads.  There will also be ample, economically feasible housing both on and close to the campus.  Cork is a beautiful location and the city centre is within easy access of the university.  The conference will include workshops that will particularly entice postgrads and early career scholars.  Olinder recommended that, in thinking about ways to develop our conference, we should encourage those giving papers to consider the best methods of delivery C. Connolly agreed that we should encourage good presentation skills, but we must leave space for presenters to unpack their scholarship in different ways.  M. Kelleher encouraged us to mentor others. J. Shanahan noted we could have a formal session on presenting papers. The information about Cork 2016 was welcomed warmly.
  • Venues for 2017 and 2018—it was agree by the Executive to invite members who wished to host a future Conference to submit a formal proposal by the end of September for a small working group to consider and recommend to the Executive (consisting of Margaret, Tina, Dawn, Ondrej, and Cliona).
  1. Bibliography subcommittee report—submitted by Beatriz Kopschitz Bastos
  • There were significant reports from most countries currently represented in this sub-committee. My special thanks to the invaluable dedication of all representatives.
  • The sub-committee welcomes the new representatives.
  • The final edited 2014 Bibliography will be sent to IUR editor on July 5th.
  • I personally thank Maria Eduarda Ferraz and Miyuki Kawamata for their priceless help in editing the final list.


  1. Scholarship subcommittee—submitted by Shaun Richards
    1. Report on 2015

Last year my concern was with both numbers of applicants and the geographical range – only 6 applicants and all from either the UK or Ireland. I’m pleased to say there was some improvement in both respects this year with 9 applicants, one each from Austria, India and Singapore and 6 from Ireland, 3 of them from UCC. However, and despite the usual high quality of the applications, the decision of the committee was very clear that Katie Mishler of UCD should be awarded this year’s scholarship.

A general comment – I know that its unlikely that countries with comparatively small postgrad numbers should appear every year – although its worth stressing that, for example, Brazil and the Czech Republic have both had several winners each over the past few years, but the absence of any applicants from the UK and the USA is striking as they, along with Ireland, usually provide the highest number. All we can do is encourage IASIL members, and especially those on the executive, to promote the scheme as widely as possible.

  1. Decision for 2016

And finally some issues to be resolved in advance of Cork next year.

  1. i) The amount of money to be allocated. We have traditionally given more scholarships to Irish-based confernces. For the last, at QUB, we allocated €5000.00. But we need to ensure that any allocation is within the financial capacity of the association. Moreover, we need to be clear what is to be covered by the scholarships as, to date, in addition to the variable costs of transport we have covered conference fees, accommodation and the dinner. Assuming we continue to support scholarships then one possibility – and one which would allow us to judge the costs quite accurately would be to cover accommodation, dinner and fees (if applicable) and make a set contribution to travel – from wherever that is. Or variables on this.
  2. ii) This then relates to the issues to be clarified by UCC– an indication as soon as possible about their expenses, namely the on-campus accommodation, the conference fee (unless these are to be waived for postgraduate paper givers) and the conference dinner. We are normally looking to inform applicants about results in the first half of March so conference costs by that time are useful as it enables us to see how much of our scholarship allocation is to be taken up by those.

Finally, as ever, thanks to colleagues on the committee – Margaret Kelleher, Jose Lanters, Tina O’Toole and Youngmin Kim.

The executive will provide $1000 toward scholarships plus whatever we get from the appeal.  We will know by the end of the year how much we have to offer.

  1. Reports from IASIL Representatives—see Appendix C for full reports
  2. Report from IUR representative—tabled to AGM, but the content is included below for the archives.

Margaret, thank you for inviting me to attend the IASIL Executive, and also for your warm welcome to the IASIL conference this year in York. As always, it is a particular pleasure of my responsibilities as IUR editor to report to the IASIL executive on the activities and management of the journal, and to meet again with so many IASIL members who contribute to the journal.

I know that fellow IASIL members will join with me in congratulating Cathy Leeney and Csilla Bertha for the excellent work they did in guest editing the special issue which we published in May celebrating the work of our colleague, Chris Murray. It is an issue of which we can be especially proud for the warm tribute it pays to the scholarship, diligence, and generosity of our colleague, who gave so much of his time and energy to serve both IASIL and the IUR throughout his career. As I am sure will be evident to readers of the issue, the essays and contributions included in the journal are not just a tribute from the IUR or indeed just from IASIL, but also from a grateful community of Irish Studies scholars around the world.

We are currently in the final stages of copy-editing the Autumn issue, which includes a special section on the importance of medieval literature in contemporary Irish writing, with contributions from Bernard O’Donoghue, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, and Frank McGuinness. It also includes in the general sections essays by Andrew Gibson on Beckett, Raphael Ingelbien and Benedicte Seynhaeve on Lady Morgan, Stephanie Rains on Anti-Vice Story Papers, Kersti Tarien Powell on John Banville and Henry James, Darren Borg also on John Banville, David Clare on Martin McDonagh, and Naomi Marklew on Ciaran Carson. The online edition of the issue will contain also the IASIL bibliography, and again I want to thank the superb efforts of Beatriz and her colleagues on the bibliography committee for the efficient and thorough work they have done in putting together the bibliography, and delivering it well ahead of schedule.

As we announced in Lille last year, Chris Murray has been succeeded as chair of the management board by Tony Roche, and we continue to be served very well by our former editors. It will be my last year as editor in 2016, after which Emilie Pine will take up the role. Our schedule of special issues for the next few years include the 2016 special issue on Irish poetic modernism, 2017 special issue on Irish memory studies, and 2018 special issue on Kate O’Brien.

We continue to enjoy an effective and fruitful partnership with Edinburgh University Press. I note that the press has retained the same price in euro for IASIL membership subscriptions for next year, which is good news. The press has also continued to manage our institutional subscriptions efficiently in a transitional period for academic publishing generally.

On behalf of the management board and the editorial boards of the Irish University Review, I would like to wish Matt, Emilie, Riona, and Bryan, and IASIL members, a very convivial and successful conference here in York, and I look forward to continuing to build our very strong and cherished relationship between the journal and the association.

  1. Collaboration with Breac Bibliography—information will be provided to the AGM of our discussion online across the year.
  2. General IASIL Promotion and Recruitment—amply covered in our financial discussion
  3. Any other business—none. The meeting closed.

Respectfully submitted,

Dawn Duncan