IASIL AGM 2017 Agenda and Minutes

IASIL Annual General Meeting Agenda

Friday 28 July 2017, 15:30-16:30

NTU Singapore, Hive LT


  1. Chair’s address
  2. Minutes of Cork meeting
  3. Secretary’s report
  4. Treasurer’s report
  5. Future Conferences: 2018 and 2019
  6. Bibliography subcommittee report
  7. IASIL postgraduate activities
  8. Scholarship subcommittee
    1. Report on 2017
    2. Decision for 2018
  9. Report from IUR representative
  10. Reports from IASIL representatives
  11. Collaboration with Breac Bibliography
  12. General IASIL Promotion and Recruitment
  13. Any other business




1 Chair’s address – Ondřej Pilný

First, I would like to extend gratitude on behalf of IASIL to NTU Singapore, and particularly to Neil Murphy and his team (Daniel Jernigan, Richard Barlow, Michelle Wang, Guinevere Barlow, Derek Hand and Keith Hopper) for hosting the 41st IASIL conference. Neil and his colleagues accepted an invitation that came at a relatively short notice, and created a truly wonderful academic and cultural programme featuring three prominent keynote speakers and an entire host of acclaimed Irish writers. The conference will be a true feast of contemporary literature, and through a collaboration with the Singapore Writers Festival will feature a most welcome introduction to a range of exciting local authors as well.

Preparations for the 2018 conference that will take place at Radboud University, Nijmegen in the Netherlands (23-27 July) are well under way. Gratitude is due to Marguérite Corporaal and her team, who have been diligently working towards hosting the event. The conference theme will be  “Reimagining Traditions”; preliminary information and a call for papers will be presented at the AGM later this week.

Shortly after the Cork conference, we embarked on a rehaul of the IASIL website in an attempt to make it more user-friendly and up-to-date in terms of design, addressing a number of vital technological issues in the process. My thanks go to the Secretary, Clíona Ó Gallchoir, for the amount of work that this involved, and to Donna Alexander for providing expertise as a web designer. The new website is up and running now, and suggestions concerning functionality and further updates are welcome.

Early into my first year in office, I discussed what IASIL can do for postgraduate students with our Postgraduate Representative, Rebecca Graham. As a result, IASIL supported a postgraduate seminar that Rebecca organised at UCD in May, a welcome lunch and networking session was set up for the Singapore conference, which will be followed by a panel session focused on publishing the results of research (I am grateful to Emilie Pine for co-presenting the session with me). Further plans include the establishment of a regular PhD forum that would enable our postgraduate members to present their work in progress and receive feedback from senior scholars during our conferences. A subcommittee will need to be set up for the purpose in order to facilitate a pilot run of the forum, ideally at the Nijmegen conference next year.

As in the last few years, a call went out for scholarship applications to present graduate work at our conference, together with a call for donations from IASIL members. The Scholarships Committee decided to award the Werner Huber memorial scholarship to Emma Penney (UCD); through the generosity of the conference organisers at NTU, it became possible also to fund the airfares for the two next placed applicants, John Singleton (NUIG) and Caroline Eufrausino (São Paulo U). However, as the call for donations regrettably produced minimal results, and as the support of young members of the academic community is a top priority for IASIL, alternative ways of funding scholarships in the future will have to be considered and put into effect.

A new three-year contract between IASIL and the IUR was signed following the discussions at the Cork conference. We appreciate the constructive and accommodating approach of Edinburgh University Press that has allowed us to set the price and number of copies subscribed to by IASIL in cost-efficient fashion. Gratitude is also due to John Brannigan and Emilie Pine for effecting a smooth transition to the new editorial team, and for their sterling work on the journal.

Subsequent to last year’s discussions with the representatives of the Breac journal, a contract was drafted that will allow Breac to include data from the IASIL bibliography in their database. IASIL will retain ownership of the data, will be able to use it in other digitisation projects, and the data sourced out from its bibliography will be marked as such by Breac. The contract will be signed subject to approval by the AGM.

Work has commenced on compiling an IASIL chronicle, to be launched on the fiftieth anniversary of the Association in 2019. My personal thanks go to Colin Smythe for sharing an amount of information on the early years of IASIL and providing numerous materials, and to Margaret Kelleher who undertook the gargantuan task of examining the twenty-four boxes of items deposited by the association at the UCD archives. Further materials and information from IASIL members past and present will be very welcome at any stage.

Last but certainly not least, this year marks the transition of the office of Treasurer from Tina O’Toole to Christina Morin, as per last year’s election. I would like to give heartfelt thanks to Tina O’Toole for being our Treasurer for a number of years, keeping a keen eye on all our transactions, and always being a shrewd manager. I am very grateful to Tina Morin for her readiness to take on the job.

Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to Margaret Kelleher and Dawn Duncan for their advice on the job of the Chairperson and the general logistics of IASIL, and to all Executive members for their support, without which my initial period in the office would have been considerably more difficult.


2. Minutes of Cork meeting

Proposed by T. O’Toole; seconded by Alexandra Poulain. Approved.

No matters arising.


3. Secretary’s report – submitted by Clíona Ó Gallchoir

As this is my first year as IASIL Secretary and website manager I would like to begin by thanking former Secretary Dawn Duncan who was very helpful to me before and during the handover period. The transition has I hope gone relatively smoothly. I would also like to thank Lucy Imbusch for her exemplary efficiency in managing the membership subscriptions and enabling me to give the members access to the website and mailing list. My Executive Committee colleagues, Ondřej Pilný and Tina O’Toole have also been very helpful to me in this first year. I look forward to work with the new Treasurer Tina Morin as she steps into the role this year.

IASIL News, Weekly Email Digest and Social Media

The usual tasks of adding news items to the site, sharing these via social media (Facebook and Twitter) and ensuring that members receive the weekly email digest have continued as normal.

Duration of memberships

IASIL membership is based on the calendar year, but there has traditionally been a practice of allowing members to have website access for 12 months from the date of joining or renewal. This means in effect that members receive the weekly email news digest up to 6 months after their actual membership has expired, with a cut off just before the conference. This year we have introduced a cut-off of 30 April, as this coincides roughly with when the current membership list is sent to EUP for the distribution of the first issue of the IUR. As the manager of the website, I am however open to the committee’s views on what the best option would be.


The major task that was undertaken this year as part of the duties of Secretary and website manager was to improve the appearance and also the stability of the website. Due to historic issues in the handover from Chris Berchild, an earlier website manager, password access to some key functions of the existing site had been lost and this made it impossible to update certain features. For this reason, the decision was taken to move the entire site to a new WordPress template that could be regularly updated and backed up. I managed this with the technical assistance of Donna Alexander, for a cost of €250. I would like to acknowledge that in spite of the fact that we had no ongoing site maintenance contract with Vermillion Design, John O’Brien at Vermillion was very helpful in offering assistance and advice about the transfer to a new template, at no cost.

The process of improving the website and its functionality is however still ongoing. There are some glitches on the site, in that the ‘Forgot Password’ link does not appear to work. I have always been able to resolve these problems when members contact me directly, but making sure the automated link works would of course be preferable.

The current hosting service is also unsatisfactory and there is a strong case for moving to a new service. My own technical skills are limited to the more basic functions and therefore in order to achieve these and other improvements, a small annual outlay on technical assistance would in my view be a wise investment.


O Pilný informed the meeting that a small annual sum for essential technical assistance for the website had been agreed at the ECM.


4. Treasurer’s report – submitted by Tina O’Toole

a) Accounts Audited Accounts 31 May 2017 (see Appendix 2-3)

b) Paid-up Membership (without IASIL Japan members[1])

(see Appendix 1 for regional distribution by country)

Paid up to date                           


2017     (Singapore)      318                  (incl. 96 students, 4 honorary members)

2016    (Cork)              392                   (incl. 103 students, 37 3-year, 4

honorary/life members[2])

2015     (York)              318                  (incl. 43 students, 23 3-year memberships)

2014     (Lille)               390                   (incl. 77 students, 65 3-year memberships,

20 couples, 4 honorary/life members)

2013     (Belfast)           366                   (incl. 72 students, 17 couples, 4

honorary/life members)

2012     (Montréal)       358                   (incl. 77 students)

2011    (Leuven)          333                  (incl. 74 students,

2010    (Maynooth)      405                  (incl. 71 students)

2009     (Glasgow)        378

2008     (Porto)             419

2007     (Dublin)           519



Membership remains more or less consistent over recent years, although it has dipped a little this year; student numbers are strong, due to our efforts to encourage membership among students and early career scholars (as per Executive decision two years ago to extend student membership rate for three years post-PhD). Following the success of last year’s postgraduate workshop during the conference, IASIL Postgraduate Representative, Rebecca Graham, organised a day conference in Dublin in May as well as a workshop at this conference; such events continue to engage the interest of early career scholars in the field to good effect when it comes to our membership profile.


The very successful scholarship drive of 2015/2016 meant that our scholarship awards were covered by donations last year; this is reflected in our relatively strong financial position following last year’s conference. However, this success has not been repeated this year (we took in only €395 for the Werner Huber scholarship). If IASIL is serious about attracting scholarship funding, then it will be necessary for some members of Executive to assume responsibility for bringing in this kind of income. In 2015/16 Margaret and Tina made concerted efforts to do this for the Margaret MacCurtain scholarship and it was a real success but without that kind of input we clearly cannot expect the same level of revenue from donors.

Conference expenses

IASIL usually funds the attendance of the President, Secretary, and Treasurer at the annual conference to a total of €500 apiece. However, last year only Dawn’s conference expenses were paid; Margaret was in a position to fund herself and Tina chose to hold over her 2016 conference expenses and put them toward this year’s trip instead (i.e. the latter will appear on next year’s balance sheet and should really be included in this year’s deficit). In addition, Ondřej asked that €500 be contributed toward the attendance of the IASIL PG Rep, Rebecca Graham, at the Singapore conference (this was supported solely on the basis of the conference expenses being out of the ordinary for Irish-based delegates this year).


Payment and membership procedures

PayPal is working fine from the perspective of collecting membership subscriptions. However, the recurring aspect of the payment – which is a good thing for IASIL in that it keeps our membership income consistent – is still causing difficulties for some members. Those members who chose to pay their annual membership sub earlier than the due date set by their recurring payment last year subsequently found that PayPal had debited their account twice (i.e. automatically paid on the day it fell due as well). We refunded at once and alerted members to this when sending out membership reminders in January but some people still seem to be confused by it. Membership subscription procedures and follow-up access to website working smoothly, thanks to Lucy Imbusch and Clíona Ó Gallchoir.

c) Membership & Fees

Income:                                    €13,945

Outgoings:                               €14,236


Deficit                                     (€291)

Closing bank balance               €17,452


While we don’t have the high deficit of previous years, income and expenditure are still not breaking even. Our income dropped this year, we took in €15,068 last year; the difference can be attributed to scholarship income last year. However, we have been successful in bringing expenditure down and the lower cost of print copies of the Irish University Review supports our reasonably healthy balance sheet this year.



Payments for IUR fully up to date; €8,727 paid in total.


Thanks to Lucy Imbusch, Ondřej Pilný, Clíona Ó Gallchoir, and Shaun Richards.


T. O’Toole noted that the updated membership figure for 2017 was 330, a slight increase on the 318 specified in the written report. The membership for 2016 was notably higher at 392, but this was consistent with a pattern of higher membership figures when the conference was held in Ireland.

T. O’Toole also stressed the importance of donations from members for the scholarships, and drew attention to the fact that cash donations could be made at the meeting and during the conference, thanks to the help and cooperation of the Singapore organizing committee.

O. Pilný announced that following the 2017 conference, T. O’Toole would be stepping down as IASIL Treasurer, having served for 4 years. On behalf of the Executive, he thanked T. O’Toole and presented her with a gesture of appreciation. He welcomed Tina Morin as the new IASIL Treasurer.


5. Future Conferences: 2018 and 2019

O. Pilný expressed apologies on behalf Marguérite Corporaal, who was unable to attend, and presented the slideshow outlining the plans for IASIL 2018 in Nijmegen, including an encouragement of presenting work on Irish-language authors.


The 2018 organizing committee were congratulated for very well-developed plans. Appreciation was expressed for the low costs involved for postgraduates.

O. Pilný informed the meeting that the lack of gender balance among plenary speakers proposed for the 2018 conference had been raised and discussed at the ECM. He confirmed that the need for gender balance would be communicated to organizing committees in future.

Delegates were reminder that the 2019 conference would be held at TCD, where Tom Walker is the chair of the organizing committee. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of IASIL.


6. Bibliography subcommittee report – presented by Beatriz Kopschitz Bastos, Chair

  • As chair of the Bibliography subcommittee report, B. Kopschitz Bastos reported that the Bibliography had been completed, and thanked all the country and area representatives for their contributions.
  • Kopschitz Bastos announced that although she would be overseeing the Bibliography for 2017-18, she would then be stepping down and would consult with O. Pilný about a successor. It would be important for the next chair to take the Bibliography into the digital age.


O Pilný thanked B. Kopschitz Bastos for agreeing to stay on as Chair for an additional year.


7. IASIL postgraduate activities

Report on the IASIL Postgraduate Seminar – submitted by Rebecca Graham, Postgraduate Representative

On 12th May 2017, I organised and chaired a one-day postgraduate seminar in the Humanities Institute in University College Dublin. The Humanities Institute generously provided a seminar room free of charge for the day and advertised the event on social media.

The seminar included five sessions with a total of six speakers. The first session was a postgraduate discussion forum, similar to the event which was organised at the IASIL conference in 2016. The forum provided an informal space for attendees to discuss issues and learn more about IASIL as an association and what it does to support postgraduates and early career researchers. It emerged in this discussion that most attendees learned about this event through social media and that they knew very little about IASIL before attending the event. The attendees were interested in learning about the IASIL scholarships for conferences and showed an interest in attending IASIL conferences in the future. Though the expense of Singapore was raised as a major factor preventing postgraduates from attending.

The discussion forum was followed by a talk by Christabel Scaife, Senior Commissioning Editor at Peter Lang. At the IASIL 2016 postgraduate forum, the issue of publishing was raised as a major concern. Many postgraduates feel pressure to publish articles and to have a book proposal accepted to be able to apply for post-doctoral positions. Ms Scaife gave an informative and detailed talk about academic publishing, about opening a dialogue with perspective publishers, about writing book proposals, and about the process involved in turning a PhD thesis into a publishable manuscript.

Ms Scaife was followed by Dr Emilie Pine, who discussed digital approaches to archival research, and its usefulness as a method of research and to engage with wider communities outside of academia. Dr Pine’s discussion was very productive and revealed the ways in which digital approaches to literary research can yield different and exciting perspectives. Dr Pine also answered questions in relation to her role as Editor of the Irish University Review, and encouraged postgraduates to apply. She outlined some common mistakes made by researchers when submitting articles to journals.

The following session was a roundtable about postdoctoral research with three postdoctoral researchers, Dr Shonagh Hill (UCD), Dr Alison Garden (UCD), and Dr Amy Prendergast (TCD). This was an informal session in which the contributors discussed applying for postdoctoral positions, gave tips on filling out application forms and how to present your research achievements in positive ways, answered questions about the kinds of research projects that are successful, and prepared us for the failures which they said were an evitable part of academia.

The final session was a talk by Dr Lucy Collins who discussed the evolving representations of space and place in modern Irish writing, to consider the ways in which Irish texts have represented and imagined landscapes, and been shaped in turn by geographical and environmental concerns. Dr Collins’ talk gave an insight into two burgeoning areas of critical research in Irish studies, that of ecocriticism and transnationalism. Following her talk, Dr Collins very generously spent time discussing the attendees’ own research projects and how they were progressing, and gave them feedback and advice.

The number of attendees at the seminar event was low at twelve. However, I learned on the day that this was due to my failure to advertise the event early enough. I was informed that more people would have like to come had they been given more notice. Though there was only a small number of attendees the event was a success. The small number allowed for more informal discussions and gave all attendees opportunities to ask questions and make comments throughout the day. Over lunch attendees enthusiastically discussed the talks and made new acquaintances in the process. It was unanimously felt that more events such as this would be welcomed.



R. Graham emphasised how useful and helpful the event had been, and expressed her thanks to the Humanities Institute in UCD, and to Lucy Collins, Emilie Pine, Clíona Ó Gallchoir and Margaret Kelleher. She also reported that Yen Chi Wu, a postgraduate student at UCD, had been very active in keeping the IASIL Facebook page updated.

O. Pilný informed the meeting that the IASIL Executive had agreed to support R. Graham’s travel costs for Singapore. A policy on support for the postgraduate representative was necessary, and it had been agreed at the ECM that the IASIL officers were authorized to make a decision on this. Eve Kearney expressed appreciation for R. Graham’s work on behalf of postgraduates and also said that the IASIL Facebook page was a very useful source of information.


8. Scholarship subcommittee – report submitted by Shaun Richards


a) 2017 Report

This year there were 19 applicants. However the referees of 5 of them did not supply references – on time or at all (of these 3 were from Ireland one was from the US, and one from Italy).  Of the remaining 14 there were 7 from Ireland, 3 from France, 3 from the UK and 1 from Brazil. This is a narrower geographical spread than last year and the absence of US applicants compared to previous years is noteworthy (barring, of course, the incomplete application). It is also the case that no new countries are appearing and the dominant countries for applications year-on-year remain Ireland and the UK.

Scoring was very tight at the top because of the quality of the candidates but the panel agreed in awarding the scholarship to Emma Penney of UCD. It had been intended to award two scholarships – the IASIL scholarship and another in memory of Werner Huber. However the appeal for this did not raise sufficient funds and so it was agreed that the one scholarship offered would be called the Werner Huber scholarship.  However, in addition to waiving fees for post-grads presenting papers, the conference organisers at Nanyang Technical University generously agreed to fund the airfares for the two next placed applicants, John Singleton of NUIG and Caroline Eufrausino of São Paulo.

For the 2018 conference it would be helpful in terms of the wording of the call for scholarship applications if the organisers could say as early as possible if they will follow the practice of recent years in waiving conference fees for postgraduates presenting papers. Details of costs of accommodation and conference dinner would also be helpful when they are available so that accurate calculations as to overall costs of a scholarship can be made.

My thanks to the panel – Laura Izzara, Jose Lanters, Ondřej Pilný, and Tina O’Toole for hitting all the deadlines.


O. Pilný congratulated the 2017 Scholarship winner, Emma Penney, and the runners up, John Singleton and Caroline Eufrausino. He also acknowledged the scholarship made available by IASIL Japan, which was not awarded ultimately because the winner became ineligible.

Emma Penney expressed her thanks for the opportunity to attend IASIL and encouraged members to contribute to the fund, as it had been a very valuable experience.

b) Decision for 2018

One scholarship will be advertised for IASIL 2018. If there are sufficient funds, more than one scholarship will be awarded.  To that end, further ways of contributing towards the scholarship fund will be introduced, such as the option to “top up” the membership payment on PayPal by a small contribution, or donating by bank transfer.


9. Report from IUR representative – submitted by Emilie Pine, editor.

Editor’s Report, July 2017

Editorial Team

In January the editorial roles for the IUR changed and the new editorial team are:

Editor: Emilie Pine (UCD)

Assistant Editor: Lucy Collins (UCD)

Books Editor: Paul Delaney (TCD)


47.3: Writing from Northern Ireland

As part of the editorial changeover, it was decided to publish an unprecedented extra issue in 2017, volume 47.3. Given the political context of Brexit, and the recent deaths of Seamus Heaney and Brian Friel, the Management Board agreed to the extra issue on the theme of ‘Writing from Northern Ireland’. This issue is in addition to the normal Autumn/Winter ‘General’ issue, and the two will be published simultaneously. There will be no extra cost for the extra issue to subscribers, and the costs are being shared by the IUR and Edinburgh University Press.

General Issue Cover: In May/June, we ran a competition to ‘choose the cover’ and had many submissions of original artwork. The successful submission is a 1923 drawing by Countess Markievicz from a private collection.

Submissions: The journal is considering changing its submission system to an online format, which is being trialled currently by EUP.

The editorial team would like to see increased submissions in the areas of women’s writing and writing from outside the 20th century.

Special Issues: the 2017 Special Issue (47.1 Spring/Summer) was on ‘Moving Memory’ and was launched in May by Catriona Crowe. Future special issues include Kate O’Brien (2018) and Eco-Criticism (2019). Since 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of the journal’s founding, the editorial team are currently considering how best to mark this!

IUR and IASIL: the relationship between the IUR and IASIL continues to be a vital and important connection for the journal – not only in terms of subscriptions and readership, but in terms of submissions to the journal for essays and special issue proposals. We will be appointing a social media manager for the IUR and we hope that social media support for each other will further help to develop this relationship. The bibliography will, as usual, be published on the IUR website.


C. Ó Gallchoir expressed apologies on behalf of E. Pine, who was unable to attend, and summarized the contents of the report.


10. Reports from IASIL representatives

The reports were tabled. C. Ó Gallchoir raised the idea of asking representatives in subsequent years to submit blog-style items on events that could be included in the News section of the website.


11. Collaboration with Breac Bibliography

C Ó Gallchoir reported on progress, which was slower than anticipated due to the need to arrive at a formal agreement between IASIL and Breac. O. Pilný confirmed that this proposed collaboration did not preclude other collaborations, e.g. Edinburgh UP had also expressed interested in digitizing back numbers of the Bibliography.


12. General IASIL Promotion and Recruitment

O. Pilný thanked everyone for ongoing efforts to promote IASIL.


13. Any other business

Britta Olinder remarked that the conference had been very successful, with plenaries and papers of a high quality, and that presentation and audibility were generally very good. She encouraged presenters to be mindful of ensuring that Powerpoint presentations were clear and legible. She expressed concern about the dearth of panels on women writers, and noted that it was important for teachers and researchers not to limit the range of material discussed or to contribute to the narrowing of the canon. O. Pilný welcomed these remarks but noted that the Executive is not in a position to prescribe the contents of papers. B. Olinder responded that the issue was awareness.

Youngmin Kim welcomed the strong participation by delegates from a number of Asian countries, facilitated by the location in Singapore. He also congratulated the organizers on the excellent programme of readings and the inclusion of local authors. He suggested that the success of the conference might be built on by having IASIL regional conferences in Asia. O. Pilný welcomed these remarks and reiterated how delighted the IASIL committee was to have had the opportunity to hold a conference again in Asia.


Respectfully submitted,

Clíona Ó Gallchoir

[1] Total does not include our Japanese members who have their own organisation, however, we did receive a list of Japanese members this year, totalling 133 (much the same as last year).

[2] Life members: Maurice Harmon; Heinz and Gillian Kosok. Honorary member: Margaret McCurtain.