International Systemic Functional Linguistics Association
Annual General Meeting
12 December 2003
Thirty seven members attended the meeting, with the Chair, Geoff Williams, presiding.
Apologies were received from the Deputy Chair, Fang Yan, Minutes Secretary, Beverley Lewin, the ISFLA Australian Treasurer, Kathryn Tuckwell and the Membership Secretary, Mick O’Donnell.
The minutes of the previous Annual General meeting were accepted without amendment.
Prakasam reported that the Institute and Congress had been very successful, despite the complexity of having to move the meeting from Hyderabad to Lucknow and problems with international travel. The Institute had created a high level of interest amongst young scholars. He particularly thanked the co-convenor, Ram Akella, and the Institute teachers, together with many other colleagues who had worked in the background to ensure the success of the events. He indicated that plans were under weigh to hold further regional SFL meetings in India to support the interest created by the events.
The Chair reported that the Committee had resolved to provide some financial support for the Congress by covering the registration and accommodation expenses of scholarship holders. He noted that it had not been possible to provide seed funding for the congress because of legal constraints on the transfer of finance. Further, some financial support would enable the Association to retain sufficient funds to convene conferences in Indian regions in 2004. The precise extent of financial support was to be decided in discussion between Prakasam, Ram Akella, Robin Fawcett (the ISFLA European Treasurer) and himself.
The meeting endorsed the Committee’s decision.
a. 2004, Kyoto, Japan
Ichiro Kobayashi, on behalf of JASFLA, reported that planning was well-advanced for the 2004 congress in Kyoto. Detailed information is available at:
b. 2005, Sydney, Australia
Jim Martin reported that an organising committee had been meeting regularly since the last congress. The theme will be ‘Discourses of hope: peace, reconciliation, learning and change’. Posters and a website will be available shortly.
c. 2006, Brasil
d. 2007, Odense, Denmark
Uwe Helm Petersen reported (through the Chair) that the 2007 ISFC will be held at the University of Southern Denmark, Odense on the following dates:
· Summer School from Tuesday 10th to Saturday 14th of July
· ISFCongress from Monday 16th to Friday 20th of July.
e. 2008, Beijing, China
Huang Guowen presented an invitation, on behalf of Professors Luo Lisheng and Fang Yan, for the Association to hold the 2008 congress in Beijing at Tsinghua University at a date to be determined. The invitation was accepted by acclamation.
a. Financial support for the Mendoza Conference, April 2004
The Chair reported that during the year the organisers of the regional conference in Mendoza had requested some financial support. The Committee had decided to provide £500 sterling and $AUD1000 from the respective accounts.
The meeting endorsed this decision.
The report from the Treasurer for the Australian account, Kathryn Tuckwell, was received and is attached. Kathryn noted that the current balance is $ AUD13,024.72. Following the decision in 6.a., $AUD1000 is yet to be transferred to Mendoza. The Australian account was increased unexpectedly by $AUD1631.31 during the year, following recovery of unclaimed funds in a government trust account. (Details are provided in Kathryn’s statement.)
c. United Kingdom
The report from the Treasurer for the ‘UK’ account, Robin Fawcett, was received. Robin indicated that the current balance is £7215.63 sterling, comprising the amount formerly held in the Nottingham Building Society account, and surpluses from the Cardiff and Liverpool congresses. A new bank account had been established at the Tridos Bank, with himself and Gordon Tucker as the signatories. Robin tabled the most recent bank statement at the meeting for the Association’s records. From the current balance £500 sterling had been allocated to the Mendoza conference, as in 6.a.
On Robin’s recommendation, the meeting resolved that the account be referred to henceforth as the European ISFLA Account.
On behalf of the meeting the Chair thanked Robin for his efforts in resolving the longstanding problems in accessing the Association’s finances now safely deposited in this account.
d. North America
There was no report from the North American Association, but the Chair indicated that he was unaware of any change to the account.
Ernest Akerejola addressed the meeting about recent developments in the Nigerian Association, drawing attention to the rapid expansion of interest in SFL after he and colleagues had attended the Cardiff and Liverpool congresses. The Nigerian Association now plans to hold a regional conference in 2004 and, on its behalf, Ernest requested financial assistance from ISFLA towards travel expenses for, if possible, two international plenary speakers. These colleagues would also present workshops for teachers and other linguists.
The meeting resolved to provide financial support for the 2004 regional congress in Nigeria and requested the Committee to determine the amount that ISFLA could commit to this purpose.
The Chair noted that Marilyn Mohan, whose death we had mourned during the year, had been a very active supporter of the Association’s work and that many members had expressed their wish to find some way to commemorate her contribution, particularly to supporting the participation in congresses of members from developing countries. He had discussed ideas with Bernie Mohan, who indicated to the meeting his thanks for this acknowledgement.
The meeting resolved that each year one scholar who is invited to participate in a congress through the current levy scheme be designated the Marilyn Mohan Scholar. The Committee was asked to develop, in consultation with congress convenors, appropriate procedures for making this award, preferably in time for the 2004 Congress.
Jim Martin drew attention to the fact that increased use of PowerPoint (PP) presentations resulted in some participants having much less access to congress papers and references than was so when printed summaries had been distributed. He noted that this was a particularly serious problem in contexts where access to published resources in libraries was very restricted. Participants weren’t able to properly follow-up complex discussions, which they now heard and saw only fleetingly during PP presentations.
The meeting noted the seriousness of this problem. The Committee was asked to explore the potential of the website to provide access to PP presentations, and perhaps even key references for papers through linked pdf documents.
The meeting resolved to thank Nan and Peter Fries for their generous and very significant contribution to the Association’s work over several decades. The vote of thanks was carried by acclamation.
Because time for the meeting was limited no oral reports were received. A written report from the Australian President was tabled and is attached. Additionally, Huang Guowen reported on the rapid expansion of SFL research and teaching in China as part of his plenary paper.
The Chair suggested, following discussion with the European and Australian Treasurers, that in the near future it would be useful for the Association to receive more detailed financial reports from congress committees. This issue had become more significant as the complexity of the congresses, and the extent of the financial sums involved, had increased. However, it was also important to avoid restrictions on local flexibility and initiatives. He offered to discuss this matter with the Committee and perhaps to make ISFC 2005 in Sydney a test case for new financial reporting.
ISFLA Australian Treasurer's Report
Report to the ISFLA AGM, Lucknow, December 2003
The current balance of the Australian ISFLA account is AUD13,024.72 (as of the end of the last bank statement period, i.e. September 30, 2003).
Since the last report to the ISFLA committee (at the AGM in Liverpool in July 2002) there have been no withdrawals from the account, although we are currently arranging to transfer AUD1000 to the regional conference in Mendoza, Argentina, as agreed by the ISFLA committee via email in October.
In February 2003 the Australian account was boosted by a deposit of AUD1631.31. We were contacted late in 2002 by a solicitor who apparently specializes in finding (and restoring to the creditor) 'unclaimed monies' in old bank accounts that have been taken into trust by the government. The solicitor had located an old 'Network' account containing just under $2000. This money was in an account for subscriptions to 'Network' which had been administered by someone who left Australia but didn't pass on responsibility for the account to anyone else. The solicitor offered to claim the money on behalf of ISFLA for a 15% fee. We took up this offer, and in January 2003 received a cheque for just over $1600. The fee for this service was AUD297.87.
The only other thing to report regarding the Australian account is an administrative matter. Because the account is called a 'business management account', since April 1, 2003 we have been charged a flat fee of $20 per month that covers all electronic transactions, but not over-the-counter transactions (for which an additional fee is charged). This would obviously be a reasonable fee for an actual business that made numerous transactions, but since we rarely withdraw or deposit money, we are paying a lot for virtually no service. I am currently investigating whether we can change the fee structure so that we pay 'per transaction' rather than a flat monthly fee.
ISFLA Treasurer (Australia)
Centre for Language in Social Life
Department of Linguistics
Macquarie University NSW 2109
The professional activity of ASFLA continued to be energetic throughout 2003. In July, ASFLA hosted its National conference, “Extending Understandings and Applications in SFL” in Adelaide, organised by John Polias and Brian Dare. The conference was preceded by a series of two day workshops: one on Using the Resources of Appraisal in the Classroom (run by Sally Humphrey); one on Visual Grammar and Multiliteracies in the Primary and Secondary School (run by Len Unsworth); and one on Pedagogic Discourse in Primary Education (run by Geoff Williams). The conference itself drew a large number of teacher attendees from South Australia, where Brian and John have been working to establish SFL as a common metalanguage for mainstream and ESL primary and secondary teachers. Next year’s national conference will be held in Brisbane, Queensland, where, under the co-ordination of Lenore Ferguson, there will be a further push to attract teachers who are applying and researching with SFL, along with academics who are researching in a range of non-pedagogical areas. The strategy here is to expand our membership base to include more teachers as the cohort who have declined most in terms of numbers.
At the same time, ASFLA continues to engage substantially with research into other disciplinary fields, as evidenced in the topics of the regular seminars held at Sydney University and in the work coming out of the Centre for Language and Social Life at Macquarie University. ASFLA has also continued the trans-disciplinary dialogue initiated in the “Children’s Language: Conversations across disciplines”, “Language, Brain Culture” and “Exploring Semantics” conferences held over the last four years. Some papers from the first conference, together with invited contributions, will be published in April 2004 by Continuum, in a volume edited by Geoff Williams and Annabelle Lukin. Several papers from “Language Brain Culture” will be included in a special issue of the new journal ‘Language and the Human Sciences’, to appear in July 2005. In December 2004, Jim Martin and Frances Christie will host a conference to be held at the University of Sydney on the theme of Bernstein and SF theory. Invited international speakers are likely to be the sociologists, Joe Muller and Karl Maton.
Following the birth of her baby, Annabelle Lukin has recently resigned as editor of the ASFLA Newsletter and we are seeking a replacement. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Annabelle for her work on the newsletter and to wish her and the family all the best.
ASFLA’s budget is in a fairly healthy state, though income through membership is still declining. We continue to organise membership drives which will highlight the intellectual and professional benefits of joining the association, particularly for our teacher cohorts, who are declining most rapidly. Our new membership secretary, Marie Quinn, is working hard to promote the benefits of membership amongst lapsed and potential members alike. We will be expanding the capacity of the association’s web site, exploring, for example, the possibility of establishing a site for the celebration of research in progress and the publication of an in-house, refereed journal in which research students can publish their work. Maria Couchman is exploring this option. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank John Polias and Carl Nilsson-Polias for their continuing roles as Web masters for ASFLA’s web site, which we invite all international members to visit. Please note the change of address to http://www.lexised.com/asfla/