Minutes of the General Assembly of the XXVth Congress of the International Arthurian Society
Minutes of the General Assembly
of the XXVth Congress of the International Arthurian Society,
25 July, 2017, 5.00 pm -7.50 pm
President: Cora Dietl
Vice-President: Andrew Lynch
International Bibliographer: Raluca Radulescu, assisted by Nathanael Busch
General Secretary: Danièle James-Raoul
General Treasurer: Francis Gingras
The President, Cora Dietl, speaking for herself and on behalf of all the members of the Society, expressed her warm thanks to Brigitte Burrichter, the organiser of the Würzburg conference, and to her team.
2. Approval of the agenda
The President explained the need to modify the agenda that had been previously circulated to members. It was necessary to add to Item 4 as listed (Report of the Committee) a proposal to modify Clause IV of the Statutes of the IAS concerning the make-up of the International Committee: ‘IV. The Society shall be administered by an International Bureau [Committee], consisting of an International President, an International Vice-President, an International Secretary, an International Treasurer, and the Editor(s) of the Society’s principal publications.’ It would be proposed by the Committee that an officer responsible for electronic communication and the bibliographic database should be added to this list. The meeting accepted the change to the agenda and the change to the Statutes, should the addition of the position be approved by the meeting.
3. Approval of the minutes of the last General Assembly at Bucharest
The President asked the meeting to approve the minutes of the last General Assembly at Bucharest, which had been circulated to members. There was no discussion and the minutes were unanimously accepted.
4. Report of the International Committee
• The President read out the names of Arthurian colleagues who had died since the last IAS Congress (Bucharest, 2014): Carleton W. Carroll, Jeremy Duquesnay Adams, Alan Gaylord, Marc-René Jung, Masatoshi Kawasaki, Nicolas Lenoir, Peter Noble, Günther Rohr, Michael N. SaldA, William Snell, Imre Szabics, Alberto Varvaro.
The meeting observed a minute of silence in memory of these departed colleagues.
• Two national branches had new Presidents: Christine Ferlampin-Acher in the French branch; Paloma Gracia in the Hispanic branch. The President expressed her thanks and best wishes to them for their new positions. The President acknowledged the first Arthurian symposium of the Hispanic branch, organised by Paloma Gracia in Grenada, February 2015, on ‘Rewriting Arthurian matter: Homage to Harvey L. Sharrer’. She encouraged others to follow this example.
• Arthurian colleagues in the Czech Republic have announced their wish to create a new branch, depending on the number of available members. The project will be pursued, and reported on at a later stage.
• At 25 July 2017, the number of registered members of the IAS stands at 841. The figure refers to members who had paid their subscriptions by this date. It is fairly stable, slightly lower than the corresponding figure at the same time in 2014. From 2014, the membership lists which the Society uses have contained only the names of paid subscribers, as submitted to De Gruyter. Up to then, the Society calculated its annual global membership from the lists of members provided by the various national branches. These lists contained the names of some former members and other sympathisers who were not currently subscribed. There were 1108 members listed in the IAS annual count in 2013. In spring 2014, the number of paid subscribers through De Gruyter fell to 866. As well 57 subscribers asked for a print version of BBIAS, and it is not known if all or some of these were included in the total membership count at the time.
It was suggested that each national branch might keep two mailing lists: one for paid-up subscribers, and a larger one including others who showed an interest in the Society and might become financial members in the future.
• Nine bursaries of $CAN300 each, were awarded to help postgraduate students attend and take part in the Würzburg Congress. These were selected from twenty-one applications by a group drawn from the International Committee (C. Dietl, A. Lynch and Fr. Gingras). Priority was given to applicants presenting a paper. The nine awarded were: Matteo Cambi, Laura Endress, Ana Keck, Audrey Martin, Hanneli Seppänen, Gabriele Sorice, Matouš Turek, Maurita Van Droogenboek, Xiezhien Zhao. The President and the meeting congratulated the recipients.
• The duty currently held by Raluca Radulescu was onerous. Her editorial responsibility included both the bibliography (BBIAS) and the journal (JIAS). The International Committee informed the membership of the need to divide responsibility for these tasks, and to create a position dedicated to the Bibliography alone, as permitted in the Statutes.
• The Committee also proposed to create a new position of ‘Digital Supervisor’, to oversee the workings of the bibliographical database and the website, while the International Committee retained responsibility for the content of the website. It would be necessary to change the Statutes to introduce this position. The first sentence of § IV in our statutes would then become: ‘IV. The Society shall be administered by an International Bureau, consisting of an International President, an International Vice-President, an International Secretary, an International Treasurer, the Editor(s) of the Society’s principal publications (see § XI below), and the Digital Supervisor’.
The meeting voted unanimously in favour of this motion, with one abstention.
5. Treasurer’s report
Francis Gingras presented the Treasurer’s report. The Society had a credit balance at 31 June 2017 of $CAN31,606.01, This followed a credit balance of $CAN39,778.92 on 30 June 2014). The IAS is in good financial health, but no longer has contingency reserves, taking account of the charges for De Gruyter, $CAN20,143.20 in 2017. The report’s cut-off of accounts at 30 June 2017 means that not all members of the Society had paid their subscriptions for this year by that date. Some latecomers will increase the numbers in the coming months. A drop in subscriptions in some national branches is noticeable, which suggests that expenditure should be carefully watched over the coming years. To avoid the problem of banking fees for international transfers that some members have experienced, a Paypal account for the IAS should be established.
The report was unanimously approved by the meeting, and Francis Gingras was thanked for his efficiency and dedication in looking after the Society’s finances.
6. Report of the Vinaver Trust
Jane Taylor presented on behalf of the Vinaver Foundation. Founded in 1981, it has since given financial support to numerous projects, bursaries and publications in the three languages of the IAS (English, French, German), and to various editors in ten different countries. Lately, the capital has begun to decrease. The Foundation has decided to dip into capital to be able to continue its work, but is looking to increase its holdings. It is therefore launching an appeal to the generosity of members and others for donations.
The President thanked Jane Taylor and the Vinaver Foundation for their fine work, and wished well to the appeal.
7. Report on the Society’s archives
Raluca Radulescu presented on the Arthurian ‘Centre de Documentation’ dedicated to the archives of the IAS. It was desirable to install the archives at Bangor, because the Centre for Arthurian Studies was already established there. So far, thirty-odd cartons of documents, papers and books had been received and required cataloguing. Advanced and doctoral students will undertake this work. The funding is mainly from the British branch, but other branches would be able to add to it in the years to come. The idea is to collect all useful archives from all the IAS branches.
The meeting wished Raluca Radulescu well with this excellent enterprise and thanked her for her initiative.
8. Essay prize
As in 2015, a competition for the JIAS essay was organised, in Spring of this year. Every two years, a prize for the best essay entry is offered, open to all. The winner has his or her essay published in JIAS. A sum of money equivalent to $CAN301.90 and an annual subscription are also awarded.
In 2017, the winner is Dr Clara Wille, from the Swiss branch. Her essay is entitled ‘Matthæus und die Königinnen. Der Kommentar des Matthæus Parisiensis zu den Prophetia Merlini des Geoffrey of Monmouth’. It will be published in the next issue of JIAS. The President, on behalf of the whole Society, congratulated Dr Wille, whose success was warmly applauded by the meeting.
9. Future of the Arthurian Bibliography / Database
The Bibliographical Bulletin (BBSIA) has existed since 1949. All numbers between 1949 and 2002 have been scanned and digitised over several years, on the initiative of Christine Ferlampin-Acher.
Since 2013, the publication of the bulletin has been entrusted to De Gruyter (as with JIAS), appearing in digital form, unless there is a particular request for a print copy. The question has arisen whether this arrangement should continue, or if it should be replaced by the creation of an online database which would belong to the Society and not require the services of De Gruyter.
Nathanael Busch presented on an ongoing research project to prepare an online bibliographical database, which would replace the BBIAS. He has conducted this project over recent years with the support of his university (Siegen) and the International Committee. In the future, the database could be sponsored by research foundations: Nathanael has been writing various applications. Members asked about the long-term viability and maintenance of the database site. Bart Besamusca pointed out that books last longer than websites. Kathy Krause proposed that each year a paper version of the database entries should be conserved in the archives of the IAS at Bangor. The meeting voted unanimously in favour of this motion.
After further discussion, a majority of the meeting (4 against, 10 abstentions) voted to end the existing BBIAS and establish the bibliographical database.
10. Selection of a conference venue for 2020
Two candidacies were offered as the site of the next IAS Congress in 2020: from the the University of Catania (Italy), presented by Gaetano Lalomia, Eliana Creazzo, Barbara Ferrari et Maria Colombo; and from the University of Granada (Spain), presented by Paloma Gracia and Juan Miguel Zarandona. As the presentations showed, both possibilities were highly attractive. Since there was no suggestion of another site forthcoming, the decision was put to a secret ballot of those present at the meeting. The majority vote was for Catania as the host of the next IAS Congress. The dates of the Congress are 20-25 July, 2020.
11. Selection of themes for IAS 2020
The following themes for IAS 2020 were proposed to the meeting:
Altérités arthuriennes / Arthurian Alterities / Arthurische ‘Andersheit’.
Iconographies arthuriennes / Arthurian Iconographies / Arthurische Ikonographie
Redire, reprendre et répéter / Retelling, resumption, repeating / Wiedererzählen, Wiederaufnahme, Wiederholung
Le paratexte dans les manuscrits arthuriens / Paratexts in Arthurian manuscripts / Paratexte in Artus-Handschriften
Les lieux de l’émotion arthurienne / Places of Arthurian emotion / Räume der Emotion im Artusroman
Médiévalisme / Medievalism / Mittelalterrezeption
The meeting voted unanimously in favour of adopting these themes for the next IAS Congress in Catania.
12. Election of a new International Committee
Nominations for the IAS International Committtee for the next three years were put forward by the President. No further nominations were received from those attending the meeting. The following office-bearers were unanimously elected by the meeting:
Andrew Lynch, President
Danièle James-Raoul, Vice-President
Leah Tether, Editor of JIAS, assisted by Samantha Rayner pour adjointe
Nathanael Busch, Bibliographer
Brigitte Burrichter, Secretary
Isabelle Arseneau, Treasurer
To this list will be added a ‘Digital Supervisor’ who will be chosen in due course by the International Committee. NOTE: The position has since been filled by Dr Bonnie Millar (Nottingham).
Warm and unanimous thanks were given to retiring members of the International Committee: Cora Dietl (President), Francis Gingras (Treasurer) et Raluca Radulescu (Editor, BBIAS and JIAS).
13. Other Business and Thanks
According to tradition, Cora Dietl, retiring president of IAS, will become an Honorary President of the Society.
Brigitte Burrichter and her splendid conference team were warmly thanked for their dedication and energy in making the ongoing XXVth IAS Congress a notable success.
The meeting closed at 7.50 pm.