Minutes of the Annual General Meeting, 13 July 2000

University of Melbourne, Australia

Present: Jorge Arus Hita, Anthony Baldry, Jim Benson, Frances Christie, Kristin Davidse, Emilia Djonov, Robin P. Fawcett, Lenore Ferguson, Hiroshi Funamoto, Guo Libo, Carolyn Hartnett, Per Holmberg, Huang Huijian; Hisao Kakehi, Gerda Lauerbach, Seong-Woo Lee, Annabelle Lukin, Ursula McGowan, Bernard Mohan, Nina Norgaard, V. Prakasam, Louise Ravell, Erich Steiner, Masa-aki Tatsuki, Miriam Taverniers, Chris Taylor, Helen Tebble, Anne Thwaite, Eija Ventola, Geoff Williams, Lynne Young, Yu Dongming (32 total present)

1. Chairpersonís remarks:

Chair Kristin Davidse convened the meeting at 4:30 pm in Copland Theatre and welcomed all those present.

2. Comment on current congress:

Convenor Frances Christie reported 170 registrations for the full week. Additional registrants attended for a single day, especially Tuesday, the education day.

There was no workshop held. Attendance is more overseas than local because the local non-teaching week was rescheduled to clear the campuses for the Olympics.

We were able to share with other linguistics conferences here the expenses of having Charles Li and Malcolm Coulthard make plenary addresses.

Bursaries helped six participants to attend from Vietnam, China, India, Pakistan, and the Australian Systemic Linguistics group.

3. Minutes of the previous meeting:

The minutes were approved after Kristin Davidse summarized the actions taken then. Incoming officers were elected: Kristin Davidse as Chair, Geoff Williams as Deputy Vice Chair, Nan Fries as Membership Secretary, Peter Ragan as Recording Secretary, and Caroline Stainton (UK), William Greaves (North America), and Susan Feez (Australia) as Treasurers for their areas. International area representatives include Louise Ravelli, Michael Cummings, Erich Steiner, Masa-aki Tatsuki, Gordon Tucker, and Zhuanglin Hu.

Congresses were scheduled for Melbourne in 2000, Ottawa in 2001, Liverpool in 2002, Hyderabad in 2003, Kyoto in 2004, with 2005 open, probably for Australia although other locations are possible, such as Mendoza, Argentina.

4. Business arising from the minutes:


5. and 6. Treasurersí reports and reports of finances of previous meetings

Although none of the official treasurers were present, alternates made brief reports. Geoff Williams reported $6,693.89 in the Australian account, with $3000 given to Fran Christie for seed money; he expected $4,000 surplus from Singapore to be mailed to Australia. Fran said there was no excess of seed money to return from the current congress. Jim Benson reported no change in the Canadian account. Caroline Stainton sent a statement of 1,872.29 Pounds Sterling.

There was discussion of how much should be reserved for a possible conference loss and how much reserve could be invested in interest-bearing accounts.

7. Upcoming congresses

Lynne Young verified the information printed on page 7 of the current program book. The theme at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, July 22-28, 2001, will be "Interfaces: Systemic Functional Grammar and Critical Discourse Analysis." Speakers will include Ruqaiya Hasan; Norman Fairclough, Jay Lemke, and Frances Christie. There will be a summer school July 8 to 21, preceding it, like Glendonís. She has established a web site at

Geoff Thompson will convene the Liverpool congress in 2002, V. Prakasam the Hyderabad congress in 2003, and M. Tatsuki the congress in Kyoto, August 30 to September 4, 2004.

There was discussion on problems in transferring seed money and other local issues.

Jim Benson recommended that the Executive gather global information about the dates of the academic year teaching dates so that local planners could have information available to weigh the problems, such as weather. The precise dates would have to be a local decision.

Louise Ravelli formally invited the ISFLA congress to meet at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia in 2005. Her invitation was accepted. Jim Martin sent a message offering the University of Sydney for 2008 or 2009, 2010, or as needed, but it was agreed to avoid planning more than five years in advance.

8. Discussion about the rotation of congresses and international regional conferences

We need to be explicit about the cycle and procedures for implementing it. Because of the good news of our growth, the four-year cycle sometimes seems too short. We revised it in 1999 by accepting Kyoto for the 2004 venue. Other plans were discussed, such as a 4-year cycle; a 5-year cycle; and a flexible schedule with four years as the unmarked option and five years when a particularly attractive offer is made, which would move everything forward one year.

It was agreed that five years is not too long to plan ahead, but any longer is undesirable.

Annabelle Lukin and Geoff Williams moved that the location of congresses rotate on a four-year cycle in the order

...commencing with the 2000 Melbourne conference, but that there be provision for one (and only one) insertion of a different location per cycle, with the effect that the remaining elements of the cycle be moved forward one year.

And that proposals and/or offers to hold a congress be presented to the ISFC Executive by 30 April in order that they could be circulated to members and considered carefully before the Executive and Annual meetings.

The motion was accepted unanimously.

Geoff Williams said that the Australian association did not want Australia as the necessarily preferred country. It was suggested that the North American location be considered as the Americas, including places in south America, such as Brazil. Asia is a good floating location, making progress.

International regional conferences in emerging centers were discussed extensively. There was a great desire to foster them because they are important academically and socially. Evidence is the success of the Hyderabad meeting. Money was found to parachute in keynote speakers, some of whom went on to Singapore, then southern or northern China. Systemic linguists in West Africa and Hanoi should also be supported. Do regional meetings want help organizing or just speakers? Funding methods discussed included annual membership fees (which are complicated but not cost effective), donations to a separate account, using excess funds to sponsor local delegates, waiving registration fees, and other ideas. Bernie Mohan moved, and a unanimous vote agreed, that the Executive Committee consider how to support regional conferences and report to the next A. G. M.

9. Constitutional matters


10. Newsletter

It was concluded that it was time for the Executive Committee to reconsider Network Light. Only about 100 members lack e-mail, and it might be possible to mail them a hard copy.

11. Functions of Language

The journal began eight years ago covering compatible schools as well as Systemic Functional linguistics. Half of the subscriptions are outside of systemic centers. There is a great need for more subscriptions, especially institutional subscriptions, to satisfy the requirements of the publisher, John Benjamins. Suggestions included offering discounts for new subscriptions or three-year subscriptions.

Kristen Davidse expressed great appreciation for the large amount of editorial and graphics work done by Miriam Taverniers. Issue 7-1 is now in press. There will be no publication of conference proceedings, but current participants are urged to offer their presentation to Functions of Language.

12. Announcements of new publications

Besides the books launched on the evening of 10 July, Erich Steiner, Bernie Mohan, Eija Ventola, and Carolyn Hartnett have new books out. However, it was agreed in the interests of saving time now and in the future to cease reporting these at the A.G.M. and instead to list them on Sysfling with their tables of contents.

13. Any other business

Because Louise Ravelli wants to step down, it was agreed that the president of the Australian group, Geoff Williams, would become also the Australian representative to ISFLA.

Kristin Davidse expressed her thanks to many people: Previous Chair Bernie Mohan advised her. Previous Recording Secretary Carolyn Hartnett filled in for the absence of the new secretary, Peter Ragan. The Organising Committee did a superb job and deserve sincere thanks: Frances Christie, Kristina Love, Judith Bell-Towers, Sophie Arkoudis, Graeme Baker, Helen Jenkins, Brian Paltridge, Rosemary McLoughlin, and Helen Tebble.

The meeting was adjourned on time.

Respectfully submitted,

Carolyn Hartnett, Acting Recording Secretary