Minutes of ISFLA Annual General Meeting

Date: 19th July 2007

Venue: University of Southern Denmark


Attendance: Chris Taylor, Frances Christie, Carol Taylor, Eija Ventola, Kay O’Halloran, Inger Lassen, David Banks, Geoff Thompson, Christian Matthiessen, Kazu Teruya, Alex Peng, Xueyan Yang, Jim Martin, Sue Hood, Carlos Gouveia, Mick O’Donnell, Mike Cummings, Erich Steiner, Bernard Mohan, Gillian Moss, Elizabeth Thompson, Robin Fawcett, M. A. K. Halliday, Cecilia Colombi, Victoria Magariños.


Meeting declared open (Cecilia Colombi, ISFLA Chair) – 5.30 pm


1.      Apologies: L. Barbara, W. Bowcher, B. Derewianka, A. Hansen, Guowen Huang, M. Schleppegrell, B. Smith, G. Williams.


2.      Minutes of ISFLA Annual General Meeting – 33rd ISFC – Sao Paulo, Brazil

Accepted after some clarification of Mick O’Donnell’s proposal for reform of the Constitution.

Both Mick O’Donnell’s proposal and the minutes were unanimously accepted.


3.      Report on ISFC Congresses

35 ISFC Sydney, Australia (2008) Christian Matthiessen announced that the pre-conference school would be held during the week of 14th-19th of July at the University of New South Wales and the conference would take place at Macquarie University from 21st to the 26th of July. Prior to the conference, Kay O’Halloran is hosting the 4th International Conference on Multimodality in Singapore.


36 ISFC Beijing, China (2009) The pre-conference courses are to be held at  University. No date has been set yet. The conference is to be hosted jointly by Beijing Normal University and Tsinghua University. The theme will be ‘Challenges to SFL: Theory and Applications’ and the official languages will be English and Chinese. The organizing committee will soon start working on the details.


37 ISFC Vancouver, Canada (2010) Geoff Williams had reported to Cecilia Colombi that the pre-conference institutes will take place in the week commencing 12th July 2010. The congress itself will start on Sunday evening 18th July and end on Friday 23rd July.


38 ISFC Lisbon, Portugal (2011) Lisbon’s offer to hold the conference in 2011 was supported at the last European Conference. Carlos Gouveia reported that the facilities are suitable. Cecilia Colombi put the motion that the 2011 conference be held in Lisbon to the vote. The motion was carried.


Frances Christie asked where to hold the conference in Australia in 2011. It was suggested to hold it at the University of Adelaide, where Peter White is. This is to be discussed with Peter White.


Eija Ventola reminded the participants that the European meeting for 2008 is to be held in Helsinki between the 5th and the 7th of June. She requested that the news be spread.



4.      The Halliday Centre for Intelligent Applications of Language Studies (HCLS) – upcoming institutes and conference


M A K Halliday reported on the upcoming First HCLS Conference to take place at the City University of Hong Kong. The topic of the conference will be ‘Becoming a World Language: The Role of English, Chinese and Spanish’. The topic is to be explored from a linguistic point of view. The aim is to examine what the process of becoming global means. The conference is open to contributions regarding the three languages mentioned and others. The conference is to be held between the 5th and the 7th December in Hong Kong. Prior to the conference a pre-conference school is to be held dealing with Systemic concepts and theory.


5.      Other future conferences

Erich Steiner reported on the Saarbrucken European Conference starting on Monday 23rd July 2007. Seventy participants have signed up to date, with 50 to 55 papers to be presented. An invitation to participate was extended to all present. All preparations are going according to plan.


Gillian Moss announced the upcoming ASFAL 3rd Regional Conference to be held in Puebla, Mexico 26th-30th November. All regions were invited to take part. Papers may be presented in English, Spanish and Portuguese. The conference website is available for consultation and the call for papers is still open. Workshops are to be held prior to the Conference.


Christian Matthiessen announced the 5th International Conference on English Grammar to take place in India early in January 2008. The Conference will have a significant SFL component and will be strongly geared to educational issues. He commented that the last year has seen plenty of SFL discussion in India. He invited all to engage in discussion with Indian scholars.


(Xueyan Yang?) announced the Discourse Analysis Conference to be held in China in October 2008.



6.      Constitution regional members electorate process


Proposer: Mick O’Donnell

Proposal: That the word ‘treasurer’ be changed to read ‘treasurers’ and that the word ‘network’ be changed to read ‘website’.


The motion was carried.


7.      Award given to Mick O’Donnell for setting up and maintaining of the website


Following a suggestion made by Frances Christie in 2006, Cecilia Colombi on behalf of the ISFLA awarded Mick O’Donnell a token of recognition for all the work he has put into the setting up of a mailing list and ISFLA home on the Internet. This website is a very valuable resource for teachers, researchers, and students worldwide. Mick O’Donnell expressed his thanks.


8.      Treasurers’ reports


Robin Fawcett presented the financial report of the 3 associations. Money is held in national currencies, but for practical reasons he expressed the amounts in American dollars.

ISFLA accounts:











He reported that on three occasions, international conferences have run at a loss and either the local organisers or ISFLA had to put money in. A lot of the money in the general account came from the Australian association, and from the fees of the Cardiff pre-conference. Yet he reminded the meeting that funds should be carefully kept as losses can be easily incurred. He further reported that money was used to support two conferences in the past, like the Latin American one. This led to the formation of the Latin American SFLA. Financial support was provided too for a lecturer to go to Nigeria, with positive results. He suggested that the participants think of other regions of the world where conferences may usefully be set up. He also suggested that some amount of money should be kept aside to sustain grant and scholarship programmes.


9.      Region representatives’ report:


Cecilia Colombi moved that regional reports be submitted in writing, directed to either herself or Mick O’Donnell, so that they could be posted on the website. The motion was carried.


10.  Issues concerning upcoming international and regional congresses in Europe


Jim Martin said he wished to move two motions:


-         that ISFLA recommend that competing meetings not be held at the same time as the ISFLA conference

-         that no support be offered to regional associations meetings if they collide with an international meeting.

After a full and lively discussion the first motion was voted upon but did not carry on and Jim Martin withdrew the second motion.


Frances Christie motioned that Jim Martin’s recommendation be discussed by associations and be raised again in 2008.


Frances Christie formally put forth the motion: that the proposal that regional conferences not be held when an international conference is to take place in the same region be referred to regions, and that the associations report back next year. Twenty-one votes were cast in favour. There were three abstentions.


11. Suggestion to organise a free online SFL course for beginners


Bernard Mohan suggested it would be good to organise a free Internet course of SFL for beginners. This would provide many people with an entry to the theory, particularly in places like Indonesia, where SFL is becoming stronger in education. A motion was made that the executive committee designate an ad-hoc committee to funnel resources and organise one such course. Cecilia Colombi seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously carried.


Bernard Mohan offered to co-ordinate the committee himself.


The meeting was adjourned by Cecilia Colombi at 6.20 pm.


These minutes are submitted by Victoria Magariños (July 2007)


- Report on the Chinese Functional Linguistics Conference