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Business Meeting 2021

ICLS British Branch

Business meeting, Cambridge / online

Tuesday 13 April 2021 15.00 BST



Present on Zoom: Emma Cayley (President; chair); Miranda Griffin (Secretary); Matt Lampitt (Treasurer); Marianne Ailes; Emma Campbell; Anne Cobby; Mary Franklin-Brown; Simon Gaunt; Jane Gilbert; Linda Gowans; Ruth Harvey; David Murray; Linda Patterson; Karen Pratt; Emily Kate Price; Henry Ravenhall; Finn Sinclair; Sarah Alyn Stacey; Jane Taylor; Cat Watts; Geneviève Young; Doriane Zerka.


  1. Apologies for absence had been received from Philip Bennett and Rebecca Dixon.


  1. The Minutes of the previous meeting had been circulated and were agreed with a minor correction.


  1. Matters arising not dealt with elsewhere on the agenda: Emma Cayley and Miranda Griffin had not carried out the survey of members’ reception of Encomia, but this was because the issue had been superseded by decisions taken by the International Executive.


  1. Commemoration of deceased members. None was reported.


  1. President’s report.

Emma began by thanking Miranda Griffin, Matt Lampitt and Cat Watts for organising the conference, which had initially been scheduled to take place in Cambridge in April 2020, but had to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Emma reported that Encomia has ceased to be a bibliography and is in process of becoming an online open access journal entitled Encomia. Interdisciplinary Journal of The International Courtly Literature Society, following the decision taken at the Business Meeting of the International Executive at the International Congress in Exeter in 2019. In response to an enquiry about the languages in which the journal will be named and written, Emma undertook to confirm with Richard Trachsler. She noted that Garnier are hosting Encomia for free on their website, so the fees the ICLS charges to members no longer pay for this publication. This raised the question of what the fees should now be used for: this was discussed under item 7. Emma Cayley to confirm languages of publication and title of journal with Richard Trachsler.

Emma further reported that the International Executive had taken the difficult but necessary decision to postpone the Triennial Congress due to take place in Vancouver in the summer of 2022 to the summer of 2023. Again, this was due to the COVID-19 pandemic: Canada is likely to remain closed in international travel for some time.


  1. Secretary’s and Treasurer’s reports

The Secretary had nothing to report that was not covered elsewhere on the agenda.

The Treasurer presented the report, including balance sheets for 2019-2021 (circulated with these Minutes). Matt thanked Jane Gilbert for her thorough and helpful handover of the Treasurer role. He reported that the cancellation of the 2020 conference had resulted in only a very small loss (£5.05), and that this year’s conference had no associated costs, as it was hosted on the Cambridge French section’s zoom account and no catering or accommodation costs had to be considered.

Matt reported that there were 56 members who had paid their subscriptions in the year 2019-20 and the same number (although not all the same members) in 2020-21. Some members were yet to pay fees; and some had not moved their standing orders to 1 June. It was noted that this date had been chosen in order to ensure that all speakers at International Congresses were also members of the ICLS, as required.

It was suggested that those members who were not resident in the UK but nevertheless wished to belong to the ICLS British Branch would find it easier to pay using other currencies to Stirling using PayPal. Matt Lampitt to investigate use of PayPal.


  1. Bibliography and Encomia

Emma Cayley reported further on the new incarnation of Encomia: it will be an annual journal, using series numbers to continue from its previous function as a bibliography. Richard Trachsler is managing relation with Garnier; the contract with Garnier has now been signed (although some details about the journal’s title and languages remained unresolved). It is a peer-reviewed journal, using Chicago style. Following an earlier call for volunteers, Finn Sinclair, Michelle Bolduc, Miranda Griffin and Ad Putter will all sit on the advisory board. Emma asked that other expressions of interest be sent to her. It was unclear whether book reviews would also form part of the new journal. Emma Cayley to check with Richard Trachsler about book reviews in Encomia.

It is hoped that the first issue will appear in 2021, but given the difficult circumstances in which everyone is working, it may not appear before early 2022. The first issue will publish selected papers given at the International Congress in Exeter in 2019, with a Preface written by Michelle Szkilnik.

Garnier is not charging to host Encomia online. This means that ICLS members’ subscriptions will no longer pay for Encomia. Discussion therefore focused on the best use of subscription monies. The meeting was reminded that annual subscriptions currently stand at £25 for members in posts; £29 for overseas members; and £17 for students and unwaged members, with a £5 reduction in each case for online payment. It was agreed to keep subscriptions in order to retain the identity of the Society, with the understanding that this shift in provision furnished an opportunity to reflect on how the Society can best promote the study of courtly literature, support the community of scholars at all stages who engage in this study, and make this community as inclusive as possible. The meeting acknowledged that it was likely to be early career scholars and postgraduate students who would benefit most from this support, recognising that the funding available to people in these positions for different scholarly activities could vary significantly. Various suggestions were made to the meeting:

  • Travel bursaries for students and unwaged members attending conferences;
  • Defraying costs of conference registration for students and unwaged members;
  • Advocacy of the utility and benefits of studying medieval languages;
  • A series of online seminars
  • Inviting early career researchers to give plenary talks at branch conferences;
  • Support for CV building;
  • Mentoring for postgraduate students and early career researchers.

It was agreed to ask members for other suggestions. Emma Cayley and Miranda Griffin undertook to develop a series of actions within the next 12 months. Miranda Griffin and Emma Cayley to liaise on actions.


  1. International society business, including International Congress

Emma Cayley reported that while Leah Tether had originally agreed to take the role of international treasurer, it had proved too complicated for this role to be held by a scholar outside the US. Lucas Wood has therefore taken on this role. Leah Tether is instead now the International Secretary, with Emma Cayley absorbing these responsibilities while Leah is on maternity leave. The meeting offered their congratulations to Leah on the recent birth of her daughter.

Emma further reported that Patrick Moran was now Vice-President, and would take over as President at the next International Congress (in Vancouver, rescheduled to 2023). Tamara Caudell handles social media for the International Society, but this role isn’t currently an office on the executive board. Emma Cayley will propose that it be made an official role.

Emma further reported that the ICLS now has 10 branches internationally.


  1. Publicity and social media

David Murray runs the Twitter account; he reported that the ICLS British Branch account follows about 700 accounts and has about 700 followers. He suggested that the account could host regular takeovers by members, especially postgraduates and early career researchers. David Murray to publicise and arrange Twitter takeovers.

In response to an enquiry about posting on Facebook, Emma Cayley undertook to liaise with Paola Scarpini, who runs the ICLS British Branch Facebook account. It was also suggested that Welsh and Irish be added as languages of the British Branch social media accounts. Emma Cayley to contact Paola Scarpini.

The ICLS British Branch website is hosted at Warwick, as arranged by Linda Patterson. Matt Lampitt was made guest administrator and, in his roles as Treasurer and co-organiser of the 2020 / 2021 conference, did some work on tidying up the website. The meeting recorded its thanks to Jayne Sweet at the Warwick Centre for Renaissance Studies, who has facilitated this work with efficiency and kindness. Emma Campbell to pass on Branch’s thanks to Jayne Sweet.


  1. Branch meetings 2022 and 2024

In the light of the postponement of the Triennial Congress to 2023, the meeting discussed options for a conference in 2022. Since planning in-person events, especially those involving people travelling, is still so fraught with uncertainty, it was agreed that the 2022 British Branch meetings would take the form of three seminars over the course of the academic year. Sarah Alyn Stacey, Marianne Ailes and Finn Sinclair offered to host these within the seminar series of Trinity College Dublin, University of Bristol and University of Edinburgh respectively. The meeting expressed their gratitude to Sarah, Marianne and Finn for taking on this work. Sarah Alyn Stacey, Marianne Ailes and Finn Sinclair to liaise about dates of seminars; and to liaise with Matt Lampitt about publicising these on the website.

It was noted that the focus in British Branch conferences in recent years had often been on work in French, and that the contributions of colleagues working on Welsh literature had been very welcome at the current conference. It was agreed that this interdisciplinary focus should be maintained in future conferences.


  1. Any other business

There being no other business, the meeting concluded with those present expressing the fervent hope that they would soon be able to meet in person.