Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies
Annual General Meeting
Senate House, University of London
17 November 2023
1. The Chair welcomed everyone present to this year’s AGM. SFPS Committee members present: Claire Griffiths (Chair); Charlotte Baker (Vice-President) Fraser McQueen (Publicity Officer); Christopher Hogarth (Conference secretary); Jennifer Boum Make (Conference secretary).
2. Apologies received: Sky Herington (Membership secretary), Catherine MacKenzie (PGR Rep)
3. Minutes of the last meeting held on 18 November 2022 were approved
4. Matters Arising: Innovation award (reported under Items 5 & 6 below) Decolonising resources (reported under Items 5 and 13 below)
5. Reports from Acting President and Vice President/FPS Editor
i. Acting President’s report
Claire Griffiths (CG) thanked this year’s Conference Secretaries, Christopher Hogarth and Jennifer Boum Make, for their hard work over the past six months organising this year’s conference. They put together a superb programme, and we extended our sincere thanks to them for this very successful conference.
CG thanked the ILCS for hosting the SFPS annual conference at Senate House this year, and in particular Jenny Stubbs for her invaluable help and support while the conference was being prepared, and during the conference. CG also thanked Senate House catering team who provided excellent lunches on both days and coffee, tea, biscuits and cakes throughout the event.
CG thanked all members of the SFPS Committee for the work they have contributed to running the Society this year. A special mention was made of our colleague, Julia Waters, who left the role of president earlier in the year. We expressed our deepest sympathy to Julia and family for their loss. On behalf the Society CG also expressed sincerest thanks to Julia for running the Society and managing the FPS book series since taking over as president in November 2019. We are extremely grateful to Julia for all her work for the Society, much of which goes unseen. CG thanked Maeve McCusker for accepting the nomination to be elected as the incoming president of SFPS. Maeve has kindly agreed to take on the role from January 2024 (see also Item 12 – Elections to SFPS committee).
CG thanked two longstanding committee members who stepped down at this year’s conference. Sky Herington has supported us tirelessly as membership secretary for the past four years, all the while completing and submitting her PhD and the Society is very grateful to her for her invaluable input. As Publicity officer, Fraser McQueen has made a huge contribution to the website redesign and to keeping us all up to date with monthly mailings and regular announcements and information on the website. Many thanks to both for all the exceptional work they have contributed to the Society over the past four years. (see also Item 12 – Elections to SFPS committee).
CG noted that due to various personal and professional pressures the PGR rep had not been able to run any PGR/ECR events this year. Consequently, the conference secretaries Chris Hogarth and Jennifer Boum Make and CG each organised two dedicated PGR/ECR events to take place within the conference programme. Both these events, a PGR/ECR workshop on publishing your PhD and a PGR/ECR roundtable on fieldwork, were offered on the Saturday and outside of the panel programme to enable maximum participation. They were well received and well attended at the conference.
The Acting President made three proposals two of which were carried by the meeting, the third is carried in principle, the details to be finalised:
- A new role of Honorary Secretary to the Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies was proposed, seconded and approved at AGM. Since conference the role is currently and temporarily being filled by the Vice-President, Charlotte Baker. Elections to the role will take place at AGM 2024.
- From 2024 the conference registration form will include information on individual catering requirements and food allergies following guidelines from Senate House catering and ILCS conference office.
- A new committee role is required to take forward the initiative adopted in 2021 to collate open access resources promoting the decolonisation of learning, teaching, and research in our fields, and make them available on open access on the website. The exact title and role of the ‘decolonial resources officer’ (working title) to take this initiative forward is under discussion. Ideas currently being explored to develop this initiative include setting up a decolonial blogspot on the SFPS website with a regular call to the membership for a blog post on the theme of decolonising our disciplines. If several members are interested, a working party might take this forward.
Update list of Executive committee members on SFPS website to include the role of Honorary Secretary;
Update registration form for 2024 conference;
Take forward discussions on decolonial resources.
ii. Vice–President’s report
Charlotte Baker (CB) reported on the Editorial Board of the Francophone Postcolonial Studies series with Liverpool University Press. Two members of the Editorial Board have been inactive, and we also have a couple of members coming up to the end of their term. Four new members have been invited on to the Board. CB welcomed Prof. Louise Hardwick, Prof. Frederique Chevillot, Prof. Ruth Bush and Dr Hannah Grayson, who will join us in January.
Regarding the Book series, CB reported that the 2023 volume Colonial Continuities and Decoloniality in the French-Speaking World is complete and will be published with another wonderful cover design from Emily Harding. The manuscript for the 2024 volume Oceania Today has been submitted and is currently out for review by two members of the editorial board. Reports due end of November.
The 2025 volume Ecotexts in the Postcolonial Francosphere edited by: Nsah Mala and Nicki Hitchcott is in progress. The manuscript is due in the new year. There is nothing else currently in the pipeline. A call has gone out on Francofil but no proposals received yet. CB will advertise again in the new year.
A second call for proposals for the Francophone Postcolonial Studies series 2026 volume will go out in early 2024.
6. Treasurer’s Report
Claire Griffiths (CG) presented the written annual financial report in a PowerPoint to AGM. The report was discussed in the meeting. For security reasons, the Society’s annual financial report is not published in the public domain so does not go on the website. Any current member of the Society is welcome to contact CG at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
CG also reported on the resolution of the access problems to the Society’s bank account, which began in at early in 2022, when the bank was unable to update access details, and persisted into 2023. This affected operations over two financial years, and as a consequence it had not been feasible to launch the Innovation award which had been proposed and approved at AGM November 2021. The proposal was discussed again and the following resolved: proposals to be invited from full and concessionary members of SFPS for funding up to £500 to support an innovation project, not funded elsewhere. The award is designed to support a colleague/ a group of colleagues seeking to innovate in the fields of learning, teaching and/or research producing new outcomes and/or resources that can be shared with and used by members of the Society via the website on open access. One award will be made of £500 to be spent between June 2024 and June 2025. The successful applicant/s will publish the outcomes of the project/resources on the SFPS website no later than 3 months after the conclusion of the project.
Action: launch Innovation award
7. Membership Secretary’s Report
Sky Herington provided a written report which was read out to AGM by the Chair:
Membership Report – AGM 2023
62 individual members (46 full members; 13 postgraduate; 3 concessionary).
16 institutional members
27 associate members (LMIC/Global South) (of which 5 new this year).
Membership figures have followed last year’s trend, continuing to creep up slowly with a very slight rise in individual full paid members. As with last year, despite this slight increase, we are still yet to see membership numbers for paid individuals reach pre-pandemic levels, but the introduction of associate membership means that we are now seeing the highest total numbers for membership in report records from 2016 onwards. Paid postgraduate numbers, which peaked at 30 in 2019, have dropped from 17 to 13 in the last year. However, if we include associate members from the postgraduate community in this count, numbers are likely to be higher, and I would recommend including the choice of ‘postgraduate/full’ membership on future associate membership forms to ensure that this information is recorded and associate members are fully included in PGR activities. Though the associate membership initiative continues to attract new members, this could perhaps be advertised more widely, as numbers of new associate members has dropped slightly this year. We should also continue last year’s action point (all members to promote the benefits of SFPS membership, particularly to PG students). Many thanks to the society and the committee for the opportunity to work with you in this role. Thank you to Chris and Jennifer for putting together such a brilliant conference – sorry not to be there.
Actions: Include ‘associate postgraduate’ details on membership form. All members to promote the benefits of SFPS membership to PG students.
8. Conference Secretaries’ Report
Christopher Hogarth and Jennifer Boum Make provided an oral report, noting that participation at the conference had dropped in recent weeks, there had been several cancellations that presented additional challenges this year. They highlighted the cost of travelling to London for the conference. They raised the question of whether this could it be run as a hybrid event. Or at least incorporate hybrid sections? The option of a hotel-conference package was raised. The possibility of moving towards the model of a travelling conference to reduce overheads was discussed, but that the conference fees may have to rise if we did that to pay for room hire.
Action: next year’s conference secretaries to consider feasibility of incorporating a hybrid/online element in next year’s programme.
9. Publicity Team’s Report
Fraser McQueen (FM) expressed his thanks to the Society for the opportunity to take on this role, which he is now handing over. The roles includes maintaining the website, monthly mailings, two issues of the bulletin, and keeping publications up to date. There is good traffic to the website. The team have been keeping social media pages active (778 page falls on Facebook, 2964 followers on Twitter, Blue Sky page now has 80 followers). The Instagram account is not very active. FM proposed a £50 photo competition for PGRs to generate content on Instagram. The proposal was supported by the meeting.
Action: launch annual photo competition in 2024 and publish the ‘winner’ on Instagram
10. Francophone Postcolonial Studies Bulletin Editor’s Report and Book Review Editor’s Report
No report received
11. Postgraduate Representatives’ Report
Catherine MacKenzie sent apologies, being unable to attend the AGM in person, being committed to attend an event in Dundee on 17 November and it not being feasible to travel down in time on the 18th. Kate noted that there had been some discussion earlier in the year about the possibility of online participation. She also noted that due to exceptional pressure of work this it had not been possible to organise PGR events. The meeting thanked Kate for agreeing to carry on for the moment until she completes her PhD in the spring. She is willing to partner a new PGR Rep in surveying PGR members to find what activities would be useful, and practically feasible for them. PGR membership stands at around 16, a significant proportion of whom are outside the UK. Given limited access to travel budgets for most PGRs, online events may provide more opportunity for PGR engagement than in-person events in the UK (see Item 13 – Decolonising resources and practice).
Action: PGR consultation by Easter 2024.
12. Elections to SFPS Committee
The Chair thanked all the outgoing members of the SFPS Committee (see Item 5).
The following members were nominated by the Chair, seconded by the Vice President and approved by the meeting:
President from January 2024: Maeve McCusker
Publicity officer: Erin Twohig
Membership Secretary: Honorine Rouiller
PGR representative: Delphine Nkeke
Written confirmation of committee appointments is available from the SFPS Honorary Secretary, Professor Charlotte Baker email@example.com
13. Any other business
Decolonising resources and practice: We discussed including a hybrid element to future PG Study Days so that associate PG members can join from wherever in the world.
Action: run a hybrid PGR event in 2024
The meeting closed at 1.25pm
C Griffiths 4/12/2023